Posts Tagged ‘Food Photography’

Day 2 ~ Food Photography Workshop at the Atlantis Hotel

April 13th, 2012 20 comments

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?

Food Photography Workshop at the Atlantis Hotel ~ Day 1

April 11th, 2012 18 comments

The theme was Fun and Passion.

Participants traveled from Egypt, Germany, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE. We converged at the Atlantis Hotel on The Palm Island in Dubai for two full days of taking photos. Oh yes, and eating!

The topic that drew us all together: Food Photography and Styling. Basically, we all wanted to improve our skills at taking photos of food—whether for blogs, magazines, advertisements or television.

The group was varied, our cultural backgrounds across the map: Finland, Australia, UK, Egypt, Kuwait, US, India & Japan. My fellow students were freelance food writers and bloggers, professional photographers and professional food stylists.

Naturally, I felt a little out of my league with all these pros; however, once we got started, I realized we were all there to learn, whatever our starting level.

Our instructor was Meeta Wolff, a food photographer and stylist based in Germany; she publishes the blog What’s for Lunch, Honey? Meeta has a “still life” style to her food photos that can only be described as pure art. However, she discouraged us from copying her style or anyone else’s, but rather find our own unique signature style for shooting food.

Meanwhile, our Event Organizer Extraordinaire was Sally Prosser, a Dubai-based blogger who writes My Custard Pie, all about food.

Day 1 – Food Photography

The first day Meeta reviewed the basics of food photography. We focused mostly on light—natural light, artificial light, backlight, and sidelight. I took notes until my head was spinning, and I finally grasped the importance of natural light when shooting food. After some photography exercises (very technical), we were broke for lunch.

Photographing Food and Then Eating It

Of course, we couldn’t just sit down and eat lunch. We had to take photos of it first.

Food Styling

Meeta explained to us the finer points of composition, placement, depth of field, angles, and focus—technical, yes, but all creative components of styling and shooting food.

The best part was the discussion of props. First, there are natural props: garnishes, herbs, spices and bits of ingredients. Then comes the fun: backgrounds, textiles, flatware and dishes. I think I could be very good at this part of food styling—collecting and hoarding tableware, that is.

Cocktail Demonstration

Next on the agenda was a cocktail demo, which took place on Nasimi Beach at the Atlantis Hotel. The bartender demonstrated a variety of cocktails and mocktails.

Of course, we took photographs of the drinks. A little weird, I know. Here are a few if my favorites:

After a whirlwind day of practicing new skills, we ate a late dinner at the Levantine restaurant at the Atlantis, where Chef Ali prepared an enormous spread just for us–a preview of the upcoming Ramadan menu. We ate outside on the terrace, and it was dark by then. No photos were taken. What a relief.

Here’s a photograph of our lovely and brillant group.

Next up: Day 2 ~ Food Photography Workshop at the Atlantis Hotel

Question: Do you like to take photographs of food?