Vegetables

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

 

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

Orange and Black.

First test of the new year and I've not been able to put these up on my site until now!

In December last year Tamzin Ferdinando, prop styling legend, suggested doing a test together with a theme she'd been working on - Orange and Black. I was IN.

I shot this, with the marvellous Amy Stephenson doing the food styling, the week before the Pink Lady Food Photography Awards deadline and from what I could piece together from the small print you can't advertise online that you're submitting an image so I thought it best to keep them back for a few weeks and avoid screwing it up altogether. I've been meaning to submit work to this competition for a couple of years and never felt particularly strongly about any of my images but I'm determined to enter from now on; every year they put on a fabulous free exhibition and showcases food photographers from around the world and I'm happy to support anything that raises the standard industry-wide.

Anyway, long story short.....they weren't shortlisted. Oh well, better luck next year! I've already got an extremely exciting test booked in for the next few weeks with a new stylist and my Pinterest is a hive of activity right now.  Keep an eye out for new work, my new logo, and a blog post about some new books I've bought.

Do you submit your work anywhere or has your work ever won you any awards? 

H x

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

Merry Christmas!

I'd just like to say a very Merry Christmas to everyone I've worked with this year; all the excellent photographers, food stylists, prop stylists; all the lovely assistants, art directors and clients - it's been a hell of a year!

Thank you to all my friends who make me laugh and keep me sane, my family who are patient and funny and feed me often...and thanks to my long-suffering, kind, generous, amazing man.

Happy holidays from me and mine to you and yours, enjoy your festive break and have a truly fabulous 2017. I shall be dashing and prancing across the midlands and south of the UK to see family before spending the new year in London with friends. What are you upto?

H x


Christmas dinner in tree-form shot & styled by myself.