On food & travel photography: workshops with Donal Skehan & Marte-Marie Forsberg

Food and travel photography has grown from a passive interest of mine to undeniable passion to a full time job in the last two and a half years.  Within this time span I attended five photography related workshops, mostly food-related, most of which were held at the Food Blogger Connect (FBC) annual conferences in London.  And in each of these workshops, I gleaned valuable nuggets of information to apply to my photography. This past weekend marked FBC’s 6th annual conference centered around the mantra of pushing boundaries.  The photography “labs” reflected this theme with the introduction of a travel & lifestyle  photography workshop taught by Marte Marie Forsberg in addition to a food photography & styling session by Donal Skehan (photographer) and Sharon Hearne-Smith (stylist).

Donal Skehan food photography workshop Food Blogger Connect LondonMarte Marie Forsberg photography workshop Food Blogger Connect London First, let me note how exceptionally inspiring and charismatic these three are.   In the two hour sessions, I fell in love with Marie’s romantic notions on her subjects in travel photography, Donal’s charm & humour in general and Sharon’s style & obsessive attention to detail.  These labs covered pretty different areas but the premise is similar: take your viewers along for the ride through visual storytelling.  In order words, break down certain elements of the destination/dish through the use of light, textures, colors, structure and angles to make the viewer feel what it is you want them to experience.  Sharon Hearne-Smith food styling workshop at Food Blogger Connect London An example Marie provided is the use of complementary color schemes, within a diptych (two vertical images side by side), that portrays the essence of the place/dish.  Imagine a vertical image showing the white and blues of Santorini paired next to another image of seafood set in a similar color scheme.  Together this one diptych should complement and strengthen your visual story.   (I’ll try to post a visual example once I have time to look through my catalogue of photos.)

Donal talked us through and demonstrated his process of shooting food.  He also highlighted the importance of form, texture and structure that conveys the essence of the food and how it is eaten.   The examples he used were through images he took for his quarterly magazine FEAST: A Dinner Journal.

There was so much more that was discussed but my  key take away from the labs is this: It’s no longer about the finished dish or the final destination, it’s about the journey.  This is what I look to incorporate in my shots for this blog as well as for editorial clients. For those interested in a related post, here is what I learned from Ellen Silverman’s workshop at the Food Blogger Connect conference in 2012: tips on food photography.FBC14-food-photography-Joanna_Yee-Photography

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