SF Photography & Food Styling Workshop

Food photography and food styling are both things that I have generally figured out by myself so when I heard about a workshop being offered in San Francisco, I immediately jumped on it.

Red and black currents

Red and black currents

I do both professionally and personally so it's easy to get in a certain routine. I also really, really enjoy being in the comfort of my own home. In fact, I am reveling in the fact that I don't have to be anywhere right now. This all dwindled down to the thought that I should get out of my introvert comfort zone for a weekend and try something completely different.

One of the really amazing things about this workshop was being surrounded by so many people who are just like me. All of a sudden it wasn't weird to see other people standing on chairs and step ladders in order to take photos of food. Or request that people pause in action to capture a moment. Here I was surrounded by people who similarly geeked out about lighting, color, texture and how to make food as beautiful as possible. 

Above: Our first impromptu food styling / food photography shoot featuring Mr. Holmes Bakehouse pastries brought by Julianna.  Below: Alex and Sylvie compose the perfect top down shot of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse pastries. / Ellie very patiently adding a human element into the scene.

Above: Our first impromptu food styling / food photography shoot featuring Mr. Holmes Bakehouse pastries brought by Julianna

Below: Alex and Sylvie compose the perfect top down shot of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse pastries. / Ellie very patiently adding a human element into the scene.

This workshop was hosted by Bella and Kimberley. Both are fantastic food stylers, photographers and bloggers but with two completely different styles, focuses and beginnings. All of those things were reflected in their teachings and structure of the workshop which I liked. It reinforced the idea that personal style is a way of expressing individuality especially in a culture that is oversaturated by media and food media especially. 

It was nice to take the time to style food in a way where it is peaceful to just play. Often times I am hungry or pressed on time so I shoot in a hurried manner and forget what I originally enjoyed about photography. It was like remembering the early days right after I got over being intimidated photography and I started to enjoy the process of creating. Photography as art came up a lot as well which is something I don't generally think about. Either that means that it is so engrained in me that it is natural or it is just not in my vocabulary. Whichever one it is or combination of both, I realized I enjoy creating what feels right to me so maybe that is my art—the art of creating by trial and error, an aesthetic eye, repetition and experimentation. 


ABOVE: Greek Inspired Dinner Menu Below: The above dinner table all together. /  SF Studio Smith had amazing lighting and decor. I haven't shot with window light in a while.  / Two similar lifestyle shots reflecting two different moods. I usually am someone who tends to shoot light and bright so trying something more moody was fun! 

ABOVE: Greek Inspired Dinner Menu

Below: The above dinner table all together. /  SF Studio Smith had amazing lighting and decor. I haven't shot with window light in a while.  / Two similar lifestyle shots reflecting two different moods. I usually am someone who tends to shoot light and bright so trying something more moody was fun! 

The concept of style kind of puzzled me because I don't exactly know what my style is. I know what kind of food I like to make (sweet things and bread with a dash of cooking). But my style is a little trickier to pinpoint. I'm not someone who has a sick prop collection (although now it is tempting to upgrade). I have a random assortment of things that I have found interesting or have sentimental value but nothing that is really trending right now. Maybe I am just a practical person with a quirky taste and that is my style. I also like simple and have always noticed this in my design and photography work so maybe that is my style too. But sometimes simple can be bland and I want to avoid that and go for simple and powerful instead. 

It was nice to see that there were many other attendees who were figuring this out as well. I guess this ties into what I wanted to get out of the workshop and what I resonate with from my work, hapkido and just general output on life—that we can always constantly improve on things both big and small. Remembering this has slowly gotten me out of the rut that I have faced the past few months in regards to this blog. I was feeling a little stuck, not knowing what to write about since writing is not really my strong suit. But avoiding posting because I didn't know what to say wasn't the solution. Sometimes it's a change of environment, exposure to meeting different people, eating food of another lifestyle, a different space, the ability to re-remember things you have forgotten that are inspiring. 

The stages of pie making featuring Ellie. It was nice to have someone else model!

The stages of pie making featuring Ellie. It was nice to have someone else model!

After processing the experience of this workshop, I am eager to get back to creating and to get back to the projects that have been in the back of my brain. I want to make pie again, recreate one of the dishes we had for lunch, find some pretty props that I love, work on my photo organization system/storage, get back to things about this blog that have been bothering me, buy a new lens but most importantly, remember to stay true to who I am as a creative person and food maker.

The final pie that we didn't end up eating because we ran out of time! Obviously that meant I needed to make my own. 

The final pie that we didn't end up eating because we ran out of time! Obviously that meant I needed to make my own. 

This means that indubitably, there will always be a plethora of sweet treats on this blog. 


This workshop was hosted Bella and Kimberley. Food was prepared by Matt. Workshop assistants were Elena and Ellie. Studio space was SF Studio Smith