Snap Happy

We've had some amazing workshops at Clavelshay the past two months, from our extremely popular Cheese Making Workshop with Sarah and Chris from Shebbear Cheese, the brilliant Food Photography Workshop with Neil White, and this past weekend, we had the lovely Jen Goss from Wales teach a very inspirational Vegetarian Cooking Workshop. We will be sharing the stories and photos from the Cheese Making Workshop and the Vegetarian Cooking Workshop in the coming week.

Our next exciting workshop coming up is the Sourdough Bread Making Workshop with Jemma Morgan from Quangle Wangle Foods in Wiltshire. We only have a few spots left on the course, so if you are a lover of all things bread and would like to learn how to make real, proper, delicious tasting bread, make sure you don't miss out and contact Sue at query@clavelshaybarn.co.uk.

Today we have the lovely Helen Upshall joining us from the fantastic local food blog Hells Belles' Bites. Helen has kindly let us share a great article she wrote about her experience at the recent Food Photography Workshop and some of the beautiful photos she took on the day. We have another Food Photography Workshop coming up on Saturday 17th May and spots are filling up quickly, so if you are a food blogger, B&B owner, restaurant owner or anyone that has a passion for photography, come along and learn something new from one of the best food photographers in the South West. You can find out more about the day here »

So, let's hand you over to Helen...

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I spent a fantastic day developing and honing my skills within the realms of food photography, having the additional opportunity to network with fellow foodies from up and down the country, whether they be bloggers, photographers of other fields or restaurant owners.

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Lucky for me, the workshop was located only a stones throw away, across the lake that is currently the Somerset Levels, in the quaint (and somewhat challenging to find) hamlet on the outskirts of North Petherton.  Set in the beautiful, picturesque backdrop of Claveshay Barn, organised by attentive host, Sue Milverton, we were catered for throughout the day with a particularly delicious lunch that showcased the local area’s fantastic produce.

Led by one of the region’s best food photographers, Neil White, the workshop offered a brilliant introduction to the commercial world of food styling and photography, providing the group with hands-on experience and personal tuition essential to producing delicious looking images, of a  superior quality.

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Food styling is a particular interest of mine and a big part of what I do when it comes producing this blog.  To be given the opportunity to have free-reign of an abundant props and ingredients table, as well as professional lighting and highly technical photographic equipment, meant for a very excited, yet somewhat overwhelmed blogger – but I have to admit, I was simply in my element!

Due to the often restrictive nature of my photography – my studio is my dining room table and window offering temperamental natural light – I opted to work mostly at the ‘station’ set up using natural light.  Neil introduced us to the use of black and white card to direct and reflect essential light around the shot, eliminating, and at times creating, all important shadow and contrast.  The most simplest of techniques that make such fundamental differences to the final product.

We were later taken on a whistle-stop-tour of Neil’s preferred editing programmes, Capture One and Photoshop, highlighting the importance of looking at digital images in finer detail, with a keener eye, in an attempt to arrive at a flawless final image.  Attention to detail is paramount at this stage, and something perhaps unachievable without the necessary software.

Whilst still producing images on a personal level, basic editing software is something I have to make the most of for the time being.  However, with clear advice from Neil on specific detail to look for, particular areas of editing, and the importance of balancing light, I am proud to offer a small selection of my favourite images produced during the workshop.  I hope you enjoy them, and I would love to hear your feedback!

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A more extensive portfolio of my workshop images can be found here