Last month I took the opportunity to join a visual story telling sand styling food workshop why? In the process of doing more personal branding photoshoot I discovered that I really enjoyed helping my client witht their brand story and was looking to offer a full story feature rather than only portraits. I have been therefore looking for workshop teaching about styling and story telling when I came across the Sisterhood retreat in Paris. A workshop organised by Sif Orellana, photographer, writer, author and publisher of 12 cookbooks and Sandra Manhut food stylist turned very successful lifestyle & food photographer.
It was 4 days full one styling, walking the streets of Paris sourcing props topped with a cooking & dinning experience with Eleonora Galasso.
Eleonora is Italian, living between Rome and Paris (this is was I would call the dream life). She is an author, cooks as published “As Roman Do” as delightful book about Rome and food and is about to publish a second one.
Sandra and Sif had arranged for us to cook dinner at Eleonora’s flat in the heart of the Latin Quarter in St Germain des Prés. We met Eleonora in a typical French cafe for the aperitif, she walked us around to tell us about local history while we walked to her flat in one of the oldest streets of Paris.
Cooking at her flat was well worth the 5 flights of stairs we had to climb to reach it, we we entered her flat we felt like pinching ourselves, large windows open onto the courtyard, wooden floors and high ceilings, this is where we would stay for the rest of the evening.
Things started getting busy in the kitchen, Eleonora danced around the shelves and the draws to lay out the pen and cooking ingredients, ready to be chopped. Calm and controlled she distributed the task to everyone of us standing in the kitchen, cutting the onions, washing the spinach, and chopping the pepper.
Outside the kitchen, the rest of the group was enjoying drinking some prosecco and started laying vintage plates, silver cutlery and crystal glasses onto the antique wooden table.
It didn’t take more than 30 minutes for the first food to come out of the kitchen, spinach and ricotta balls, turkey sweeten with peaches, tomato chuncks in a salad with mind leaves and lentils who could resist such a feast. But we had to wait, the purpose of cooking all this gorgeous food was also to photograph it! And so we did, trying to apply all the lessons we had learned during the previous classes with Sandra and Sif!
The purpose of styling an image is to invite the viewer to engage with the story your telling in this image, when you tell a visual story you have to think like an editor, who is your hero in the shot, what do you want to say in your story? The whole exercise of cooking dinner at Eleanor’s was to give us the opportunity to tell a full story not only about the food about her as well.
Stay tuned for my next post about lifestyle photography workshop in London.