A food photography workshop in Napa gets not only photographers inspired but also the participants. The unique experience got me thinking about what it means to be a photographer and why we still need workshops like these today when the digital era has made everything so accessible.
This is a collection of photos from my Napa Food Photography Workshop. I hope you enjoy them! Read more in detail here: food photography.
—in light of the recent events in Napa and the surrounding regions, extending love and support to everyone who has been touched by the fires. Consider making a donation to the relief efforts. Here are some ideas on how you may help:
I had the amazing pleasure of conducting a food photography course in Napa, California a few weeks ago. I hosted 13 guests from all over the nation for a long weekend of learning, photography, and, of course, eating with my co-host, Bella.
This was a workshop to remember. The site was the most beautiful house I’d ever seen. I’m still amazed at how beautiful the setting was. The cuisine, provided by Bella’s friend Matt, was amazing and very fresh. And the people that came were incredible—so eager to learn and so, so skilled.
So, without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of our time together…
The workshop home could not have been more gorgeous, perched on a hilltop overlooking acres of vines. This place was to die for, from breakfast in the sunroom through meals at the pool house.
We had our first shot together after settling in: a gorgeous sheet of roasted grapes with fresh figs, burrata, and a fennel-infused olive oil. Bella and I demonstrated how we place items in a pleasant manner and discussed basic camera settings to the guests.
We went to Harvest Table, a Charlie Palmer restaurant only minutes from our home, after a short meal. We took a stroll around the whole Harvest Inn site, which is home to dozens of distinct houses for visitors to stay in, as well as a vegetable garden, sculpture garden, and gathering space ideal for weddings.
Oh, and the whole place looked out over a vineyard. I mean, it’s self-evident.
After that, we had supper. Guys, this supper is for you. They prepared a five-course supper fit for a Queen for us. A beet salad that has been dismantled. Pork belly that is crispy. Trout with a creamy stew and black lentils. With potato pave, a melt-in-your-mouth steak. And, of course, there’s the wine.
We had a great time and concluded the night on a positive note. It was the ideal way to start our weekend together. Make a reservation at Harvest Table the next time you’re in Napa.
Before our first classroom session on day 2, we ate an incredible savory bread pudding created by Chef Matt. I taught the participants about food photography composition, perspective, and finding the ideal perspectives.
We then proceeded to the pool house, where I led the guests through a cheese board style demonstration. Grapes, pears, and figs from California make for a fantastic summer cheese platter. Of course, we complemented the cheese platter with some wine, namely Hogwash Rosé. Which one has become my new fave. Clean and crisp, yet still bursting with flavor and not at all dry.
To educate the guests about product styling, we staged a picnic photo using some of the leftover bottles. I’m very pleased with how the images came out.
The remainder of the day was spent in one-on-one meetings with our participants, where we were able to discuss particular questions that each person had. It was a fantastic approach to get to know everyone on a more personal level and to focus in on each person’s objectives.
That evening, Chef Matt prepared a delicious supper for us all on the open grill at the property’s southern end. We spoke about how to style a tablescape and then went into some marketing issues about how to expand your company after we ate some excellent food.
The following morning, we started with another classroom session, this one focused on light, color, and discovering your voice. We broke up into small groups and produced mood boards for our companies, which we then presented with the rest of the group. Because I got to witness each attendee’s #photogoals and the essence of their visual identity, it was my favorite part of the weekend.
Of course, we had to make use of the property’s wood-fired pizza oven. Chef Matt produced the most delectable handmade pizza dough for lunch, which we each used to create our own personal pizzas. We also got some great images before we started delving into them.
Bella and I talked through our Lightroom editing processes in our last classroom session, then I gave a presentation on how to promote oneself to businesses following a brief food break.
We sat around the table for hours after the food was gone, enjoying each other’s company and sharing our frustrations, desires, and dreams. It was the ideal way to end our time together.
I’m still in awe of how amazing the whole weekend was. This class was very unique, from the cuisine to the setting to the company shared.
And, for those of you who are curious, I’m now arranging another workshop for January, but I’m having a hard time finding a beautiful place that can accommodate 12-16 people. I’m also open to any location– Charleston, perhaps? Austin? LA? Please let me know! Let me know in the comments if you’d like to be included to the list for my next class, and I’ll add you to our email list!
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