An update on the photography virtual workshop I'm participating in

'Shoot subject two ways'
'Shoot subject two ways'

In May I wrote about signing up for the Creative Process Virtual Workshop given by Eva Kosmas Flores and Bea Lubas. You can find the post here. Sunday will be our third roundtable, where will be discussing assignment three, which is searching for inspiration in unusual places. A corner of the garden, a magazine cover, packaging, a feather, a feeling… you get the picture by now. 

For me finding inspiration has never been a problem. My problem was always pinpointing which of the million ideas in my head I’d go with. When you see inspiration everywhere it can be overwhelming, and make it difficult to make choices. This is something I’ve struggled with when styling for still life and food photography. During the roundtable with the #CPWorkshop2021 we discussed planning and preparation, which included creating a Master Plan for your photoshoots. This is the point where I realized I needed to find a process for pinpointing what I’d be shooting, and what it would require. This is when I also discovered that I needed to approach this similarly to the way I would advise engaged couples to approach their wedding planning. I once wrote a guide for planning your wedding, and one of the sections was specifically for Pinterest.

My inspiration was the blooming rhododendrons at my favorite place in Rotterdam, Trompenburg, Gardens and Arboretum.

I knew instantly that I wanted to shoot something with pops of color in the background. I had ideas of a full floral installation in my little ‘studio’ corner of our flat, but that wasn’t really doable for a hobby shoot, and assignment so I considered an outdoor shoot. I started with my styling master plan. 

  • What could my subject be? What works with what I have without going shopping (again)? Pudding jars, cake, drinks… the ideas came flooding in. We have too much yogurt that needs to be used up, and pomegranates —use that.
  • What could help me get those floral pops with greenery? A floral installation, hanging flowers, outdoor shoot, garden flowers filling the entire frame, or partially? Shoot on moss? To do: check the floral shop for something interesting. 
  • Do I want wood as a surface? Yes. Do I have anything that resembles the wood I’m thinking of? No. Can I get it in time? No. What about white? The colors will really pop. Ok then, white. To do: test white surface combinations with the pomegranates and some greenery in test shots.
  • Layout? Layers in the jars, so shoot from the front, and at an angle. Flat lay? Sure, but just for the ingredients and mood, not the hero. 
  • Props? The jars obviously. Bowls, fabric, plates for layering, something to give the jars height.


… and so on.

I write down everything I start to envision, and create a list of what I’ll need to shoot it. Eventually I come up with my shot, prop, styling and ingredient lists. Then comes the master plan for the photoshoot that we learned about in the workshop.

I learned from this that no matter that the surface is made from vinyl, and not really chipped paint it still gives the appearance of preparing food on what could be toxic. I'll keep this in mind with future shoots.
I found that the jar on the surface was too small to be the hero, so I added layers underneath (next photo).
I like it better raised up on the plates. What do you prefer?

The workshop ****

I’m really liking the workshop so far, and well it’s already almost over. The community on Facebook (the only reason I created an account) has been very supportive. The instructors aren’t really involved online, but for a few comments on the FB page, with the exception of the roundtables.  I had hoped to get some feedback from them, but am very grateful for the feedback from within the community.

The assignments aren’t mandatory, and you set your own schedule, which is good. I however very much crave commentary from the instructors, so I need to find a workshop, or course that provides that—as scary as that is! Which is so weird because I place my photos on Unsplash and  Pexels where they get 21 million views a month on average and what do you think? I hesitate sharing them with my peers in a private Facebook group! I was literally shaking when I posted my ‘subject two ways’ assignment.

I wish the workshop wasn’t almost over already! I’d definitely take it again, and recommend it. The videos provided in the workshop are very helpful, something I’ll revisit to keep learning from. The FB group is also so inspiring, and I’m following so many creative like-minded people on IG that are also participating in the workshop. Hopefully one day I’ll have the courage to visit a real life workshop. Just considering going to one already feels like a win. I think I’ve found my creative outlet. I called myself a food photographer yesterday, and thought ‘oh wow, I am’. I had never even called myself a photographer before yesterday. 🙂

That's it for now, thanks for visiting.