Dessert

Merry Christmas!

I LOVE Christmas. Christmas is a time for family, for sharing, giving (and eating!) and, for me at least...testing!  I can usually expect the assisting work to tail off a week or so before the festive break so I take the opportunity to shoot as much as I can whilst I have the time off. 

I avoid shooting anything Christmassy in mid-December as the industry (and I!) have normally moved on to Easter feasts or January health food recipes by that point, but this year I couldn't resist.  

The beginning of December meant that a few new bits were added to my kit: a gorgeous new KinoFlo and a whole load of (second hand) flash heads for me to play with - shooting past six is now not just a summer thing! I'm loving them so far, as you can probably tell!

Inspired by a shift towards the GIFs presented in portrait format, for phones and social media etc, I also shot a little how-to of my go-to...cheat's puff pastry mince pies. They are so quick, and so absurdly easy you can make them half hour before anyone 'pops round with a card'. 

I'm really grateful to anyone I worked with this year; photographers, clients, food stylists & their assistants, stylists, art directors and designers...I'm learning more every year. I would also like to thank my family, friends and my brilliant other half for making this year so memorable. I wish everyone a totally fabulous Christmas and a very happy 2018!

H x

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

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

 

Autumn Fare.

The turn in the weather over the last few days has me buying a new winter coat, busting out the slow cooker and turning to books for more comfort food ideas. It's the season for classics, with little twists. It's only a matter of time before I'm toad-in-the-hole-ing, and yes, that IS a verb.

Amy Stephenson (food styling superstar, recipe writer, assistant and very funny lady) and I did a test at the beginning of the week and I've been trying to catch up on the retouching all week -  that's the trouble with getting so much done in one day!

I'm just getting all my ducks in a row before I get the images up but in the meantime, here are a few shots, and a little GIF we did right at the end of the day, spoons poised and with fading evening light...Yum.

HIT PLAY BELOW

I was pleased to announce my lunch that day included that gorgeously earthy mushroom tart, a danish lunchtime treat and lots of drizzled honey over baked figs. MY LIFE IS SO HARD.

H x

PS. Anyone need that mousse recipe?

Food styling: Amy Stephenson
Photography: Hannah Hughes
Prop Styling: Hannah Hughes

Frost & Frosting.

As part of my New Years resolution, I've been making a conscious effort to test at least once a month. I'm lucky to meet fantastic prop stylists, food stylists and assistants through my job and when I hit it off with a food styling assistant on the job who's more or less in the same situation as me - busy, inspired and looking to add to their personal portfolio - I jump at the chance to work with them!

I met Jaswinder Jhalli, a kick-ass food styling assistant and cheeriest person I've ever met, on a Sainsbury's shoot and have been emailing back and forth for months trying to organise a test.  Finally, late last month, we got together one Saturday after a bit of brainstorming and had a fun and creative day of cakes, tarts and sweet treats.

Take a peek at our favourite shot; we nicknamed this guy "The Beast".

We set ourselves a brief of sorts; we wanted something wintry (an actual word, apparently. I checked), with seasonal fruits and wild flowers.  We intentionally avoided that dark, austere look that winter shoots occasionally have and was instead inspired by crisp frosty foggy mornings, cool daylight and long shadows. Recipes were written or amended by Jas, props were sourced by myself and magnolias were "borrowed" from a front garden somewhere in Islington.

I look forward to testing more in the coming months, both with Jas and other awesome, talented stylists! 

 

H x

Food Styling: Jaswinder Jhalli
Photography: Hannah Hughes
Prop Styling: Hannah Hughes