Last Saturday I attended Gina Weathersby's Food Photography Workshop. Gina is not only an amazing photographer (you can see her work here, here, and here) but she is also an amazing teacher. The first half of the workshop Gina covered everything from camera angles and lighting direction to aperture/iso/shutter speed to how to tell your story through food. We looked at sample work and discussed what makes a good photo. I absolutely loved listening to her comments on the photos we looked at because for a minute it lets you see the photo through her eyes...what she would have done differently to make it better, how she would have changed just one thing to improve it. You can learn so much from listening and taking note of the smallest of comments. There is so substitute for being around someone who is an expert in their field and passionate about what they do.
The second half of the workshop we all received shooting assignments and were able to ask questions right then and there if we needed help. It was scary and fun all at once. My food assignment was to shoot a frittata and its ingredients. The fun part was choosing between all the amazing props Gina brought. There were beautiful plates and bowls, linens of every texture and color, cutting boards small and large, silverware, wooden spoons, measuring spoons... I could go on and on but you get the idea. And this is not even mentioning the food! Some of the food (including my fritatta) was prepared by eat well celebrations and feasts, but there was also quite an array of fresh ingredients including quail eggs, tomatillos, fresh herbs, edible flowers, rustic breads, olives, and vegetables of all kinds. Plus the workshop was held at Marti's Floral Design where there were amazing surfaces and textures in addition to large windows that let in perfect light for shooting.
The photos above show a small sampling of some of the great textures we had to work with. Those quail eggs were just too awesome for words. Below was a shot of all of my ingredients. It was so much fun arranging them...who said not to play with your food?!
I have to add a warning about the above recipe. I totally made it up just as a sample recipe. Not to say you couldn't make it, just beware that it is untested and written by someone who makes frozen pizza from a box when George is out-of-town.
One thing I learned after the workshop is that you often do not want to eat the food after a photo shoot. The food has often laid on the floor, been poked and prodded by many hands, or just plain sat out too long. Looks yummy but I would not recommend eating it.
I learned so much from this workshop about myself and my photography. I was nervous to sign up because I felt unsure about my technical skills. But how else am I going to improve them except by pushing my limits? And push them it did. I don't want to feel nervous anymore when someone asks me what my settings are. I want to be able to answer with confidence "ISO 200, F-stop 4.5, shutter speed, 1/125." And I want to feel confident in my ability to change the settings as needed. In her amazingly soft, but somehow stern way, Gina has inspired me to want to learn to shoot manually which has always frightened the bejeezes out of me! I realize now I have gotten a little too comfortable resting on my aperture-priority-shooting laurels. So thank you Gina for sharing your knowledge, pushing me out of my comfort zone and providing such a wonderful experience.