I just finished up attending a food photography workshop with Betty Liu in New York City. I’m pretty jazzed about it for quite a few reasons.
I’m jazzed that it lived up to my pretty high expectations – workshops aren’t going to change your life but you hope that you’re going to walk away with a new way of looking at things.
And that’s exactly what happened.
I realized I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, that I’ve been creating images that all kind of have a similar feel – which you could argue is a certain style and I hear you but Betty Liu reminded me that your work should change from one year to the next. It’s been about a year since my last workshop I took with Beth Kirby of Local Milk –after which my work changed so much (for the better). Beth taught me how to style, she taught me about movement and space and beauty within a scene. So I had a feeling this weekend's workshop was the exact kick of inspiration that I needed.
More than anything, Betty's workshop helped me with my approach to light. I’m excited to start shooting (and toning!) up the images with this new approach. What was super cool about the workshop – and about these images – is that they’re mine. It wasn't just a beautiful scene that was set for us and we got to shoot but is still so clearly identifiable as another photographer and they're impossible for me to recreate. I wasn't looking for that at this stage - though many workshops offer that and I'm not knocking it, it's just not what I need. But I feel comfortable sharing these because these were mine. Mine. I styled, I shot, I toned. Mine. BUT – I got to grab Betty and say, ͞heyyy, here’s what I’m thinking, can you help?? And she did – we worked through shooting and styling and toning together but seeing it through the lens as a Libby photo, not a Betty photo.
So yeah, while I loved watching her style and work, it was way more valuable at this point in my development to work with her. It was awesome. And it’s lessons I can take with me far past the weekend, which is even better! We were fed and loved on by @arthurstreetkitchen and @whatscookingoodlooking_ who were gracious and kind and lovely and kept us very well-fed with super yummy and nutritious food that also, conveniently, photographed perfectly.
So the learning was fantastic, the food was beyond (they accommodated all my dairy-free, gluten-free mania) and as an added bonus, there was a general warmth to the day that I wasn’t expecting. There was honest-to-goodness kindness and warmth and authenticity from the lovely other participants to Jodi and Hetty to Betty. You really felt how much Betty liked teaching and connecting – and that was the ice cream on the apple pie we dove into at the end of the night!