Montréal almost feels like a neighboring city – it’s hardly further than Vermont from Boston, and it’s always been on the list of possible roadtrips from here, but for some reason, Alex and I never made it that far – yet. It sat on a long list of weekend trips to take, so when I was chatting with my dear, talented friend Sophie of The Green Life awhile ago about a possible food photography workshop, and the fact that she is from Montréal, we thought, an urban food photography workshop would be so intriguing to host. Thinking back, most of my previous workshops took place in a beautiful secluded area, with abundant nature and tranquility (like this Gradara, Italy one and New Hampshire one), and I loved doing those, but the thought of hosting a workshop in the heart of an upcoming neighborhood in a beautifully renovated building was tempting. So we did it. We sold out in less than two weeks – thank you all for your support! It was an amazing weekend – I returned home inspired by everyone there, and warm with the thought of all the friendships and connections we made. We spent the days learning, styling, and photographing, and then the evenings after dinner sitting around with mugs of tea or coffee, just chatting. Those are my favorite moments – the quiet, uncharted moments where spontaneous conversations flow, and we learn more about each other. A huge thanks to our amazing group of attendees, who honestly make these workshops such great experiences!!!
We stayed in this beautiful historical building that was recently renovated – the decor was amazing and modern, with glorious white walls and large windows for us to use. We definitely utilized those white walls, but one of my favorite styling sessions was transforming that space from white-wall-bright to dark and moody, with soft light in spite of the direct light coming in :). With two clips, black fabric, and a board, a whole new vignette was created.
All of our incredible food was cooked by Julie, a super talented chef who made gluten free and vegan food taste AMAZING. I went home dreaming of her sweet potato stuffed chickpea chili, pumpkin marscapone and gingersnap trifles, avocado and ricotta toast with mustard and caraway roasted vegetables, and so much more. Oh, those cardmom poached pears and chocolate buckwheat granola and mulled wine… A huge thanks to this amazing lady, who made it possible for Sophie and I to lead and teach photography sessions.
We welcomed everyone to our urban oasis, and it was a perfect fall day – crisp, chill, but not bitingly cold or windy. Crunchy leaves littered the ground, and bare branches began to peak out against the sky. The first day is meant for gathering – for convivial conversations and serendipitous connections. We sit down for a meal, beautifully detailed by brown parcel press, who created these gorgeous letterpress menus for us, cooked by Julie.
This was a packed day, with lessons, demonstrations, and picnics. The next morning, we woke up bright early for breakfast and an immediately lesson on the basic camera settings – everything one needed to know to figure out ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Sometimes, studying them individually can help make sense of it all – and then applying them practically, we photographed many still lifes. For lunch, we had avocado and ricotta toast with roast vegetables outside! We were hoping we could have one meal al fresco, and the weather obliged us – Julie set up a beautiful picnic scene outside with cozy blankets and pillows. Of course, it took awhile for us to actually sit down and eat, because everyone took about a million photos (me included :)). More styling and photography sessions followed, and then a seasonal meal of comfortable sweet potato and chickpea chili.
We took yesterday’s dessert – cardamom poached pears with chocolate buckwheat granola – and replated so that we could practice plating and photographing desert.
And then, of course, we whipped out the black fabric and created an impromptu setup to get that dark, dramatic, yet soft and moody atmosphere that I so love.
We took a break then, because we’d been photographing all day. Julie made a delicious warm mulled wine – which of course meant that we all had to take photos of the beautifully magenta wine – and then retired indoors for dinner.
On the last day, we started breakfast with the quintessential Montréal bagels with cream cheese and salad. Then, our attendees gathered their own chosen props and backdrops and, in groups, styled their own vignette. This is a food photography workshop – and while I love doing styling demonstrations and it’s helpful to talk through my process, I love seeing that click when they begin to style scenes themselves – to start applying what they’ve learned in real time. I always love seeing what they come up with, and it’s amazing to see them trust their instincts, to realize that they know more about their own style than they had though. Everyone cane up with distinctive vignettes and edited the photos in their own style.
As always, a huge thanks to our many amazing sponsors who made this food photography workshop possible.
THANK YOU TO:
staub mini cocottes
boston general store tea strainers
brown parcel press “Wild” 2016 letterpress calendar, menus, and postcards
Smith Tea Maker: tea for every attendee and for drinking
Made by Objective: gray napkin for attendees, and aprons + linens
Oatbox: granola and other goods
Looks Like White: ceramics
Created and Found: beeswax candles for attendees, & raw edge board for styling
BKind: vegan hand cream sample + biodegradable toothbrush
Dans le sac: reusable cotton bread bags
Prune Les Fleurs: florals
De Mello Palheta: coffee beans for usage during the workshop
Erickson Woodworks: beautiful boards to use for styling
La Mariée Bohème | rustic tables, vintage flatware and glasses
and of course, to the best partner I could ask for, Sophie, and the most amazing chef, Julie