Loyal Nine in Cambridge, MA
The workshop started off with dinner at Loyal Nine in Cambridge, MA. It was the perfect way to break the ice and to get to know each other before our styling and photography intensive the next day. We had a chance to introduce ourselves, share a meal and chat about social media.
I've eaten dinner at Loyal Nine before, but the dinner we shared together as workshop attendees and hosts was more magical somehow. Betty and Krissy had of course styled the table beautifully and the meal felt very luxurious. Our wine glasses were constantly being topped off and all of the dishes were shared with lots of enthusiasm throughout the evening.
After a wonderful meal together we bid each other adieu to get some sleep before the workshop the next morning at Warehouse XI in Somerville, MA.
The workshop started bright and early the next day with a coffee and breakfast scene for us to photograph and eventually to eat. Betty and Krissy expertly styled the breakfast scene with pastries and bread from Forge Baking Company, coffee and tea from No. Six Depot, and beautiful flowers from Five Fork Farms.
During the breakfast shoot we learned about some of the decisions that went into this particular setup. The table was positioned where the light hit the room nicely and all of the props were brought in by Betty and Krissy. If you're not familiar with their work, you should check out their Instagram feeds. Betty has a very distinct style which she says people describe as "dark and moody", while Krissy's aesthetic is what I would call modern farm-to-table (think kinfolk).
One of the first things we learned was that lighting is everything. If you have good light, you can take a beautiful photo.
Betty and Krissy own some pretty beautiful props. They brought in a variety of plates, spoons, cheese boards, linens and serving pieces. Props can help one create a consistent look and through them you can develop your own unique style.
We also learned that when introducing new props, do it slowly. This way your audience can get used to them as you incorporate them more and more into your photography. Isn't that fascinating? I had no idea how much artistry went into styling a beautiful food shot.
Next we photographed a cheese and bread spread that was bursting with Vermont Creamery cheese. Look at all this cheese! We used a ladder to get some height above this table.
Krissy walked us through her thought process when she's styling a scene. She is constantly tweaking if things don't look right and it all comes down to storytelling. Subtle changes can make a styled photograph feel more authentic. For example, adding some crumbs communicates that someone had actually been enjoying the bread.
One of the reasons I was bold enough to attend this workshop (only weeks after learning to shoot manually!) was that it seemed perfectly suited to where I was as a beginner food photographer. I wanted to know how to use natural light, to understand incorporating the human element and how to set up a shot. All of these things were on the agenda. Betty's advice during the lecture portion of the workshop will be in my memory for a while.
- Shoot in raw
- Nail the exposure
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
We wrapped up the day photographing a cocktail demo with Nic Korn. He made several drinks and taught us all about ice. This was great practice for me as I don't have a lot of experience photographing quick motion. As with all of the other meals, we were able to enjoy these tasty drinks after everyone got the photographs they wanted.
If you're interested in food styling or photography, I highly recommend attending workshops if you can. I learned so much and got to meet really great people.
Have you ever taken a photography workshop?