I am lucky enough to have a very good camera at home (Nikon D90), it just so happens that my husband and I use it for our business. Knowing how to use it to it’s full capacity is however, a little trickier. Although it’s equipped with a pretty decent point and click auto setting, it also has a number of settings I simply had no idea how to operate. One can only compare it to owning a sports car and only ever driving it in the centre of London. Yes, it looks nice but in all honesty, utterly pointless.
About Juniper Rose & Vanessa Kimble
When I came across Juniper and Rose Cookery School which is owned and run by the effervescent Vanessa Kimble, author of Prepped!, I couldn’t believe my luck. Not only is she a wonderful hostess, writer and qualified chef, she is also a talented food photographer who opens up her beautiful home to budding food bloggers in order to teach them how to take better food photographs.
Fortunately for me, the day I arrived, the light was perfect. We were ushered into Vanessa homely kitchen where the group introduced themselves one by one as you do in these situations so it seems, and then we began. I wrote reams of notes, there really was so much to take in. It was a very interactive day, lots of questions were being asked and answered, not to mention hundreds of photographs taken.
What I leant
Vanessa taught us about light, camera settings, compositions, angles, props and a never ending list of tips and tricks. One thing she taught, was to practice our photography with store bought food, dress a microwave meal or a shop bought cake and just keep playing around with it. It seems so simple now, why I hadn’t done this previously I don’t know. The stress of making a meal, then coming to photograph it after slaving away and it was going cold always drove me to distraction. Usually it was in the evening when the light was all wrong, so it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Knowing that now has saved me a great deal of frustration and for that I am eternally grateful.
What I took away from the day
Vanessa was a wonderful teacher, she was welcoming, encouraging, enthusiastic, everything you would expect of a good teacher. I found the course a phenomenal amount of fun and I certainly learned a great deal which is generally the idea of these things.
A few of the useful tips I took away were:
- It’s important to get your composition in place before you shoot. Food spoils quickly so you want to have everything set up, table cloths, plate, possible accessories before the food is ready.
- The food doesn’t have to look perfect, in fact it is sometimes better if it doesn’t. A few crumbs on the plate, a trickle of icing or glossy oil. It makes the finished photo look much more inviting.
- Keep it simple. Do not over complicate your composition. Quite often less is more and fussy props and garnishes can make a photo look dated.
I would very much recommend this course to food bloggers, food photographers, budding food stylists and even food business owners. I can also see this being great idea for restauranteurs who want to take good quality photos to to promote themselves on social media and in the press.
I would have preferred a slightly smaller class size in order to have more one-on-one time with Vanessa, she knew so much and I just wanted to pick her brain more but just didn’t have the time. I would have been happy to pay more for this privilege. Failing that, perhaps a more advanced course offered that would cover the technical side of photography in more detail. Maybe something offered to those who have attended the first workshop but want to learn more would be a good idea. There were some very keen photographers on my course and I am sure this would be popular if offered by the school in the future.
Having said that, in all honesty, food photography is a vast subject that cannot really be covered in a day. Vanessa’s enthusiasm and knowledge certainly whet my appetite and left me wanting more.
It was a thoroughly informative day which not only encouraged me to take better photos of my food, but was inspirational and gave me a lot more confidence with my camera.
Name of Course: Food Photography Workshop
Tutor: Vanessa Kimble
Date of Course: 20th September 2013