Lessons from behind the lens of a food styling pro
I love cooking, I love baking and I love writing, but I am always aware that my photography lets me down. It’s got better technically but I’m not artistic so there’s almost never any styling in there. So when I was invited to get some tips from top stylist Carole Poirot and oven gurus Neff I couldn’t resist the opportunity to learn from the best. Tucked away in the fabulous L’atelier des Chefs cookery school in London’s St Pauls, is was great to chat to Colin and Austin about their Neff ovens.
Anyone who has watched the bakers watching their bakes on Great British Bake Off (which really bugs me) will have seen Neff ovens in action with the funky slide and hide doors. But for me as am enthusiastic cook, there are even more impressive features.
There is a neat little lip at the top where you can add water for optional steam cooking, without having to open the door and let heat out.
There is a very handy self clean option which turns burnt on spills and splashes to dust!
You can’t visit a cookery school without getting stuck in, so we teamed up to make a very autumnal hazelnut torte with the school’s chef, Fab. Stick a bunch of bloggers in teams and they soon have the jobs divided and get on with it!
Once cakes were made and cooled, Carole set about giving us some great pointers on food styling.
- Consider balance: symmetrical (I never make anything look symmetrical, I think it looks odd), asymmetrical (me, me!) or radial
- Consider what you want the focus point of the shot to be- again it doesn’t have to be the middle
- Use different textures
- Layer props- build from the back
For me the most important tip was to tell a story. Use ingredients found in the finished products, use seas onal props, use personal items which link with the story of the recipe, not just the finished product.
Carole also gave some photography tips which, for me as a novice, were really useful and I will be tweaking my settings more in a bid to get my camera off auto more!
Once the demo was over and incidentally Carole’s cake looked stunning, it was up to us in our groups to make our cakes into something fabulous. Our group scrunched gorgeous mustard fabric, strategically placed our nuts and tweaked some twigs. And if I do say so myself, the final result was great.
I think I will always be taking quick snaps of food on the worktop before it goes cold, but I will definitely make time to make more of an effort with my baking recipes – in fact there is one to follow this post very soon!
I also got to meet some great bloggers who I have been chatting to and following on social media for a while so it was a fantastic trip for that reason too.
Thanks to Currys PC World and Joe Blogs Network for the invite, Neff for the oven envy and L’atelier des Chefs for the hospitality. You can read about the meteoric rise of baking on the Currys blog here.
Images marked * supplied by Joe Blogs Network.