I apologise in advance, this turned into a humongous blog post, so I wont be mad if you stop reading before the end and just look at the pictures!
I’ll start by saying that I’m really no photographer. Before I started blogging, I only used a camera for taking pictures of holidays and nights out, both usually involving pictures I wanted to forget! Then when camera phones became a thing, I started taking more pictures, but I really wasn’t concentrating on composition, lighting etc. It was very much point and shoot.
Then I began writing a blog, pictures as well as text are a pretty fundamental part of blogging. At first I really didn’t even think about the pictures I was taking, for me it was about the baking and the words.
This is perfectly demonstrated in this unappetising shot from one of my first blog posts. In case you wondered, it is possible to get too close to the food!
Undeterred, I tried to spice things up a bit by photographing my ingredients. Perhaps using all white ingredients in white bowls, shot under fluorescent light wasn’t one of my best ideas, I’m still not entirely sure what all the different powders were…
I found myself making recipes with advanced techniques that I was truly proud of, but my photographs weren’t doing them justice. Fast-forward a few months (more like a year), and I started to put more effort in, buying props from charity shops in the form of plates, cutlery and getting hold of mountboard for backgrounds.
There was a gradual improvement and I began to draw inspiration from other blogs and Pinterest. I was becoming happier with how my photos were starting to look and I found myself shooting everything from my iPhone, as the camera was so much better than my own compact camera.
This now leads me on to the reason for this post, in April the very lovely Lucy from Supergolden Bakes asked if I would like to attend a Level 2 Food Photography Course in July hosted by renowned food photographer William Reavell. Of course I wanted to go! Not just because it was a great opportunity, but also because I wanted to meet Lucy. This left me with a dilemma, I needed a DSLR to attend the course, so I took the plunge and with advice and assistance from my boyfriend we settled on the Fuji X-T1.
Initially I was terrified of using the camera, there were different lens to use, things like aperture, ISO, shutter speed and depth of field to think about. So I panicked and left the camera in the box and continued to use my iPhone.
After a bit of time, I decided to practice with the camera, I was getting annoyed with the limitations of my iPhone and not being able to get my images on sites like foodgawker. It was the best thing I ever did and posts like my Marmite Macarons and others from May and June this year were starting to look much more appealing.
Last Saturday was the day of the course and I had a magnificent time. There were three of us in total on the course, which was hosted by William, with food styling by Tara Jasmin Sura. The day began with coffee and pastries while discussing our own photographic experience, our cameras and what we hoped to get out of the day. Then William and Tara went through the set-up of a scene to photograph. The first dish was a fish curry. Backgrounds were chosen based on colours that would compliment the dish, bowls and plates without too much of a glaze, or too much shine were selected.
It was interesting to note that William liked to use textured or handmade paper to provide the backdrop for his images, you can get this from most good art shops and it adds a real depth of colour and texture to the finished pictures as you can see in the image above.
We were supplied with a raft of information, how to add light and where to take it away using cards and boards. How to stand when taking a shot, how to hold you camera and how close to get – this was all of particular interest to me as I was basically, standing too far away and holding my camera landscape for all shots, which can lead to very dull photos.
After photographing the curry which was prepared and styled by Tara, we got to eat it. I’d been so engrossed in the photography I forgot how hungry I was, it tasted amazing! After staring at it for hours, with Tara refreshing the coriander, trying various bowls and suggesting different positions and ingredients for props, I was ready to tuck in.
We didn’t get to rest for long though, cheesecake was next. Like the curry, we set-up our own backdrops and practised capturing the image whilst pouring sauce and dealing with a much lighter subject matter.
Here’s a shot of Lucy preparing to photograph the cheesecake and William and Tara in action:
I took a few shots myself of the cheesecake and a lovely scene of the jug and some fruit that was styled by Lucy.
This was a fantastic day and I learnt so much from William and Tara, if you want to improve your food photography, for your blog, a personal project or work, I really recommend this course. We covered everything from styling and taking the shots, through to post-processing in Lightroom. I felt so inspired by the course, I have since been collecting and buying props like a mad woman! I’ve even got out my camera and practised photographing ingredients in the hope I won’t forget everything I learnt.
Thanks so much to Lucy for inviting me on this course, I had a brilliant day, learnt so much and got to make a new friend, I can’t wait to meet up again. You can read all about Lucy’s experience on the course and see how beautifully she styled her shots.
Finally, the post wouldn’t be complete without a mention for the lovely Ruby, who was very patient with us all day.
Thanks for reading.
I was invited on the Level 2 Food Photography Course by William Reavell for free by Lucy from www.supergoldenbakes.com. All views are my own and I did not receive any payment for writing this review.