Club Med’s food blogger camp is in full swing with dynamic and highly informative workshops in an amazing tropical setting. A group of food bloggers from all around the world gathered in daily workshops super-charged with information rich content to better our blogs by some of the communities leading bloggers.
Michael and Donna Ruhlman from Ruhlman.com
Sunday’s workshop with Michael and Donna Ruhlman included an intimate and engaging discussion for aspiring writers and photographers. Michael has written a series of highly successful food related books and Donna has been a photojournalist since 1982. Some valuable tips that this dynamic husband and wife team shared with the group were:
- To better your writing skills, you need to practice, practice and practice. Commit yourself to set aside writing time, a little bit every day.
- Start small and give yourself short writing project. For example, set aside 2 hours a day and work on a 350 word piece. Train your brain to write a little bit every night. Make it a daily routine.
- Time management is of the utmost importance. Turn off the email and remove yourself from other distractions like Facebook and Twitter so that you can purely focus on your writing.
- It’s important to not just write about yourself, but to reach out to other people. Write about the people around you and become part of a community. Giving more of yourself to helping others is the greatest reward and that’s in return will pay back in many ways.
- Michael was extremely encouraging about the future of writing and the continued possibilities in making money in writing.
- Photograph every day and focus on simple, single subjects. Then graduate to photographing multiple elements in a photo. Sometimes less is more.
- Make time to understand lighting and again, start simple with one light source, then gravitate to adding more light sources when you need it. For example, Donna loves the simple set up of back lighting and then adding a bounce in front of your subject if needed.
Professional food stylist, Adam Pearson
Monday’s workshop with Adam Pearson, a professional food stylist, focused on some really unique techniques and tricks used to create some of the most stunning food shots. Adam gave a wonderful and fascinating discussion about current trends in current food styling techniques vs. old world food styling techniques. Food styling now is gravitating toward using real, edible, delicious and attainable food, rather than food made to look real by using motor oil or other non-edible stand-ins.
Above: Adam demonstrating building a pasta plate. He cuts pasta to show the pretty ends of the pasta for more texture.
Below: Adam twirls pasta around a fork to create swirls of noodles for get more movement on the plate
Adam gave a big shout-out to food bloggers for photographing real food for our blogs. Because of food bloggers showing real food coming from real kitchens, this standard practice has encouraged the styling world to re-consider using fake and non-edible products for their food shots. Yay! Go Adam! Here are some more tips he shared:
- When photographing a dish, focus on some of the individual ingredients, highlight them and try to show them looking their best.
- Don’t be intimidated by the food, take control of the food. Be confident with your food so you can manipulate it and control it to do what you want.
- Using the patina off of old wood, dough board or cutting boards adds great texture to a food shot.
- Don’t be afraid to use old pieces with new pieces of dishes. Mixing vintage and new pieces in a photo adds interest.
- Build your plate in small portions and small scale. Use smaller plates (about 8 inch diameter or smaller) or smaller glasses.
- Stack your plates to add height and interest to the photo. Use parchment paper or linens underneath to add movement to the photo.
- Build your plate to add height by using cut pieces of sponges underneath.
- When working with sauce dishes, don’t drown the food in the sauce. Lightly dress it, then ladle in the sauce a little bit at a time with spoon.
- When garnishing with herbs, turn the leaf upside down. The veins underneath have beautiful texture.
- Shooting with red wine can be dark and add a black hole in your picture. Start with water and slowly add wine in until it looks good in your lighting.
- Use toothpics to hold food in place and to build the food higher.
Above: Adam demonstrates using toothpics to hold food in place during his sandwich-building demonstration. He folds the deli meat to achieve height and movement in the sandwich, which gives visual appeal.
Above: Everyone learning and having a great time!
Above: Final sandwich, showing the height, movement and visual interest of the sandwich.
That’s it for today! Tomorrow we’ll share what Matt’s discussion on food photography!