Thursday, 13 February 2014

LEITHS Food Styling session 3 with Jennifer Joyce

Despite the tube strikes, I managed to make it to my third food styling session, in which we met our second tutor, Jennifer Joyce. Jennifer is a food writer, author and stylist, who has worked for the likes of BBC Good Food, Olive and Elle Decoration. She has written several cook books including 'Skinny Meals in Heels' (her latest), 'Small Bites' and 'The well dressed salad', so she knows what she's talking about!

During this session, Jennifer spoke to us about the importance of props, and how they can make or break an image. They tell a story, and can mean the difference between an amateur and professional looking image. She gave us loads of great ideas for things that you might not think to use as a prop, such as shooting food on newspaper (may work for a rustic/authentic look) or using old rice bags if you are maybe shooting an Asian dish. So I'm off to scour the charity shops of London for props over the weekend!

The prop table- lots of lovely things!

Gorgeous blue plate selection- mix up old plates with new ones in the same colour scheme for an updated, together look.

Jennifer then gave us a few demonstration on styling some lamb kebabs and couscous, pasta, an Asian noodle salad, some dip, some soup and a chocolate mousse. These were all done in a matter of minutes, whilst we all watched on in awe! It was great to see her work and hear her little tricks and tips. Here are a few photos from the session that totally don't do the food justice, but at least they give you an idea of what she was doing:

A gorgeous spaghetti with pine nuts, herbs and chilli- how lovely and rustic does this look?

Asian noodle salad and dressing- love these colours. Apparently there's a trend at the moment for serving salads in trays like this.

Dip served on a plate (never a bowl)- love the touch of charring the bread slightly.

Soup- Jennifer takes different sized bottles and tubes to shoots for doing swirls like this with dressings and cream. 

My favourite photo of the evening- this was put together with an originally rather nasty looking packet chocolate mousse! I think it's amazing how the blue plate makes the food 'pop' so much, and I love the touch of the swept away spoonful.  

Had to add this one in too- look at all those lovely saucepans!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

LEITHS Food Styling session 2 with Katy Greenwood and Stuart Ovenden

For the second session of the Leiths Food styling course, we were joined by Food and Lifestyle photographer Stuart Ovenden ( . This was really exciting for me as I knew his work before I found out he was going to be working with us on the course, so that was really an added bonus.

Example of Stuart Ovenden's work
Stuart gave us a useful insight into how everything works and comes together on a shoot, as well as some tips for our own home photography, such as lighting tricks. We also spoke about our final shoot, which he will be photographing at the beginning of March. His advice was to keep it simple and don't try and be too clever. In the past, things like cakes and tarts have worked really well aparently, as you can make them before hand, which takes a bit of pressure off. 

So I am now thinking about what I might like to make for my final image. I definitely want to do something colourful, as I love colourful, eye-catching images. My initial thinking is a lemon tart if I go down the sweet route; or some kind of fresh and zingy thai salad if I got down the savoury.    

Monday, 3 February 2014

Background-Art work

I did my Degree in Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art, where I made work based around ideas of luxury, often using food. During this time, I realised that I wasn't really into the conceptual and philosophical art work that a lot of my peers were making. I didn't want to read or hear about why I should find a white canvas or whatever it was, interesting. I simply didn't get it.

I suppose I'm a very visual person. I like things that look nice, I like colours and smooth silhouettes and shapes. When thinking about making work, I think of what I'd like to see myself, and what other people would like to see too. I want to create beautiful image or object, and I also want to create something that your Average Joe will 'get'. It's important to me that I can show it to my Family, and they will like it, or at least understand what it is, without me having to explain it.

So here's a few photos of the kind of thing I have made. You can see my full portfolio and some of the films on my artist website, here:

'Scoop', still from a video

'Glaze', video, presented on a billboard at my Degree show

Fondue Series, with fairy liquid

A test photograph
Playing around with jelly moulds....

Still from 'Glaze' video

Still from 'Glaze' video

Saturday, 1 February 2014

LEITHS Food Styling Course

I've been meaning to write about the start of my Food Styling course for 2 weeks now, but I've been so busy at work, I haven't had a chance. So this post is coming to you a little late, but I'll try and be more on the ball for the next sessions.

So the Food Styling course at Leiths School of Food and Wine, is a six week evening and weekend course aimed at people who want to know more about how to make food look good, and who are interested in doing it as a career. Usually the course is run by Jennifer Joyce and Sarah Cook, but we were notified that Sarah Cook was unable to take the course this time, and so Katy Greenwood took over in her absence.

The first session was taken by Katy, a renowned home economist, food stylist and writer, who has worked for the likes of Jamie magazine, Olive, Waitrose Kitchen and Good food. Here's a link to her website:

We started by looking at some very retro 70's cookery magazines, and we chatted about how food styling has changed over the years. It used to be hugely influenced by America, and looked fake rather than real. Today it is more influenced by Australia and Donna Hay apparently, with the emphasis being on fresh food, that looks delicious and achievable.

Katy explained to us what a food stylist actually does, the different types of food styling (editorial, advertising, television and photography), and the key attributes for a food stylist. She also told us useful things like where she shops, and how to create an invoice for a job. We then did a fun practical task in pairs, where we got given a microwave meal, and we had to try and style the product to make it look like it did on the packet (not easy!).

All in all, the first session was great. I loved  hearing Katy talk about her work and experiences, and I'm so envious of her amazing job! The session certainly made me think even more that this is what I'd like to do as a career, as it's the perfect outlet for a creative person like myself, with a love of food. My next step is to try and balance getting assisting work with my full-time job- not easy, but I'm certainly going to give it a try. I've been in contact with a few food stylists recently, so fingers crossed!