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Sweet Paul Workshop NYC

Since Lorna’s unforgettable French experience last autumn taking part in a residential food styling & photography workshop hosted by Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille I have been on the lookout for something for myself.  So recently when flipping through Sweet Paul magazine I spotted that Sweet Paul would be hosting a workshop in downtown Manhattan, just a short hop on the subway, I was thrilled as I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now.  The workshop was held at the TriBeCa shooting kitchen, which is a chefs kitchen and daylight studio specifically designed and equipped for food shoots.

Before the class began we helped ourselves to breakfast, the addition of a fantastic sauerkraut in the usual NY line up of bagels, lox and cream cheese not going unnoticed… as it turned out the chef cooking for the workshop that day was the pickling and canning expert Michaela Hayes, from Crock and Jar. I have to admit to a slight fear of canning and pickling, although I’ve always wanted to give it a try, so now I know that Michaela runs a workshop of her own I’ll be on the lookout for her posting new workshop dates!

As you can see from the photos, Sweet Paul took us through all aspects of setting up a story for the magazine. We watched the cooking preparation, prop selection, setting up of the shot, the photographing, how Paul chooses his final images, and all along the way we were given tricks, tips and suggestions for improving our images.

It turned out my subway ride was by far the shortest journey of any of the people attending. On the way up in the elevator I met two lovely food stylists both from Florida, followed closely by Melissa from My Sweet Remedy (who also co-authors a food blog with her sister), who had made the trip from Montreal, and Denise who works with Occasions Caterers in from Washington DC. One of the great things about these workshops has to be getting to meet all the other attendees who have a shared passion, everyone was incredibly friendly and it was so interesting to hear about their backgrounds. Three of the other attendees were also food bloggers, two both just starting out (too new to have sites), and the third was Gina Homolka of Skinny Taste whose blog featuring healthy low-fat, family friendly recipes is very popular and has been around since 2008. Rounding off the group were business partners, Susan Gibbs from Juniper Moon Farm (which is such a cool site and has a LambCam so you can watch the sheep!!) and Jeannie Martini, who are in the process of launching an online magazine of their very own.

I can’t say enough about how much you can learn just from watching really talented people do what they do. Paul made selecting his props and setting up his shots look so effortless whilst talking us through every detail. I was so impressed by his creativity and his generosity in sharing his wealth of experience with us. The same can definitely be said of Colin Cooke, our photographer for the day, just watching him go through the process whilst bombarding him with a ton of questions really helped me to understand his workflow. His assistant also gave me some great Lightroom tips – so thank you to both of them. I left the workshop fully inspired, having learnt many new things, and I’m also now anticipating what is likely to be an expensive trip to B&H – my local photographic superstore!!

So that about wraps things up for this post other than to say a final thank you to all the people I met on Saturday. I hope to bump into some of you again one day soon and wish you the best of luck for all your future projects. For those Green Figs and Ham readers who are now grinding their teeth and exclaiming “but where are the recipes” (you know who you are!) cooking will resume soon, I promise! – Melani

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Margie Kane - The workshop was amazing and it was a pleasure getting to meet you. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog since then.

Sarah (Thyme) - See! I still can’t leave your blog…the NYC photographers workshop now has me reading all about it. One day….I’m going to get to one of these workshops.

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