It was probably around this time last year that Aimee from Twigg Studios asked me to run a food styling and food photography workshop with her in what seemed the unbelieveably distant future (March 2017!). Without hesitation I said yes and man, am I glad that I did. Though Aimee and I are VERY different people, us working together always kinda sorta really goes! And, I feel our lovely work connection shone through in this weekend's 3-day food photography and food styling workshop which was held at my humble, cosy home 'studio' in South East London. We only took 4 students each day to allow for lots of 1-2-1 attention and were over the moon that the workshop was sold out :).
After tea, cake and introductions we quickly got started with Day 1 which we broke into four sections:
1 - In the morning we looked at getting to grips with camera basics from shutter speed, ISO and aperture to discussions on light and how it moves through the camera. We spoke about how to compose a breakfast scene asking participants to think about composition, props and backdrops as well as the message they wanted to convey to their audience through their imagery. Aimee and I then set out to stage a breakfast scene demonstrating in practice the morning's learning. Thereafter, the students worked in 2s to set up and photograph their own breakfast scenes.
By the time you read this it'll be 2017, so happy New Year everyone! I hope your year is filled with love, happiness and health. And fact is, if you're here for the green smoothie recipe, you're off to a pretty good start if you ask me ;).
2016 for me was one of the craziest years of my life. Now, I told you a little bit about some major developments that have been going on for me in my last blog post (please do give it a read if you've got a minute) and today I'll reveal a tiny bit more about what's been happening for me and why I was quieter on social media towards the end of the year ...
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed PART 1 of the food photography backdrops series as this week I bring you PART 2! To keep the blog post as short and informative as possible, I haven't included a recipe today. Sorry. But I'll be back with a stunning recipe next time. Is that ok? Cool ;)! Ok, so let's quickly move on to two of my most favourite food photography backdrop options EVER, shall we? Fabrics and metals...
Storage: easy/medium/a tad more complicated
For those of you who have been following me for a while on instagram, you'll know I'm OBSESSED with fabrics. In fact you'll be hard pressed to find an image in which I don't use fabrics. That's because I love the look, feel and texture of fabrics so, so much and believe they often add the missing ingredient to a shot.
Hi everyone! I can't tell you how excited I am about this week's blog post. Not only am I bringing you an ACE vegan pad thai recipe (so, SO good), but I'm also tackling another major food photography secret - how to create, source and buy FANTASTIC food photography backdrops.
Following this post on instagram and tons of questions on the subject over the past few weeks, I'm well aware that you've been keen to read up on my tips and tricks ;) and truth be told, I'm even keener to share them with you in the hope that they are going to be helpful.
Now a few notes from the outset - if you're just here for the recipe, please scroll all the way down. The recipe IS there somewhere ;). And if you're hoping to learn everything there is to know about backdrops, let me warn you now, I'm breaking this topic up into 4 blog posts as there's quite a bit to say about the matter. So sorry in advance that you won't find all the answers here today. Thing is, I'm well aware my blog posts have been a tad bit too long recently (ooops) and I really don't want to demand too much of your time in one sitting.
Okay, so without further ado....
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BACKDROPS PART 1
As some of you know I recently prop styled a commercial shoot and - just as I do at home - my starting point was my backdrop. It's because a backdrop really sets the tone for your picture and can TOTALLY make or break a shoot. Now, I appreciate not everyone has got a big prop house with tons of backdrops a few tube stops away at their disposal, so here some ideas which you CAN recreate at home with ease.
Storage: easy/medium/a tad more complicated
Hey everyone! It's another fact filled blog post today, which I'll break into 3 sections for ease. Meaning that you can just skip to the bits that you're most interest in. Sound good?
Great, so in today's blog post I'll be talking a little more about some key food photography lessons I learned during my #InFranceWeCook workshop. You can find the corresponding blog post and all the photos taken during the workshop here AND you can also see a little behind-the-scenes video at the very bottom of this blog post :).
Secondly, I'm over the moon to tell you that I'll be co-hosting a food photography, yoga and creative gathering event in North Devon with Aimee from Twigg Studios and Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot. If you're interested to learn more and wish to join us then do read on ;).
Finally, I'll sharing today's vegan recipe which I developed together with Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot at her gorgeous South London home. Therefore, if you'd like just came for that, I suggest you scroll down to the very bottom of the blog post to find what you're looking for ;)
A few months ago I got a lovely invitation to spend a long weekend in a rustic farm house in the French countryside. The initial idea was to hang out and have some fun, but seeing that it was super talented Aimee T. from Twigg Studios asking, the lazy weekend concept was quickly ditched for a full blown food photography emersion workshop. See neither one of us could afford one of the luscious food photography retreats run by star bloggers, so we set out creating our very own little version of that on a shoestring :).
Furthermore we thought: What if we got a handful of other gifted women to join us who were all willing to share their specific knowledge and skill base, not for financial gain but instead for sheer pleasure! Wouldn't it be super empowering and a great opportunity to support one another at becoming the best that we can be creatively? So with that idea in mind we approached Aimee R. from Wallflower Kitchen a talented vegan baker and cookbook author, my sister Sumera an artist and singer who is developing her film making skills and Aoife, a wedding photographer with an eye for portrait photography and photo editing. Needless to say they all agreed to take part.
Me, wearing my Grace Apron from Thread & Whisk and feeling like a princess Linen napkins by Heal's
Hi everyone! If you're here to get the recipe for the vegan pistachio milk green smoothie which I created exclusively for Heal's then please head over to their blog where you'll find some more images of the recipe creation process as well. The smoothie recipe was put together to show off one of the gorgeous Mervyn Gers Bowls which they sell at their flagship store on Tottenham Court Road in Central London. As those of you who follow along on instagram know, I have been a massive fan of anything Mervyn Gers makes and so this collaboration felt like a match made in heaven.
I often get asked about where and how I source my food photography props so, as I'm not sharing a recipe on the blog today, I thought I'd take a little time out to talk you through where I get my food photography props from and how I choose them instead. I hope this will be of some help to you.
When first starting out....
1. Use what you've got.
When I first got into food blogging I just used the plates and bowls I had at home. It was a very cheap and easy way to get started and also helped me experience first hand why certain plates work better than others. For example, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the plates I used for my Spring pearl barley risotto recipe, but the simplicity of the plates let the food shine, which was all that was needed.
And whilst in South America I used these cute little bowls, which were the only ones I had to hand, to show off this easy vegan blackberry crumble. The bowls were mainly white, but had some simple detailing around the edges, which just worked for this particular shot. And - from my experience - it is simple plates and bowls like these that make a good recipe look great!
I am never sure how I come across on social media. If the person you envisage me to be, is anything like the person I really am. If you hear my voice in your mind the way it actually sounds (deep-ish, subtle American accent, that's gone a bit British – think Madonna in her Guy Richie days) or if you're totally off the mark ;). So in case it's not blatantly obvious – and just for your info - I am a social creature. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my own company and have no problems being alone, but I thrive mostly in social situations. Hence going from a busy office full of chatty, like-minded social workers to a quiet studio (AKA the guest bedroom) where I work in solitude has been an interesting change. I am extremely happy I followed my heart and moved into blogging/food photography/recipe development (you can read more about that change here), but that's not to say being on my own during the day hasn't required some getting used to.
Consequently, I relish any given opportunity to replace my hours of solitude with moments of chatter and laughter surrounded by talented, creative and lovely women. Women who are eager and open to share their special gift and unique talent with me (I feel so lucky!). Women whose generosity made today's blog post possible.
I love January! Sure it's cold and dark and I'm always short of cash, but there is something so fresh and promising about having the whole year ahead of me; it's what makes me January's biggest fan. You see, I feel the beginning of the year gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves, to dream of all the things that weren't possible the previous year and to make them happen this year. With that sense of hope in mind, I've been thinking loads about the direction of the blog for 2016. What do I want this space to be and how can I make it better still? That's not to say that I haven't been incredibly pleased and proud of what I've achieved in the last 12 months. I SO have, but I know that I haven't reached my destination yet and that I am STILL moving towards my own creative peek. So what does this mean for the blog in 2016 and what can you expect to find here over the coming year?
As those of you who have been reading the blog over the past few months know, I have been eager to make food blogging, recipe development, food writing and all that goes with it more than just a hobby. In order to achieve that I have spent the last few weeks trying to formulate what exactly it is I want to do and how I can ultimately fulfil my dream. To help me find my way I did a blogger collaboration with Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures a few weeks ago (I shall touch on that again at the end of today's blog post) and I also attended the food blogger connect conference. Both experiences were immensely useful in assisting me to thrush out my path in the food blogging world. But, I knew that something was still missing and that I had to add another little piece to the puzzle to make it complete.
If you've been following along on instagram, you know that I got REALLY lucky a few weeks ago cuz I got to share my kitchen with the sweet and super talented chef Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures. Not only has Ceri rubbed shoulders with Jamie Oliver (as you do!) and run a successful blog for more than 4 years, she also has a very non-dogmatic approach to healthy eating which resonated with me from the moment I stumbled across her blog.
Oddly enough, I first got to 'know' Ceri through instagram but only actually met her face-to-face in May of this year. How did it all come about? Well, Ceri mentioned in her ig feed that she was attending a food photography workshop just as I was at a point on my food blogging journey where I desperately needed some guidace and direction. Hence I gladly tagged along to the workshop and not only did I learn loads, I also got to meet Ceri in real life, which was a lovely added bonus.
Warning: This is yet another long post about food blogging. (Sorry I know I sound like a broken record). If foodie talk is not what you came for, just scroll down to the end of this blog post and you'll find the recipe. No offence taken.
Gosh so what am I on about this time? Well, to answer that question I need to take you back a few weeks to late June . It was the My New Roots Cookbook Supper Club, which I attended with two friends, one of whom knows me really well. Seeing this was a supper club hosted by gorgeous plant-based blogger Sarah Britton, it was impossible to escape food blogging talk. So when I was asked about my blog I mentioned nonchalantly that it was a lovely, pleasant hobby of mine, but certainly nothing else. My friend interrupted, looked me straight in the eye and said: 'But Kimberly, The Little Plantation means soooo much more to you than that.'
What? What was she talking about? I just shrugged it off at the time and thought nothing more of it.
WARNING: This is a long post mainly about food blogging, food styling and food photography whilst abroad. If that's not what you came for, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. I won't be offended ;).
As those of you who read the blog regularly know, I'm on a 6-week adventure this summer. My first stop gap was the beautiful island of Curaçao where I stayed for a week. Thereafter, my son and I continued our journey and headed to our second destination for the summer: Ecuador. Our first week was spend in Quito, the capital city where we stayed with numerous relatives and friends. It was a joy seeing my son run riot with his cousins, but I was starting to miss my time in the kitchen and the creative process of blogging.
During our second week in Ecuador, we moved further north to a small, ancient indigenous market town called Otavalo, which is where my husband is from and where we set up camp for 2 weeks. Throughout that period we stayed with my mother-in-law and for the first time during our travels I felt able to allow myself to dream of writing a blog post or two.
WARNING: This is another looooong blog entry, mainly about food photography and food styling. So if you're just here for the recipe – no offence taken – just scroll way down to the bottom of this post and you'll find what you're looking for :).
You still here? Great, cuz it's a blog post I've been feeling really excited about sharing with you. But first the backstory: I'm a complete total first born. I think as a first born you always feel responsible and you always want to make things better for everyone. So if someone comes to me and tells me their problem – I go into first born mode. I'm a sympathetic listener, sure, but mainly in the back of my head I'm thinking: OK, this person is upset/sad/frustrated, what can I do to make everything alright? How can I solve their problem and make them smile? Cuz that's what you do as a first born, you fall into that psydo parenting role, right? At least I do.
So what's that got to do with food photography? Well, loads actually. See this time around I was the one with the problem that needed fixing. I just got so bored of hearing myself moan about not knowing how to take good enough pictures (BTW I don't feel that way anymore, but at the time I did ;)). So, I thought about all the ways I could make things better and solve my problem. Ah! Attend a food photography and food styling workshop of course...
So here it is. My blogiversary. It's gone so quickly and - it might sound cliché but - it feels like only yesterday when I pressed the publish button and sent this vegan carrot cake out into the blogosphere.
I know that blogiversaries are supposed to be a time of joy, but as the the date drew nearer, I felt quite ambivalent about it all or, dare I say it, even slightly downcast. I'm a pretty upbeat, positive sorta person, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of overwhelming disappointment. All this work that I put into the blog and I had nothing to show for it. No thousands of instagram followers (What did I read the other week? Someone got 72,000 in their first year?!), no million blog hits a week (Yes, someone else mentioned that staggering figure on social media just a few days ago. Amazing stuff, right?) and nothing exciting on twitter either (I don't even get that platform, do you?). So I turned to my husband and asked him if I should just call it a day and stop blogging.
''La vida no es como deberia ser, sino como es.'' - Facundo Cabral (1937 - 2011)
''Life is not as it should be but as it is.'' - Facundo Cabral (1937- 2011)
I had it all planned. So perfect. So organised. Thinking I was being really clever, I prepared 2-3 dishes for the blog in advance several weeks ago. I photographed and edited them, then stored them away in a file titled 'rainy day reserves'.
That rainy day came this week. It came with a vengence; you see it is getting colder, darker and well... rainier so finding the right lighting for my photoshoots has been quite hard. In addition, my son is off school, my husband is away on a business trip and consequently photographing and styling fresh material for the blog is completely impossible (I tried it in the past, but 4.5 year olds and food photography do not pair well;)).