Our California Food Photography Workshop, Sebastopol edition, was tons of fun! If you're interested in future workshops, email [email protected] to be added to our workshop mailing list.
A few weeks ago, Sarah, Gerry, and I (with a ton of help from the amazing Carla) hosted our first food photography and styling workshop in Sebastopol, California. For three days, we cooked, taught, styled, shot, and nerded out on all things food photos, from prop styling to making your food shine (literally) on set to composing dynamic frames to becoming a Lightroom wizard. We also ate our weight in delicious food! I knew going into the workshop that it would be an intensely rewarding week. But what I didn't know is that I'd make 12 new friends by the end, and come out of it more inspired than ever to take pretty pictures of food.
Set in Sebastopol, a sweet little hippie town about an hour and a half north of San Francisco, the workshop gave us the chance to celebrate all things California and feature many of our beloved artisan makers. I knew I wasn't in the city anymore when, at the local tiny Whole Foods (whose produce aisle I camped out in for about 2 hours loading up on fruits and veggies for the week), strangers kept smiling at me. At first I thought I must have something stuck in my hair or teeth, but after the third smile, I realized that people are just friendlier up there. I took a quick trip to Red Car and Iron Horse wineries to pick up some bottles that they generously donated, and resisted (barely!) staying all day sipping wine in their lovely tasting rooms.
After the most insane grocery trip of our lives, we ordered GF pizza and vegan caesar salad from Slice of Life (which I wish I could have delivered to SF, it was so crazy good) and stayed up late packing goody bags full of loveliness from some of our favorite makers:
- Totem Ceramics
- MMClay Ceramics
- Luvhaus Ceramics
- M Bueno Pottery
- Studio Patró
- Jered's Pottery (who also loaned us full sets of ceramic dinnerware for the week)
- Elsie Green
- Rigel Stuhmiller
- Peerless Coffee
- Guittard Chocolate
- Cogworks Boards
Our wonderful attendees arrived the next day, and we adored getting to know everyone over the course of the week. They came from all walks of life: the music industry, design, catering, baking, PR, wedding and travel photography, as well as some professional food photographers and bloggers. I loved getting to spend three days immersed in the world of food styling and photography, the "real" world fading away to a distant memory as the days flew by.
Every meal was a shooting opportunity, and unlike in normal everyday life, nobody minded if I spent half an hour fussing with my breakfast before I sat down to eat. Together we twirled pasta, swirled yogurt bowls, scooped ice cream, and fluffed salad greens. I wish I could eat so well every day. The last night, Chef Cregg cooked us a stunning four-course meal that was completely gluten- and dairy-free, every course a stunner.
One of our attendees, Reah, brought a bunch of loaves of gluten-free sourdough bread from her Arcata bakery Arise (and pssssst: they ship!) The bread was so good that when Sarah took her first bite, she was convinced that she had poisoned herself with gluten. Another treat came from Annette who brought bottles of wine from her family's winery Shafer Vineyards (as well as strawberry rhubarb compote and homemade GF banana bread) which we enjoyed with slices of Bellwether Farm cheeses.
While I fully expected to share any knowledge that I have about food styling and photography, I was amazes at how much our attendees taught me, not to mention my talented fellow teachers Sarah, Gerry, and Carla. I'm incredibly lucky to get to work with those three.
Huge thanks to the amazing brands that made our workshop extra delicious and beautiful:
- Whole Foods for delicious groceries
- Taylor Farms for fresh, organic salad greens
- Sabra for a lifetime supply of yummy hummus
- Dutton Estate Winery for tasty sips
- Red Car Wine for rosé all day
- Iron Horse Vineyards for the sublime bubbles
- Copper River Salmon for keeping our pescatarians happy
- Pearls Olives for adding briny goodness to meal upon meal
- Laughing Giraffe for the nourishing snacks
- Lo-Fi Aperitifs for the best vermouth cocktails, ever
- BreadSRSLY for superb GF sourdough
- Udi’s Gluten-Free for our loaded bagel breakfast
- California Avocados for the killer guacamole makings
- Bellwether Farms for ALLLLL the cheese and sheep milk yogurt
- Adobe Lightroom for making our photos shine
- Erickson Woodworks Boards for adding texture and mood to our photos through stunning backgrounds
- Woodville Boards for also adding style to our shots with beautiful boards, from Russia with loads of love
And special thanks to our kind sponsors whose generous donations gave us beautiful food to style and shoot:
- Valley Fig Growers for the figgy salad love
- Lucini Italia for organic, non-gmo tomato sauce and organic extra virgin olive oil
- Tillamook Dairy for a freezer full of delectable ice cream
We can't wait for the next California Food Photography Workshop! If you're interested in attending future workshops, email [email protected] to be added to our mailing list. If you're local and interested in private food styling, photography, or editing lessons or consultations, email me ([email protected]) for more information.
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