Food Photography Workshop

A little over a month ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on food photography taught by the incredibly talented Clare Barboza. I first came across Clare's work from the book Washington Food Artisans and was in awe. I checked out her website, saw that she teaches workshops, and decided to sign up. I've been interested in food photography for a few years, since getting the opportunity to do some for the Willamette Week during my internship in 2011.

The workshops itself was awesome. In her (beautifully lit) SoDo studio 9 of us listened to her cover some of the basics of food photography. The students ranged in age and varied in experience and backgrounds from chefs to bloggers to pro photographers to hobbyists.

After a quick background on food photography and camera settings we got to work. Clare had brought in a myriad of desserts and pastries that we were going to start with (because dessert first right?) I chose a few baby cakes from Cupcake Royal, and tried to get a nice contrast in the colors that I chose. Then came the task of picking out props. I wish I had taken more photos of her studio while I was there because her prop wall is out of control. There were hundreds of plates, bowls, cups, utensils and anything you could imagine needing. She has a whole room of surfaces, along with drawers and drawers of linens. Amazing.

I chose a plate, and a small pedestal to hold my cupcakes. after taking a few test shots I went looking for more depth. I ended up using a flour bag and bottle of "milk" (fun fact: when in need of prop milk try combining water and flour, just make sure to shake it up often as they like to separate) to serve as my background.



Our second subject was a tomato basil bisque. I had a lot of fun with this, tried a few different things and came out overall very happy with it. I tried to shoot this with a very editorial eye. They were shot as leading images, and one was specifically shot as a double truck. I imagined where the text might go as I was shooting.


Our third set up was a little more abstract. Clare had provided a variety of food for us to pick from. There was cheese, sliced meats, olives, fruit, wine and a bunch of other things for us to pick from. I went with the pomegranate, because I thought it would be a fun challenge. My biggest mistake with this set was not having a cohesive idea. I grabbed the fruit, some cheese and a bottle of wine. Not really thinking of what I was trying to show, I threw them all on a table and started shooting.  The end result was pretty weak in my mind. I got some positive critique from the class but I still didn't feel confident in the image.


All together it was a great workshop. I learned some really great principles and techniques. I recently set up a mini studio in my kitchen to photograph a bag of coffee for a work project, and I'm pretty pleased with how that turned out. I'm sure without Clare's class it would have gone in a very different direction.

Here's a fun BTS shot! Thanks for checking it out!