Yesterday I went on a course called An Introduction to Food Photography at the School of Artisan Food at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire. I’m always ogling what the school is up to on Twitter, and because I work in food marketing and spending more time creating beautiful photographs of chocolate is high on my work agenda… well, it would have been rude not to snatch up the opportunity when it arose! Especially as Welbeck is only twenty minutes’ drive from my house.
Our tutor for the day was the lovely and talented Joan Ransley, who built up the course from camera settings to composition to practical exercise and then onto feedback, when we tentatively uploaded our day’s work for inspection.
It was a lovely surprise to be joined on the day by fellow blogger, WI-er, pooch owner and food marketeer Emma of Oh Gosh. This was particularly fortuitous as, deciding we were both at about the same stage on our photography knowledge, we were able to pair up for the afternoon of practical practise. Some classmates were already talented photographers with decades of experience under their belts, so it was nice that everyone came with a ready-to-learn attitude and no one was intimidated.
Emma and I decided to take up residence in the estate abattoir to do the photography exercises! Fortunately it was empty (and clean) but there was such an inspiring light in there that it made the perfect setting. We even got to help ourselves to herbs to use as props in a very Peter Rabbit-esque fenced garden outside.
Some of the course validated what I already knew, but always seem to forget when I turn the camera on and am faced with a sea of settings. I learned an awful lot too, especially about composition and light levels. But the most important outcome for me was gaining confidence, and a concrete knowledge base on which to grow that confidence. Sometimes I need to photograph something special for this blog or work but find myself putting it off or apologising for my lack of knowledge before I even begin.
Well, I went straight to the Welbeck Farm Shop after the course, bought two giant meringues, and have spent this morning practising. Hurrah! Still lots and lots to learn, but it feels great to be able to get stuck in without fear, especially with my shiny new 50mm lens, purchased just a day before the course!
I’d highly recommend a course at the School of Artisan Food. Passion for fine food just oozes out of the place, the environment is teeming with history and nature, the staff were all so welcoming and enthusiastic, and the lunch was exactly what you’d expect in a school of artisan food – scrumptious and very good quality. I even came home with three delicious loaves of craft bread, because apparentlly they needing eating. I’m not one to argue!
Have you ever taken a photography course?