Last Wednesday evening I had the great fortune of being invited to the Irish Embassy in London for a photography workshop with the amazing food photographer and stylist, Alastair Hendy. I couldn’t have been more excited as I often see Alastair’s work in magazines and books – and it’s beautiful. Not only that, Alastair controls all the elements in creating a feature, or photograph – recipes, writing, styling photography. That’s what I do too. As do many food bloggers. For me, it can be lonely working alone at times, and I appreciate any opportunity to learn more from other photographers and stylists. Even just to chat about it all is so welcome. This event provided that, and more.
Along with Alastair’s workshop, Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, presented us with a showcase of glorious Irish food products. Many products were those that Ireland is famous for – salmon, whiskey, and oats – but also many unexpected such as a jewel-like box of Turkish delight. This cornocopia was all available for us to style and photograph in the practical part of the workshop -along with Alastair’s copious assortment of props. It was frankly overwhelming, there was so much to choose from I could have stayed for a week and been happy. With only an hour or two, I didn’t know where to start. I teamed up with Matina of Feta & Arepa and we concentrated our efforts on the spirits!
Alastair started with a talk about his work, and gave us some great advice and tips. One of the top messages I took away was that oldie but goodie: less is more! Styling – which I think is fundamental to the conception/creation of the photograph – is a tricky art and keeping things simple can be the key to a beautiful result. Alastair also spoke about colour palettes and lighting before letting us wreak havoc on his fantastic collection of props. We all had fun styling and snapping away as he came around to offer his guidance. Thanks Alastair – it was really helpful and lots of fun.
The Irish Embassy and Bord Bia put on a wonderful event and I so enjoyed it. (Thank you!) And it was great to see some of my food blogging pals and meet some new ones too.
In my next post, I’m going to use some of those lovely Irish oats to make some granola bars.