When I found out I was given the opportunity to attend Sarah Flotard’s Food Photography Class at Hot Stove Society, I was beyond excited. I have a Canon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and I have dabbled in food photography, but by no means do I consider myself an experienced photographer. I was psyched to learn how to put my camera to use, how to stage food to create a story and to learn general tips on how to better my photography skills from an industry icon. The class did not disappoint.
Hot Stove Society is the brainchild of longtime Seattle restaurateur, Tom Douglas, and opened in 2015. It is a year round public cooking school located on the 2nd floor of the Hotel Ändra where they offer hands-on classes ranging from how to brew a perfect cup of coffee to how to butcher a whole pig.
My particular class was hosted on a Saturday morning and approximately 20 of us filed into Hot Stove’s quarters where we were greeted with delicious pastries and hot coffee. The first portion of the class focused on Sarah and her background. This was followed by a display of her pictures from past photo shoots where she emphasized the importance of staging and editing techniques which we were to apply in the actual photography session. After the classroom portion was finished, we headed to Tanaka-san (another delicious Tom Douglas restaurant) where we were given free reign to play around with food dishes, backgrounds and props to create the perfect photograph.
We paired up in teams of 2 and worked with burger and ramen dishes trying to accomplish the task of staging a shot using anything from the floor to a table to general restaurant dining items. Sarah really stressed the importance of how staging can create the story of what you want to say while at the same time teaching us about the various settings within our cameras to educate us what settings are best for each situation.
I had an amazing first time experience with Hot Stove Society and I look forward to participating in many more classes! Perhaps next time I will try Shake, Muddle and Stir, Bing Bing, Knife Skills or go for the big kahuna and attend the 3-day Food Lovers Weekend.