—in light of recent events in Napa and the surrounding areas, sending love and support to all those affected by the fires. Please consider donating to he relief efforts. Here are some ways you can help–
A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of hosting a food photography workshop in Napa, California. I, along with my co-host, Bella, hosted 13 attendees from all over the country for a long weekend of learning, photography, and, of course, food.
This workshop was one for the books. The location was the most stunning home I have ever been in. I still can’t believe how perfect of a backdrop it was. The food, made by Bella’s friend Matt, was incredible and so fresh. And the attendees were fantastic- so eager to learn and so, so talented.
So without further adieu, a little recap from our week together…
Situated on a hilltop overlooking acres of vineyards, the workshop house could not have been more picturesque. From breakfast in the sunroom to dinners by the pool house, this house was to die for.
After settling in, we partook in our first shoot together: a stunning sheet of roasted grapes with fresh figs, burrata, and a fennel-infused olive oil. Bella and I walked the attendees through our process of positioning ingredients in an eye-pleasing way, and talked about basic camera settings.
After a quick bite, we headed to Harvest Table, a Charlie Palmer restaurant located minutes from our house. We walked around the entire Harvest Inn property, studded by with tens of unique buildings for guests to stay in, as well as a vegetable garden, sculpture garden, and entertaining area perfect for weddings.
Oh, and the entire property overlooked a vineyard. I mean, duh.
And then we ate dinner. This dinner, guys. They treated us to a five course meal fit for a Queen. A deconstructed beet salad. Crispy pork belly. Trout over black lentils and a creamy curry. A melt-in-your-mouth steak with potato pave. And, of course, wine.
We ended the night on a high. It was the perfect beginning to our weekend together. Next time you’re in Napa, be sure to make a reservation at Harvest Table.
On day 2 we ate an insane savory bread pudding made by Chef Matt before sitting down to our first classroom session. I taught the attendees about the composition, perspective, and finding the best angles for your food photos.
We then made our way down to the pool house, where I walked the attendees through a cheese board styling session. The California produce of grapes, pears, and figs made for a sensational summer cheese board. And of course we paired the cheese board with some wine- Hogwash Rosé, to be exact. Which is my new favorite. Clean and crisp, but still super flavorful without being dry.
We created a picnic shoot with some of the remaining bottles to teach the attendees about product styling. I just love how the photos turned out.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in one-on-ones with our attendees, where we were able to talk out specific questions that each attendee had. It was a great way to connect with everyone on a personal level, and get to really hone in on each individual’s goals.
That evening Chef Matt treated us all to a fantastic meal made on an open grill at the southern end of the property. We talked about styling a tablescape and, once we ate some delicious food, got into some marketing questions about how to grow your business.
We began our next morning with another classroom session, this time on light, color, and finding your voice. We split into small groups, created mood boards for our brands, and shared our visual thought process with our group. It was my favorite part of the weekend, because I got to see each attendee’s #photogoals and the epitome of their visual voice.
Of course we had to take advantage of the wood-fired pizza oven on the property. So for lunch, Chef Matt made the most delicious homemade pizza dough, which we each used to style personal pizzas. And, before digging into them, we got some awesome shots.
For our final classroom session Bella and I walked through our editing processes in Lightroom, then after a quick snack break I did a lecture on how to market yourself to brands.
That evening we had yet another delicious dinner, and sat around the table for hours after the food was gone enjoying each others’ company and sharing our frustrations, desires, and dreams. It was a perfect way to close out our time together.
I cannot get over how magical the entire weekend was. From the food to the location to the company shared, this workshop was truly special.
And for those of you asking, I’m currently planning another workshop in January, but for the life of me can’t find a great house that will host 12-16 people. I’m also totally open to where it would be– Charleston? Austin? LA? Let me know! And if you’d like to get on the list for my next workshop, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to our email list!