Scenes from my Food Photography Workshop in the Hudson Valley

This is a collection of my favorite shots from an amazing day spent with some talented photographers and friends in the Hudson Valley. I hope you enjoy!

The “how to approach restaurants for food photography” is a workshop that I did recently. The workshop included how to approach restaurants, what to wear and more importantly, how to take photos of food.

For our Foodtography School clever students, I organized a four-day food photography course this summer (a small group intensive learning experience of 9 photographers from around the country). We got them all together in the Hudson Valley for a week of networking, learning, and, of course, learning about food photography as part of our Mastermind program, which is a one-year program we’re presently in the middle of. 

Audrey’s Farmhouse provided as the retreat’s setting. Audrey’s was purchased a few years ago by Sally and Doug, a former NYC couple who fled the city for the long, winding mountain roads of the Hudson Valley. Their hospitality was exceptional, and they made our retreat so memorable that we’re already arranging another event with them in the near future.

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Day 1

Welcome dinner with a cocktail styling session

In the barn, the first night began with a drink styling session. We had a delectable tequila and thyme drink, which each photographer was allowed to personalize with various garnishes, glasses, and decorations.

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We enjoyed a welcome meal in the greenhouse after the cocktail hour. It was bright and cheery, and it provided the ideal setting for our meal.

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We were all exhausted from our travels, so we went to bed early after supper.

Day 2

Greenhouse dinner / Restaurant styling session / Branding strategy session / Cheeseboard styling session / 1:1’s / Head shots

We gathered in the café the following morning for a “restaurant” shot. I discussed the differences between shooting in restaurants and in a home/studio, as well as how to utilize your surroundings to tell a narrative. It was then off to the races!

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Fun fact: after all of the pouring shots, these waffles were DRENCHED with syrup!

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We headed to the farmhouse after breakfast for a round table branding exercise. We discussed how to identify our customer avatars and how to develop and generate content that best meets their requirements and desires. It was one of the highlights of my week!

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What’s next? A styling session for a cheeseboard. I discussed the best approach to design each kind of board, from what order to put things in to how to style each item so that it interacts smoothly with the others.

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After that, everyone had an opportunity to photograph the board in various lighting conditions and from various viewpoints.

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We broke up into two groups later that afternoon. Half of the students got one-on-one meetings with me, during which they could discuss whatever they wanted, from editing to marketing to branding to style. Bettina, my excellent photographer, took head pictures for the other half!

After that, we prepared for supper by cleaning up. It was really lovely, and despite the fact that it was held in the same location as the previous night’s dinner, we designed it in such a way that it seemed quite distinct.

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Isn’t it amazing that we’re just halfway through the workshop? Looking over these photographs makes me feel like we accomplished SO MUCH! So, are you ready to continue? Let’s chat about the third day!

Day 3

Editing sessions / Barbecue styling session outside / 1:1s / Headshots / Offsite meal

We ate breakfast without shooting it on Day 3 (can you believe that?!). We allowed time after breakfast for the group to live edit some of their images from Days 1 and 2.

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Our charming host Doug and Audrey’s head chef prepared a fantastic outside grilling buffet for lunch. It was the greatest supper we’d eaten all week, created with fresh local ingredients and well seasoned.

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Before we started filming, I gave the group some tips on how to shoot “live,” or a situation that is continuously changing. It’s all about anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation,

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We relocated portions of our scene inside after filming outdoors in some really harsh straight sunshine to capture a few softer, more indirect light images.

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We took additional 1:1’s and head photos that afternoon before getting ready for an offsite dinner at Hasbrouk House. Originally, we planned to film our scene before dinner, but we were all having so much fun simply being with one other and speaking that we decided to put our cameras away in favor of bonding on our final night.

Takeaways

We only had one in-person food photography experience this year, but being a part of it reminded me how much I like teaching in person. It’s quite fulfilling, and you can learn and see things that you wouldn’t be able to notice in a virtual environment.

I realized we needed to offer more workshops after witnessing our students’ eyes light up, experiencing their A-Ha! moments, and even seeing growth in a short period of time. We just must!

As a result, my team and I are working on a series of in-person courses for 2020 that will be totally available to the public, beginning with a free session.

a four-day workshop 

M E X I C O, T U L U M 

9th to 13th of February!

I’ll write a complete blog post about it shortly, but there are only 12 seats available, so if you’re interested, you can find some basic information here and contact my team at [email protected] with any questions.

Finally, a few words of gratitude. Thank you so much to Audrey’s Farmhouse and the whole crew for hosting us for our retreat. If you’re planning a trip to the Hudson Valley anytime soon, Audrey’s is a great place to stay.

Thank you, Bettina, for always bringing your A-game and always providing the precise visuals I imagine in my thoughts. You are an excellent addition to our team, and I am delighted you were able to join us.

And a special thank you to Shanley, Sofi, and Britt, members of my team, for putting so much thought, work, and beauty into this retreat. You are the backbone of our organization, and I am really fortunate to work with you 3

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HAPPY SUNDAY, GUYS AND GIRLS!

Bettina Bogar and I took the photos.

Watch This Video-

The “food business instagram feed” is a series of photos from my Food Photography Workshop in the Hudson Valley.

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