A Bit of DIY.

I'm experimenting with a little something this summer, and almost all of my strange adventures start with a sketch or a doodle.

More posts to come...when all the parts arrive!

BBQ

As soon as the weather heats up, my mind turns to eating outdoors.  I'd eat all meals outside if I could, and love taking some avo on toast down to the little roof garden on our building. I've never shot on location outdoors personally but was looking forward to the challenge, so I pitched a BBQ test to Georgie Hodgson, who I've been following on Instagram for a while now (@memyselfand_pie, for those out of the know) and crossed my fingers and hoped that Lauren Miller, about-to-be-featured-absolutely-everywhere legend prop stylist, was available to make this a little different from the summer shoots that appear every year.

We were very lucky with the weather as it turned out to be the hottest day of the year, and despite a few hiccups at the beginning (who needs a BBQ for a BBQ test anyhow?! NOT Georgie!) we were done and eating frozen watermelon in the park next to the studio by 3pm. Awesome.


I love working with new people so it was great to get Georgie involved, having never even met before! THE POWER OF INSTAGRAM. That said, Lauren and I have seen each other (in person!) in prop houses, hire studios and random shoot days for well over a year, and had been trying to get something in the diary for months before this opportunity came up - I'm very glad she was able to stay for the whole shoot and we got to see her in action.

This test day also HAPPENED to fall on my birthday, and I couldn't have asked for a better team, better weather (or a better cocktail) to celebrate. Cheers guys!

H x

Instagram Roundup 3.

So here it is, non-followers. Instagram Roundup 3. I am putting this up here today because I reached 400 followers this morning and wanted to look back on the last 3-4 months of 'best bits!

I've had a rare 'relaxation' holiday to Malta with the SO, I spent a week at The Savoy, I've been testing nearly twice a month since April and have finally been on my first trip abroad for work - to Italy no less!

Got a few more tests in the diary, lots of work with new photographers and even a little trip to Cornwall later in the year, where I hope to get some video shot for a bit of practice!

Pretty Peas.

Another test! This time an unusually spontaneous one, brought on by the kind lending of some beautiful props by the marvellous Sarah Birks (who's name I saw everywhere on all the prettiest props in the prop houses but only recently met!).

I put out an Instagram "shout out" (see below) on the Friday before the bank holiday and the marvellous Tamara Vos got in touch out of the blue after meeting once or twice on other shoots. I've long admired Tamara's airy, pretty style and it was very flattering for her to get in touch. We had very little time to come up with something so I sent some snaps of the props we had to work with and a very loose brief and left her to come up with some ideas!

Tamara went all out and sourced some beautiful ingredients over the bank holiday weekend - not always an easy task as we found out on Tuesday morning! The recipes were simple and elegant and totally delicious.

I'm thrilled the images are kind of different to my usual style; that's what tests are for, after all! Normally I'd say my shots are a little messier, a little punchier and it's great to collaborate with someone who can nudge you out of your comfort zone and create something delicate and fresh.

I really like these images and loved shooting on the day. Plus, I have a new favourite go-to dinner party recipe - those clams were just perfect and, amazingly, come straight out of the freezer! 

H x

 

Trial and Error.

I think it's important to celebrate and document the wins as well as the losses.

I had a morning free and a few props lying round the house a couple of weeks ago and decided I wanted to give a stop motion thing another go.  I've made an attempt previously, shooting some chocolate mousse *mysteriously* disappearing (nom!) but I used daylight and quickly saw the error of my ways. I said to myself; next time I do this, I'm going to give it a proper go...flash, a storyboard, props etc. 

I knew that shooting from one aspect wouldn't be that much of a technical stretch (and, to be honest, I was on my own doing the food and everything so if it didn't work I needn't ever show it to anyone!) so I decided to edit a second aspect into the stop motion below. After loosely sketching out the order of the frames, I clamped everything down as best I could and prepped the area around my camera.  Lucky for me, this salad is one of my favourites and one I used to make for the crews who hired the studio back in my 'Lanterns Studios' days, so I could make it without having to think about it too much! Plus, I finished around lunchtime and ate that whole jar!

Click below for my latest learning curve!

I look forward to giving it another go soon; one with a faster pace, less jarring cuts, maybe more indepth planning...and a stylist to help me out on the food!

I also want to give video a go soon, but that is a whooooole different software ball game!

What software would you recommend for editing video? What do you think I could have done differently in the animation above?

H x

Neon.

Here are the results of a recent test with the brilliantly creative Tamzin Ferdinando on Props and the unflappable Sophie Foot on food styling. 

I've been doing a LOT more tests recently. I think I got a bit bogged down in the 'day to day' for a lot of last year, and the tests I DID do reminded me how essential it is to dip a toe into a bigger creative pool and occasionally swim right out of sight of your comfort zone.

Well, I don't mid admitting a few of the shots I took last year were noticeably dark in tone; rich shadows, inky blue surfaces, tarnished metals and even a test devoted totally to BLACK. I think those winter months really affect me in ways I haven't noticed before. I started up a Pinterest board just after Christmas that was the complete opposite of all of these things; a bright, sugar coated pill to ease the pain of a long, grey November.

A Screenshot of my Pinterest board, which is usually how I start to brainstorm for a test. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GO TO THE BOARD ITSELF.

A Screenshot of my Pinterest board, which is usually how I start to brainstorm for a test. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GO TO THE BOARD ITSELF.

I have worked with Tamzin before on our 'Orange and Black' test, and this sort of brief is totally up her street. I'm so glad she was on board and able to bring the slightly abstract pins on the Pinterest board (which featured contributions from all three of us by the shoot day itself) to life in a way that would work for a food shoot - not an easy task. Not to mention all the crafty ideas Tamzin brings to the shoot on the day that make it truly special.

Sophie, who I'd met not long before whilst assisting together on an unforgettable cook book shoot, came up with some ideas for the food that would hold its own against a strong colour palate and went above and beyond in the week running up to the test day to make sure her homemade marshmallows(I know, right?!) were perfect. We also had jars of pickles in mind for the shoot so Sophie reportedly had jars of brightly coloured things stashed around her flat for a week before the test even began!

In the end we settled on variety of pickles in jars, a rainbow Asian-inspired salad with kale, avocado, slivers of pickled red onions (straight from the jar) and butternut squash, homemade marshmallows with pistachio and raspberry crumb (a perfect gift, we decided), and rhubarb ice lollies. We even had time to make a rhubarb Bellini. Yum.

I'm thrilled with how the images turned out and I hope the guys are too (they assure me this is the case) and even more happy that spring has sprung and I get to drop some colour into my growing portfolio. 

More tests next month, including a new cocktail shoot just in time for drinking outdoors - one of my favourite activites.

H x

Food styling: Sophie Foot
Photography: Hannah Hughes
Prop Styling: Tamzin Ferdinando