Makelight food styling & photography workshop

I am not one of life’s ‘faffers’.

I’m definitely a ‘get in there, get it done, move on’ sort of person. When it comes to creative tasks, so many of my longer projects (videos, photo edits, presentations) are abandoned in frustration at the ‘90% there, just call it done’ stage if it takes longer than an hour (often to be polished to perfection by my forever patient T). I’m impatient with dawdlers, always on time, perpetually busy; and, of late, even incapable of doing one task at a time. On my ‘non working’ days the baby is entertained, a podcast in the background whilst I experiment in the kitchen and tweet as I go. “Phenomenal work rate” a manager once commented. Busy, busy B.

My home, food & blog reflect my constant state of ‘go’ – posts are bashed out within an hour of an event, a recipe I’ve toiled over is lucky to be photographed (even with greasy fingers) at all as I burn my tongue eating the second it’s out of the oven. Our home is comforting to me in it’s order – clean lines, bold colours, tidied up at the end of the day.

IMG_2889So it was a little out of my comfort zone to take a whole day to essentially play in a gorgeous space filled with light and whimsy in Emily Quinton’s ‘Makelight‘ studio. So beautiful, yet different, from my own habitat – filled with pastels, petals and props; for a food styling and photography workshop hosted by talented Catherine Frawley*.

I was there to learn how to make a little more of my kitchen projects through the images I share – be that the recipes I’ve written and iterated, or the weeknight suppers that have become a bit of a creative outlet. I learnt a few other lessons too.

After initial guidance on styling and basic technique, and some practical demonstrations from Catherine, the pupils (comprising a friendly mixture of bloggers, food business owners & creative instagrammers) were let lose in the playground of carefully curated trinkets to create our own vignettes using a banquet of sweet treats with guidance and support from our two mentors.

IMG_2895I fiddled with some broad beans (podding – something I know how to do!), then nervously moved some billowing peonies around a tray of stunning marshmallows. I initially found it a little tough to find what I wanted to say with these scenes about food I didn’t make, and to relax and play, especially as super talented people moved around with lemons here, jasmine petals there, and the ‘click click’ of DSLRs. Here’s me with a sticky iPhone, and why isn’t everyone eating the props as they go?! I was a bit of a B out of water.

But then there was granola (the attention to detail extended to having gluten free props for me to style!) and help from Catherine; who worked with my insistence on ‘clean lines, no fuss’, to help me tell a story. To the point at which I looked at the arrangement of ingredients in bowls on a marble slab and declared ‘it needs more stuff‘. Ah, I see. Faffing. Playing with pretty things to tell a story – the details that tell your audience about what you’ve made and how it feels and tastes.

A little faffing with one bright bowl of mango later, I paced with purpose for my train, mind buzzing with all of the experiments I have to come; and the cooking is only half of it.

There are other Makelight workshops coming up. You can follow my ‘experiments’ over on Instagram.





A little video that Emily made of our day:

Food Photography & Styling from Emily Quinton on Vimeo.

*you might have seen me mention Catherine before as we were clever enough to find her to capture our wedding.

8 responses to “Makelight food styling & photography workshop

  1. Oh thank you for such a beautiful review of the day! It was so great having Catherine teaching in the studio on Saturday and I loved having you all there too. xo

  2. Oh my goodness…fabulous photos. And you sound like a carbon copy of me! I hate faffing, am always doing at least two things and like things clean and ordered! I love you photos. I would love to do that workshop…I certainly need inspiration!

    • I’m sure you’d ace it, your photography gets better and better with each blog post and you seem to know your way around a proper camera – I ditched my point and shoot because I was getting better pics with my iPhone 😳

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  5. Loved this, not least because I too just cannot faff – I once tried and didn’t get beyond 5 minutes before wanting to eat my own arm out of frustration.
    But I too find that thing you speak of – the need to add a little more, to rearrange, when it comes to food. It doesn’t feel so much like faffing, somehow – & I definitely eat along the way ;) x

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