Day 2 ~ Food Photography Workshop at the Atlantis Hotel

April 13th, 2012

In my last post, I told you about Day 1 of my Food Photography Workshop.

The second day began with a trek to Lafayette Gourmet at Galleries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. If you’ve been there, you’ll know it’s both a gourmet grocery store as well as food hall.

In the past, when I was shopping at Galleries Lafayette, I would accidently wander into the grocery store. I would think: Who the heck shops here? This upscale French department store seemed like an odd place to buy milk, eggs and produce.

Excursion to Lafayette Gourmet

As part of the food photography workshop, we had a proper tour of the place. We were there to practice some “in the field” food photography, while working with less than ideal lighting conditions.

Our guide was Chef Russell, who proudly showed what was on offer, including fresh seafood, meats, produce, dairy, etc. He told us that 80% of the grocery items are exclusive specialty products, while the rest are regular foodstuff.

So, I perused the shelves and examined the fancy teas, infused olive oils and specialty pastas.

I tasted the beautiful cheeses and viewed the cheese room of Lafayette Gourmet.

I poked around the various aisles, took a long look at the fish, and thought Hey, I could shop here.

Next we took photos in the food hall. Seven counters sell a range of meals: Mediterranean, Italian, South Asian, and Indian; plus there are grill and sushi counters, luxury and pastry counters. I zeroed in on the exquisite chocolates and desserts.

I do enjoy eating lunch at Lafayette Gourmet, which is a chic place to get a quick gourmet meal in a cheerful venue. You can be enjoying Arabic fatayer while your dining companions are eating curry, sushi, or noodles.

After our market excursion, we rushed back to The Atlantis Hotel. Switching gears, we settled in for a cooking demonstration by Chef Hani. He demonstrated a smoke-infused kufta kabob.

When he was done, he delivered the plate to Meeta for the magic of food styling.

To be honest, it’s hard to make certain foods look good (like cooked meat). That’s where the styling comes in. Meeta showed us her tips and tricks for making any food look appealing in a photograph.

After lunch, we were given our official assignment. We were put into teams of two and assigned a dish to style and photograph. (Food was provided by Nasimi of the Atlantis Hotel). This salad photo was taken outdoors in shade.

My fellow students got very creative. 

At last we each presented our results for critique. This was a highpoint of the workshop—looking at each other’s photos from the past two days, some of which were truly gorgeous. It always impresses me how everyone has their own eye and style–even when taking photos of the exact same subject.

At the end, Sally presented with a certificate and not one, but three goodie bags from the Atlantis Hotel, Lafayette Gourmet and other sponsors. Included in our bags was a Weber chef’s knife, a bottle of Locadeli olive oil, tea from Jones the Grocer, artisan sweets from Toffee Princess, and lovely stack of other gourmet foodstuff.

I left the workshop, exhausted and a bit overwhelmed, but happy. We accomplished so much. What a pleasure to spend two days talking about blogging, photography and food. Meanwhile, my head is still spinning with all the technical and creative tips from Meeta. She told us it would take time to absorb and incorporate the techniques she taught us. She encouraged us to practice and have fun.

Questions: Have you shopped for food at Galleries Lafayette?  

What are your favorite types of food photographs?

  1. April 13th, 2012 at 22:00 | #1

    Wow Holly!!! this is AMAZING!! I wish I knew about this course, would have really come in handy for my food blog! but it looks like such an enjoyable activity

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 16th, 2012 at 18:53 | #2

      Yes, Soha, it was a lot of fun & a great escape. Hopefully, my food photos will improve as a result. We’ll see….

  2. Linda A
    April 13th, 2012 at 22:52 | #3

    Makes me want to go out and photograph food! but I don’t have a big, nice professional camera like those at the workshop. Oh well…do the best with what ya got!! Great job, Holly!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 16th, 2012 at 18:52 | #4

      Linda, one of the things I learned is that it’s all about the *lighting* not the camera. The key is natural light — preferably backlighting or sidelighting. BTW, no matter what photography equipment we have, there is always someone with MORE and BETTER. So, I agree, we just do the best with what we got. The important thing is to have fun. Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

  3. Beth
    April 14th, 2012 at 21:20 | #5

    Ok, so now I’m just hungry…… Combining love of great food with your photography, sounds like a winner. But seriously when summer comes we must do some lovely lunches, you can photograph them, and I will eat them. 🙂

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 16th, 2012 at 18:48 | #6

      Yes, let’s do some lovely lunches. You research the restaurants and decide where to go. I will provide conversation & photo documentation. Count me in! 😉

  4. April 15th, 2012 at 01:08 | #7

    This looks like so much fun! Your photos are GREAT!

  5. April 15th, 2012 at 18:59 | #8

    I love Lafayette Gourmet!

    If i’m looking for specialty groceries, they are my go to place!

    Great photographs!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 16th, 2012 at 18:44 | #9

      La Mere Culinaire, Yes, I agree, Lafayette Gourmet is worth a visit. I will be going back! Thanx for the comment.

  6. April 15th, 2012 at 21:48 | #10

    Oh, Holly! How absolutely marvelous!!!!

  7. April 16th, 2012 at 12:31 | #11

    Loved Chef Russel and his enthusiasm. Lafayette Gourmet was trully one of the big highlights of the day!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 16th, 2012 at 18:36 | #12

      Meeta, So true! I will be definitely be shopping at Lafayett Gourmet again.

  8. April 16th, 2012 at 14:36 | #13

    Holly, you’ve recapped this experience so well! My head is still spinning from everything, but you’ve clearly redefined most of the trip. Great photos too!

  9. Shy
    April 17th, 2012 at 22:53 | #14

    Wow holly…what an amazing post…And your images are stunning…so real…
    How I wish I’d read abt this workshop earlier…would have loved to participate…Do let us know of any anymore upcoming one…cheers

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 20th, 2012 at 14:15 | #15

      HI Shy, Thank you for the generous comments. I belived Meeta Wolff is planning to do another food photography workshop in Dubai. Not sure when though … She has a blog called What’s for Lunch, Honey? Perhaps you can check in with her there. I will check out your blog, too. 🙂 Thanks again for the comment.

  10. May 9th, 2012 at 19:56 | #16

    Holly, this is interesting and shares good tips. Food photography hasn’t been my strong suit but this gives me the inspiration to give it a try. Thanks for being detailed.

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      May 10th, 2012 at 07:42 | #17

      Hi Sue, Thanks for the comment. If you are interested in food photography, there are classes online. I’m taking one right now through a website called Picture Perfect. They have a 4-week course on food photography for bloggers. BTW, I checked out your blog – Fascinated by the Arab World. Very cool. Will be visiting again! Have a good weekend.

  11. March 7th, 2013 at 12:43 | #18

    would like to know if there would be a workshop in 2013 for food photography?
    where does such events get posted ?

    Thank you


  12. March 7th, 2013 at 12:45 | #19

    any workshops in dubai -2013 ?

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      April 18th, 2013 at 21:27 | #20

      Oh gosh, I don’t know … however, the person who organized this is Sally who writes the My Custard Pie blog. Send her a comment and she might be able to let you know. Good luck.

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