It has been more than a week since I returned from France and I am still not able to go through all the pictures and to digest all memories from the exciting event I attended: a food styling and photography workshop with the inspiring Bea from La Tartine Gourmande and the talanted food photographer Lara Ferroni.
These four days spent in Chateau Ventenac with the two ladies and a group of excited food-and-photography loving enthusiasts was colourful, delicious and memorable time.
Due to the strange and untypical weather (rainy and windy for most of the time), we spent part of the time huddled cozily in the chateau, preparing delicious food in its kitchen and then learning how to style and photograph it. When the sun finally made its awaited appearance, we ran outside visiting a vibrant farmer’s market, making a wine tour, cycling to nearby villages and making a great picnic in the open.
It is a true challenge to pack into a single post all emotions, colours, pictures and memories from our experience in France. But I will try to at least outline the highlights of the 4 days of the workshop and to recreate the atmosphere of the event.
The first day of the workshop was devoted to camera basics. All those strange words like aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, white balance and ISO clearly explained slowly started to make sense to all participants. We played with the cameras, experimented, learnt how to became friends with the tricky machines.
After the technical stuff, we proceeded with styling. We had to style and picture a typical French breakfast.
Creativity was all over the place. In the little cute saucers, servietes, wooden spoons, wild flowers, fragrant strawberries, cherries, fresh peas, fava beans, raddishes and all the abundance of fresh local produce that was there for styling, shooting and…eating.
On the second day we visited an indoors market in Narbonne and on the way back stopped by these faboulous fire-burning poppy-fields. Despite the strong wind, we walked the fields and tried to capture the beauty in our cameras. It was breath-taking!
In the afternoon Bea showed us how to prepare French tartines. I learnt that tartine is the French word for opened sandwich on which you put a spread and arrange any kind of veggies, cheeses and herbs above.
The third day came and we learnt how to shoot on artificial light and how to post-process our pictures.
Everyone was busy playing with fresh ingredients, preparing fresh salads and risotto, going through our own pictures and seeing them with a newly-developed critique eye!
In the late afternoon we made a winery-tour in the area and enjoyed dinner in a nice country restaurant where we had the chance to really savour the French cuisine! Together with a few of the girls we ordered a piece of each dessert on the menu just to try a bite. We were in France after all!
On the last day of our stay the sun was up and shining! We opened the day by visiting a local farmers’ market and purchasing local produce for our last shooting session.
For the session, we prepared a picnic table, beautifully styled and full of yummy plateaus, served at the garden of the chateu. Then we all took turns to take pictures of the table, of the dishes, of our-fellow participants before enjoying a memorable lunch in the open.
The afternoon was filled with leisure walks in the beautiful area, cycling, nice chatting on the big terrace of the Chateau while enjoying the caress of the late afternoon sun.
On the next day we parted as friends who share common passions and have had joyful time together. Anyone of us brought home lovely memories and new skills that we are still to develop and enjoy. I would like to thank Bea, Lara and all other particiapnts for the great time we spent together, for the creativity we shared, for the laughter and for making this event so memorable!
- Lara Ferroni (Food Photographer & Writer, Portland, Oregon » Blog Archive » Ventenac, France
- Food Styling and Photography Workshop in France | La Tartine Gourmande