I started looking at food blogs a couple of years ago. Since then, they have literally exploded across the internet. The variety is staggering, ranging from the slightly underwhelming ‘This is where I went to dinner last night, and this is what I ate’ type, to the highly professional visual feast. All of them have one thing in common: food photography.
There are some great examples showcasing interesting design, fabulous recipes and truly excellent photography – we all have our favourites. And, it has to be said, there are some pretty dismal examples – badly written, with blurred, orange-tinted pictures of someone else’s distinctly unexciting lunch!
I’m a professional photographer, and have spent all my working life as one, specialising in the fields of interiors, food, lifestyle & travel (or ‘never had a proper job’ according to my dear old Mum!). Over the past 30 odd years I have been lucky enough to have visited many countries, taken photographs in some truly amazing locations, met and photographed many fascinating people, including such food heroes as Fergus Henderson of ‘St. John’s’ fame, Michel Troisgros in Roanne, Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire, and have enjoyed a ten year relationship with the great Michel Guerard, shooting regularly for his ‘empire’ at Eugenie-les-Bains in South West France, and, along the way, eaten and photographed some delicious food.
I was born in England, but a large percentage of my life has been spent living abroad. Five years in Madrid, five in Andalucia, and around ten in Gascony in South West France.
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time working with my great friend, Kate Hill who runs cookery and butchery workshops at her lovely canal-side farm, Camont (www.kitchen-at-camont.com). We’ve been working on various projects about the food and the food producers of our beloved Gascony. I am never happier than when collaborating with her.
Last year we ran several successful food photography workshops at Kate’s home, under the banner of ‘Clinch-Hill’ (one of our ‘students’ winning the prize for US Saveur magazines ‘Summer Produce’ photography competition) and this got me thinking. I’d recently done a shoot updating my friends Sam & Jeannie Chesterton’s website for their wonderful B&B and cookery school, Finca Buenvino (www.fincabuenvino.com). I spent a couple of days after the shoot with them, visiting the local villages, eating (and drinking!) the local produce. It was then that I had one of those lightbulb moments and thought…Why don’t we do the workshops here as well? Luckily for me, it turned out they were thinking the same.
And so ‘NATURAL LIGHT-NATURAL FOOD’ was born.
Sitting under a chestnut tree, glass of fino in my hand and looking out over the Sierra de Aracena, my dream of working with people I love and admire, in the two parts of the world I love most of all seemed a jolly good idea!
The aim of the workshops is to show people that, with a minimum amount of fuss and a good dollop of experienced advice, their photography skills can be improved a hundred-fold. All this whilst having a great time in a fantastic part of the world. It sounded good to me!
NATURAL LIGHT-NATURAL FOOD is not a ‘quick-fix’. There are plenty of excellent half day courses out there for that. Rather, this is a complete re-working of how to approach your photography. Crucially, I work, 99% of the time, with natural light. I’ll show you how that light can be your friend, not something to be scared of. How to use reflectors, diffusers and flags to improve your images. How to use ‘depth of field’ to add impact to your images, and how to use some ‘tricks of the trade’ to enliven your composition. Simple things, like colour-correcting your images, which will make so much difference. All of this is achieved with two top-class cooks and stylists on hand to make wonderful, natural, local food for you to photograph…and then eat!
We will also focus on the complex issues of building a portfolio and editing, something so many people stumble over. Every evening, over a glass or two of wine, we will have a feedback session, going over the pictures we shot that day and discussing how to use them. How many? Which picture goes with which? Would this look good in black & white? Enormously important skills to learn.
Make no mistake, you will be thrown in at the deep-end! Surrounded by things to shoot and by stunningly beautiful countryside, we will immerse you in a food-lover’s paradise.
If you’re looking to improve your basic skills, we can do help you achieve that. If you’re looking for styling ideas, both locations are positive treasure troves. And if you’re looking to build a portfolio, there will be ample opportunity for real advances. In our trips out to local markets and our visits to food producers there will be time to explore the possibilities of building real stories with your work, supported by good, sound, and, above all, experienced professional advice.
So…France or Spain?…Fino or Armagnac? prunes or olives? foie gras or jamon de Jabugo?… The choice is yours.
For more information check out our website
and to see more of my work, please visit my website
and my blog
and you can see a gallery of chefs, and portraits in professional kitchens here
Twitter name: @clinchpics