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Sharing My work, My Passion: Los Angeles Photography Workshop…


As soon as I turned the key in the door, I could not help myself and let a corny "Honey, I’m home!" only to be met by my other two honeys…the pups. Then I remembered, B. had probably gone from his day job to a music job. He would not be home until after 11pm. I had plenty of time to chill, unpack, do laundry, snuggle with the pups and find my place back home after this past week in Los Angeles.

This has been our rhythm since May that Plate To Pixel, the book I wrote on food photography was released (went in second printing in July y’all!). With his schedule of day work and music keeping him busy late into the night at least five days a week, and mine of shoots, on location or at the studio, made it really easy to take the decision to travel as much as I have this past Summer and Fall. Whether for a shoot or for a workshop, I was pretty much following an average pattern of 8 days gone – 10 days home. Up until now…

Culver Hotel - Culver City CA

My schedule so far indicates that most of my shoots will be on locations relatively near or at my studio. So far. I think. Unless an out of town gig comes up, of course.
But right now, the suitcase has been shoved to the back of my closet and everyone is finding their groove again. I am happily taking the time to comb through messages and emails, making plans for friends and family for evenings and weekends.

I am also planning my parents' arrival for Christmas and the leisurely trip they want to take to DC and New York with us. Train. Walks. Restaurants. Museums. Another kind of trip. I can’t wait to be in the kitchen with my mom and cook our favorite comfort foods for the holidays, make care packages and drop them off to friends together.

But before this and the next recipe I have simmering on the stove as we speak, I wanted to leave you with some pictures of this last workshop I held in L.A this past weekend.

Culver Hotel - Culver City CA

I have a soft spot for L.A. I love that city. In all its contradictions. It may be spread out and intense with people and buzz, the lack of skyscrapers is of major appeal to me. I don’t walk the streets looking for the famous pretty face. I listen carefully hoping I’d catch the ghost of Myrna Loy or Jimmy Stewart. I know…L.A is much more than the movies. I discover that everyday. So many great cultures migling at once.

I loved staying at the Culver Hotel this time. It was cozy, within walking distance of great restaurants, full of history and with live Jazz almost every night. Great cocktails too. The lovely room, staff and general atmosphere combined with the chance to catch up with friends such as Carrie, Jenny, Cathy, Andrew and Matty (not all at once) over cocktails or dinner gave the trip a bit of a homey feel I love so much.


With Carrie and Jenny.

The great part is that I had this much fun and good feel during the workshop. Those three days teaching were jam packed and went by so fast! It was intense but everyone had a lot of fun at the same time. I loved how everyone in the group tackled each exercise and obstacle with such fierceness and determination!

Hope you enjoy this little recap through pictures…

Studio Chair

The workshop was partly at LightSpace Studio in Culver City. Loved the decor there.

Helene - L.A Workshop November 2011

First day demonstrating overhead shooting. Picture courtesy of Liren Baker at Kitchen Confidante. The lovely Micah was my assistant for the weekend.

Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

The kitchen and prep area at the studio on day one.

Liren - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

Liren practicing some of the lighting techniques discussed in the workshop.

Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

Students at work…focused and intense…


The second day of the workshop was held at Hollywood Sierra Kitchens where the attendees could choose before many different kitchen vignettes to create a scene and tell a story with their food and the decor. This location shoot had so many different lighting options, from natural to fluorescent that there was always a decision to be made and a challenge to be met.

Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011

Inside the showroom.

Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011

Sneaking in a few shots myself.

Michelle - L.A Workshop - November 2011

One of the attendees, the lovely Michelle of Luka Looks.

Carole - Liren - L.A Workshop - November 2011

Carole came all the way from Brazil to take the workshop. Here with Liren during a team exercise.

Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011

One of the vignettes at the showroom. Kind of modern Italian.

Helene - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

Shooting with a medium format Phase One camera…Picture taken via phone by Micah.

We wanted to add different voices to the workshop and different points of view or just have attendees the possibility to think about "the next step" if they wanted. The lovely Marie-Anne Aizac, photographers agent for Velvet Artists and Mara Serdans, agency art buyer from Deutsch, came to talk about what agent and art buyers were looking for in photographers, gave them pointers on how to put their best foot forward. I loved how the discussion was clearly two ways orientated where attendees were able to share as much of their passion and interest as Marie-Anne and Mara. It was wonderful!

In the last part of the afternoon, John Moeller of Digital Fusion, came to talk about his company’s work as digital technicians on photo shoots. He came with a Phase One medium format camera. I think the 80 megapixels of horsepower of that baby made everyone super nervous. Having handled a few Hassies back in the day, I jumped in and started shooting. Soon enough, everyone was excited to try shooting with this tremendous camera.

Carol - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

Carole jumps right in and tries the medium format camera too.

Digital Fusion - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

John also demonstrated their super efficient storage system, DF Studio, similar to a cloud system but much more oriented toward a client-photographer smooth relationship.

Mary - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011

Mary planning her move with the medium format. No intimidation there! I love it!

Shrimp & Arugula Salad

Now that I am back and staying put for a little while, I can’t wait to fill up the fridge with greens and seasonal produce and make plenty of healthy meals. Stay tuned for this salad recipe soon and plenty more!

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Kris November 10, 2011 um 1:30 am

looking at the DF Studio, very cool! that camera looks pretty amazing too, I'd love to play with that! what an amazing weekend it must have been – one of these days I'll get down there for a workshop! for now I have the book… 😉

MikeVFMK November 10, 2011 um 1:35 am

I love walking my way through this post and your trip to LA. It felt like I was at the workshop. Looking forward to that salad recipe!

Willow Arlen November 10, 2011 um 1:55 am

Great post! I absolutely adore your photo of the artichokes. I always struggle with finding the right depth of field for things like that (I'm usually too shallow) but you really hit the nail on the head.
I wish I had been there to learn from you!

Marie Pech November 10, 2011 um 2:01 am

Oh my gosh. This documentation is incredible. I really admire your work and aspire to be as great of a food photographer someday 🙂

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 10, 2011 um 2:18 am

I am drooling and clicked open almost every link you linked…off to read those in a second. The whole experience from the attendees, YOU!!!, being there, being in LA..I wish this would have been in the cards$$ for me. Oh, it would have been beyond amazing. Experience of a lifetime. I love that this was a workshop geared toward people who perhaps want to take things a step further and that you had agency reps there and discussions on what they are looking for…wow. I wish so much I could have been there.

Happy for you that you get to stay home and stay put for a bit. After traveling so much, that's gotta feel great.

Congrats on the 2nd printing. You rock!!!

Vanessa November 10, 2011 um 2:44 am

Very nice! I wish I could attend this workshop. =)

notyet100 November 10, 2011 um 3:00 am

Looks like you had a nice time,,.:)

marla November 10, 2011 um 3:05 am

Hey girl! FUN to take in all of this excitement 🙂 wish I could have joined you…hopefully next time around. Love your cute fall outfit & boots & cute you!! xxoo

Laurel November 10, 2011 um 3:05 am

Wow! Very beautiful photos, that must be so much fun!

Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) November 10, 2011 um 3:13 am

Such pretty pictures!

I wish I lived closer so I could learn.

Oh the Canadian life… Check it out 🙂

Laura November 10, 2011 um 3:44 am

Excited to have you back for a bit 🙂 Wish I could have been at this workshop!

Unknown November 10, 2011 um 7:42 am

Wish I was there! But thanks for sharing this, it was almost like I was. I wish you all the best healty and homey meals for the weeks to come. I know your feeling. It is nice to stay still for a while.

Vera November 10, 2011 um 9:58 am

I am really inspired by your photography. In time, I will buy your book (ebook version if my local bookstore can't get it), but I will finish some of my other projects first. I am excited already 🙂

Unknown November 10, 2011 um 12:25 pm

I've adored your work for the longest time and always knew it was challenging and your passion was deep. And now I see that it's fun, too?? … color me absolutely chartreuse. How wonderful!

JulieD November 10, 2011 um 12:26 pm

So beautiful & exciting! I can tell you and all of the attendees had a wonderful time. 80 MP? Wow, just wow!

Miss you and Bill! Please tell him I say hi!

Dena Testa Bray November 10, 2011 um 12:28 pm

Beautiful photos. Looks like a grand workshop. I have been using your book and it is most helpful. I hope you'll do a workshop in New Hampshire some time soon!

angela@spinachtiger November 10, 2011 um 1:15 pm

I would have loved to have been there. All the years I lived in California were before food blogging. I miss it. I hope some day to be in one of your workshops, maybe somewhere in the South. Not only do you inspire photography, you get me thinking about other things that warm the heart, friends, family, trips, artistic passion. I was faux artist for ten years and am still driven as much by art as by food, and I see you are that way too which is why I love to visit your site.

BC November 10, 2011 um 1:34 pm

You are such an inspiration!

Just beginning to photograph foods and you offer a whole new realm to explore. Thank you!

Treasure your time at home, especially the visit with your parents!

la domestique November 10, 2011 um 3:24 pm

It's so fun to see behind the scenes (and I love your outfits-especially that cream sweater tunic)!

Shaina November 10, 2011 um 3:54 pm

I absolutely adore the shots. It looks like a fabulous workshop, Helene. Well done!

Lauren November 10, 2011 um 4:20 pm

Such an awesome, stunning post! I so wish I could have been there. Someday, someday I will take one of your workshops. Until then, this blog, your book and posts like these are SO inspiring to me. Thank you!

Sofie Dittmann AKA The German Foodie November 10, 2011 um 4:59 pm

i totally adore the artichoke shot. TOTALLY ADORE it.

Valérie (France) November 10, 2011 um 5:24 pm

Quel joli atelier je demanderai beaucoup pour être équiper de la sorte
Je te souhaite une belle soirée

mycookinghut November 10, 2011 um 6:12 pm

I'd love to get my hands on Phase One!

Prerna@IndianSimmer November 10, 2011 um 7:14 pm

PLEASE come soon to San Fran for a photography workshop! I SO need one from you 🙂

Jillian@thehumblegourmet November 10, 2011 um 8:28 pm

Your photographs are always so beautiful and inspiring! I can't wait to pick up my copy of your book.

Hannah November 10, 2011 um 10:15 pm

This looks like it was fab-u-lous! If only I were in the US, I could have come along. I desperately need help with my food styling 🙂

Unknown November 10, 2011 um 10:35 pm

I would love to attend a weekend like this – shame I am in Melbourne Australia – bit too far for a weekend 🙂 beautiful blog by the way!

Unknown November 10, 2011 um 10:36 pm

I would love to attend a workshop like this – unfortunately for me I'm in Melbourne Australia so its a bit too far to trek for a weekend! – beautiful blog by the way 🙂

Dmarie November 11, 2011 um 1:09 am

oh, MY, I just love visiting here. thank you for this great post!!

Unknown November 11, 2011 um 7:53 am

Love love love. 🙂

Unknown November 11, 2011 um 7:53 am

Love love love. 🙂

Unknown November 11, 2011 um 7:53 am

Love love love! 🙂

Jen Laceda November 11, 2011 um 6:28 pm

I am an aspiring (and wanna-be) baker and food photographer / stylist. I just WISH I could attend one of your classes! Any chance you'll do a travelling class here to Toronto??? LOL. Let me know right away if you are! I'm one of your biggest fan!

Chutneyandspice November 14, 2011 um 8:38 pm

How lovely it must feel to be home, but I hope at some point you get that bag out again and come and do a workshop in London!!!

Allison November 14, 2011 um 11:08 pm

It's amazing how just looking at photographs of others taking pictures can inspire you to try something different when taking a shot.

I am the greenest newbie to food photography there is, so looking through your pictures is very inspiring. Hopefully you'll be in SF one day for a workshop.

Heather November 15, 2011 um 3:37 pm


I recently discovered your blog and your wonderful talent! I am so inspired. I just ordered your book over the weekend and am scheduled to receive it tomorrow. I don't even have a nice camera yet (hopefully for Christmas!), but I can't wait to dig in!


Frood Bird November 22, 2011 um 2:08 am

I hope you don't mind my asking, but do you know which tripods were being used at this workshop? Or, could you recommend any good tripods for a heavier camera? I'm looking for a tripod to hold up a DSLR with a telephoto lens, and these look much sturdier than what I've found so far.


Jaymi November 23, 2011 um 10:16 pm

oh no, I'm sooooo sad I missed this! Are you going to have any more workshops in the LA area? Or anywhere on the west coast for that matter?

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