In between eating amazing food at the workshop, we take a few pictures. This morning we go to learn a bit from Helene about composition and styling and then watch her style and shoot a beautiful scene (you’ll have to check my IG feed for her final image!). She had taken the time to prepare a rather ugly, plain (but no doubt delicious) soup as a challenge for us today. Without a beautiful food subject to count on you really had to be creative and thoughtful in telling a “story” that would draw people into the image and invite them to linger (over ugly soup). The other unplanned challenge was that it was a dark, disgusting, rainy day outside! All of our gorgeous bright natural light was gone but Helene used it to illustrate how we could still use it to our advantage.
I really wanted to push myself today to create something outside of my typical bright,cheery, minimalist style. As soon as they let us loose in the make-shift prop rooms I went for the darkest surface that I could find and started to pull dishes and silverware that I felt would work well together while providing a mix of textures. I pulled dark gray linens, a mix of metal and ceramic bowls and plates and a few other little pieces that I would use to create my dark, rich color palette. The color story always seems to be the place that my mind goes to first and once I have my props selected and some initial styling done, I bring in my food at the very end. I was really really happy with how these images turned out. I love all of the complimentary colors and textures going on. I love that you can see yourself sharing a meal and a glass of wine with a friend on a rainy day in this image.
I was able to create two shots with this “story.” The first was shot from overhead, obviously the way I tend to “see” things stylistically and where I am generally the most comfortable. While we styled and shot, Helene was on hand to answer questions or help with pointers when we got in a bind. She provided some really helpful tiny pointers that made a big difference in executing my vision for this scene. For my second image I worked to convert this styling into a 3/4 shot…an angle that I rarely use and one that comes less naturally to me creatively. I think it turned out gorgeous and I have a hard time picking a favorite between the two!
Just a few of the things that I learned today from the workshop are:
1. I was BLOWN AWAY by what Helene was able to get in such low light and I was easily able to put her lessons to the test and create gorgeously lit images while on a higher (then I would normally shoot) aperture, with a beautifully low ISO! Seriously, my mind is still blown.
2. I am learning to trust my instincts a bit more with styling and at the same time, try not to overthink things. Any of you who have worked with me live on a product shoot know that I become really perfectionist when it comes to styling. With open ended time to “tweek” my styling I sometimes need to know when to just move on!
3. I want to start shooting tethered when I am doing on location shoots with clients. And maybe even in my own home. It just makes the process so much easier when you can see the image full screen, see your problems and make your tweeks and be done!
I should also mention that another thing that I have learned is that I do not enjoy the cooking process as much as the eating process. haha. I guess I knew that already but I have truly gained a whole new respect for those of you who just really love the cooking process and can nerd out reading recipe books when I am only opening them to look at the pretty pictures ;)