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Thursday 19 August 2010

Food Photography & Styling Workshop by Alastair Hendy

I have always been a fan of Alastair Hendy, and enjoyed his food writing and photography in books such as Food and Travels: Asia and more recently Homecook. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Embassy of Ireland in Grosvenor Place for a Food Photography and Styling Workshop sponsored by the Irish Food Board "Bord Bia".

Bord Bia was established in 1994 and has since then promoted links between Irish food and drinks suppliers and their potential or actual customers worldwide. For this event, Bord Bia assembled a good spread of Irish produce to be photographed by us at the Embassy.

One of these products was "Ballymaloe Country Relish", a delicious and spicy tomato conserve with raisins which is the perfect accompaniment for cheeses, cold meats and pork pies. It brought back wonderful memories of my visit to Ballymaloe House and Cookery School in County Cork a few years ago.

Having been photographing food for a year now for this blog, I thought I had some idea of what I was doing. The workshop shook me out of my complacency with the realisation that the techniques of the professional photographer conceal art within art.

Alastair made me think about structuring what for me can be a very haphazard activity. I learnt that giving a little thought to what I am shooting and trying to convey will help me tell a coherent story. The use of props and natural light was also discussed as well as other technical aspects I had not given proper weight to.

I would not say that I left the building that evening a better photographer. I realised however that a good food photographer will need more than just enthusiasm and a little creative flair, and that some basic techniques certainly help a great deal.

Thanks to the Embassy of Ireland, Bord Bia and Alastair Hendy for a very interesting and enlightening evening.


  1. Would have loved to be so lucky to attend this event! The photos look great Luiz! Photography is such a passion of mine but I have never been formally trained. Considering natural lighting and props is such an art in itself. Very exciting!! And thank you for introducing us to Alastair Hendy who have booked to eat at our supper club! yay!! ; )

  2. Bummed I missed this event, it would have been great to get some food photography tips!

  3. @ Fernandez and Leluu - my pleasure Uyen! I enjoyed meeting Alastair, he was charming and very unassuming. I have used his book Food and Travels: Asia for a few years now and love the photography in that book.

    @ Winesleuth - not that you need Denise, your photography is so great.

  4. you know when they may have the next one on? Or another food photography/styling workshop in London?


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