Back in May I co-hosted a food styling and photography workshop in Montreal with the talented Christelle Tanielian. I had met Christelle a few months before over coffee; we had been following each other’s work online for a little while. We talked about blogging, our reality as freelancers, and our many projects. It was like I was talking to an old friend, and the idea of collaborating together instantly felt natural. It was a real pleasure to host my first French workshop (my native language) with such a talented, passionate and inspiring lady.
The weekend was full of inspiration, learnings and great conversations. It left me recharged and inspired. Our group of participants was the best: they were generous, curious, talented and overall just so great to be around.
My friend Julie Zyromski was once again behind the amazing and beautiful-looking food (as she was for my previous Fall workshop), with the help of her wonderful assistant Aube. They both contributed so much to the success of this workshop, we couldn’t have done it without them.
Here’s a recap in photos of this magical weekend!
DAY 1 – Saturday
We welcomed our guests in the most gorgeous, charming apartment of the Old Montreal. Laurie-Anne Atelier fleurs bouquets, beautiful white and grey ceramics from Looks Like White and green linens from Made by Objective on the table instantly set the tone to what would be a weekend full of beauty.
We started off with a rhubarb mimosa and a light breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruits, Oatbox granola, and Miels D’Anicet honey while breaking the ice with introductions. We then jumped right into the lessons and discussed camera settings, equipment, lighting techniques and composition.
BRIGHT & AIRY + DARK & MOODY SCENES
For our first hands-on practice, we set up two different scenes: a light and bright breakfast scene and a dark and moody still life, showing students how to use backgrounds, props and natural lighting techniques to create different moods.
I couldn’t get over how beautiful and soft the light was in this apartment! The scenes by the windows were my favourites to photograph. It’s like the light was softly kissing everything it was touching, creating a magical glow around the subject.
A bright and airy breakfast scene & dark and moody still life
We then photographed our lunch before devouring it. These were some amazing scrambled tofu tacos that Julie prepared for us, with a ton of fresh toppings!
Handmade Taco warmers by Made by Objective
COZY BREAKFAST IN BED SCENE
Once our bellies were satisfied, we continued the lessons and dove into one of my favourite topics, food styling. While discussing how to create a story with food and props, Christelle had the idea of setting up a cozy breakfast scene in the bedroom.
This scene was truly a collaborative effort with everyone, and it ended up being one of my favourite photos of the weekend. We each contributed to styling the scene by choosing props, breaking some cookies, throwing a blanket or adding flowers in the background, until the scene felt right for everyone.
DAY 2 – Sunday
We started off with a copious breakfast to attack the second day. Waffles, vanilla whipped cream, roasted grapes, fresh fruits and Miel d’Anicet honey.
Laurie-Anne Atelier Fleur floral arrangements
We then followed with the post-production session in Lightroom. We discussed workflow, shared how we edit our photos, and showed them how powerful this tool can be to bring images to the next level.
DEMO: HOW TO STYLE A SALAD
Right before lunch, Christelle and I styled a salad from start to finish, showing them our exact process, how we would pick the ingredients, manipulate the food, use water to make it look fresh, compose the plate and then “edit” it until it looks perfect. This was a farro salad with raddichio, arugula, red onion and feta, served with a lemon vinaigrette.
Lunch was a tartine fest, with ricotta, labneh, hummus, savoury granola, crunchy radishes, fresh herbs and Épices de Cru za’atar. Christelle and I styled this scene together (below) before happily eating it!
ADDING THE HUMAN ELEMENT & CAPTURING MOVEMENT
We then demo’d one of my favourite aspects of food photography: how to capture movement and use the human element to tell the story of a dish. I showed how I use my own hands, a tripod and a remote to create these beautiful pouring shots.
This gorgeous lemon cake with vanilla icing was the perfect hero for this scene. I mean, look at that drizzle!!
For our last session, we invited participants to form small groups and create, style and photograph a scene of rhubarb strawberry galettes, applying all the techniques we had covered in the past two days.
I was so impressed by the photos our participants created! You can view their photos on Instagram by following the hashtag #AtelierMontreal2017.
There couldn’t have been a better way to end the weekend then by sharing the most delicious rhubarb lavender Romeo’s Gin cocktail Julie made for us, while discussing social media, business, and how to navigate through the ups and downs of the blogging and photography world.
Rhubarb Lavender Romeo’s Gin cocktails
After wrapping up the day, everyone got to go home with a gift bag full of goodies from our local sponsors: a handmade linen napkin from Made by Objective, a The Baltic Club notebook offered by Boucle & Papier, tea from Camellia Sinensis, a reusable bulk bag from Dans le Sac, a Za’atar spice blend from Épices de Cru, a honey jar and lip balm from Miels d’Anicet, a granola bar and jar of handcrafted granola from Oatbox and Christelle’s cookbook, “Ensemble” offered by Les Éditions La Presse.
A huge thank you to our generous sponsors!
Looks Like White | Ceramics
Made by Objective | Linens, aprons and taco warmers
Boucle & Papier | Notebooks
Camellia Sinensis | Tea, cups and teapots
Dans le Sac | Reusable bulk bags
Épices de Cru | Za’atar
Laurie Anne – Atelier Fleurs | Floral arrangements
Les Éditions La Presse | “Ensemble” Cookbook by Christelle Tanielian
Miels d’Anicet | Honey and lip balm
Oatbox | Granola
Romeo’s Gin | Gin
Thanks to Christelle, who was such a dedicated and passionate co-host, to Julie and Aube for their precious help, to our lovely sponsors, and of course to our 12 wonderful attendees: Stéphanie, Geneviève, Valérie, Jany, Sabiha, Audrey, Marie-Ève, Marigil, Frédérique, Marie-Chantal and Sophie.
In case you missed the news, I announced a new food photography workshop in Toronto for August 2017! Get all the details and get on the presale list here, tickets will go on sale very soon. Questions? Email me at email@example.com.