Food, Photography and Workshop

When kiddo turned one year old, we relocated to London as my husband had to handle a year-long official project there. We spent that one year in a single bedroom house, which my sweet friend and her husband found for us.

It was the time I started baking and clicking my culinary trials so that folks back home can be assured that I am not starving my family. Being a novice, but very enthusiastic baker (unfortunately), I had landed myself in really embarrassing situations. Once, I ended up gifting a half-baked cake for my friend’s birthday. Imagine the scene when someone cuts the cake and you find uncooked batter in the middle! (Thankfully, it was a very private affair and I had a ‘trial’ cake as backup :D.)

Another time, a cake which I baked for my hubby’s friends was returned as such. Excuses offered varied from ‘stomach full, stomach ache, on diet’ and many more.

Surely, it was time for improvement! That started the search for online recipes.

And that’s how I landed myself in Aparna’s My Diverse Kitchen.  It’s almost four years now and I am still following her blog.

I have cooked and baked many recipes from her space successfully and I am a great fan of her pictures. I love her ‘Less is More’ style, when it comes to props and styling. Check out the picture below of Lime Posset from her space. Great picture with minimal props!

So, when I saw that Aparna is conducting a Food Photography Workshop in Chennai, I registered for it immediately.

The session started at 9 AM in Kettle, a coffee shop in Anna Nagar. It’s a beautiful cafe with great ambience and great food.

I use a Canon IXUS 75 point and shoot camera for all my photography. I had borrowed my brother’s DSLR (Canon 400D) specifically for the workshop. I have been following the Food Photography basics in My Diverse Kitchen, but now that I have a dSLR, the posts make a lot more sense.

The workshop had Aparna talking about various elements of photography in the forenoon and after lunch, it was time to try clicking with our cameras.

What I learnt from the workshop (what I remember now :D):

  • Learn photography first, food photography is a subset.
  • Invest patience and passion into photography. The rest will follow. Of course, good equipment helps! (Are you reading this, hubby dear?)
  • Practise, practise, practise.
  • Learn the Rule of thirds, Rule of Odds, Rule of Space. Learn lighting. Food off centre looks better than right in the middle (rule of thirds), try different angles while clicking.
  • Train your photographic eye – learn to look for the light source, look at the direction of food, look at the empty space in the frame, look for rule of thirds
  • Use geometric patterns in the subjects.
  • Rules are meant for breaking! So don’t be afraid to try new ways of looking at food.
  • How to use reflectors, how to diffuse light, how to block light, using color wheel for composition
  • Don’t compromise on the composition, ie, don’t click with ‘I will crop/edit it later’ thought
  • Use a tripod (I am doing this since the workshop and no shaky pictures anymore :) ! )
  • Also, try to read and practise as much as you can, before you enroll for a session. It’s good to be prepared, so that you can utilize the workshop better.

A lot of what is mentioned above comes with experience. For example, after this session, I realized that I was shooting with odd numbers, mostly with three items. Also, I follow the triangle pattern (using geometric patterns) a lot. And about the props, less is really more!

The session made me realize that I am in the right learning path and thus encourages me to look out for more things now.

I had the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers who had come to attend the workshop. It was a lot of fun clicking together. I am thankful to Meena Thennaapan for patiently holding the ‘white background’ (thermocol sheet) for some of my clicks :-)

We came home with a goodie bag from Urban Dazzle. You will see them in my clicks soon :)

My baking did not improve tremendously from the minute I started following Aparna’s blog. I had to find my way about to reach where I am now (still a long long way to go!) though perfect instructions from her space help a lot.

Similar to that, my photography and my composition is not going to change overnight because I attended a workshop with Aparna. Here too, I have to invest time and patience to get to a higher level. But I am happy for the guidence and more than anything, for the reassurance that I am in the right path!

Thank you Aparna and the girls, I really had a lot of fun at the workshop :-)

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Food, Photography and Workshop

  1. You are lucky Rajani, i really want to participate to this kind of workshops,but unfortunately am far away from India, thanks for the tips,will definitely keep in my mind.

  2. all these photos are amazing…sounds like an amazing workshop – will definitely use the tips and you had me cracking up talking about the half baked cakes :)

  3. Great to read about your experience Rajani. Your pictures have started looking great since a long time, only you say you are learning..:)..I love that plate that comes after the pointers..not sure what the food is..but very well taken..

  4. Nice post, Rajani…..and nice pics too.

  5. That’s a wonderful post Rajani, I am also wanted to join this workshop but couldn’t, thanks for the post and good ideas… I always like your pictures now a days they are more beautiful…:)

  6. rajini, this was one workshop I so wanted to attend, but really couldn’t make it. But thanks for sharing all these info. CHeers and yup you are making a delightful progress gal

  7. Love it, love it, love it. I don’t know what else to say. Unfortunately I’m one of those folks who can’t attend this workshop. But I now know I can ask you if I have any questions.

  8. i have to sit down on this post on a less busier day…thanks for taking all the efforts in jotting down

  9. I’m happy to see you found the workshop helpful. It was fun meeting everyone and a pleasure meeting you. Especially enjoyed the shopping trip. :)

  10. its a wondeful writting ! i too enjoyed the session a lot !

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