International Conference on Food Styling & Photography

Over drinks and pulled pork BBQ, I had a chance to chat with photographer, Lara Ferroni (author of Plates & Packs, Cook & Eat, and Still Life With).

If you're into photography and have your sights set on a career in food styling or photography, Lara says this is the place you want to be: The International Conference on Food Styling & Photography, A World View of Business, Technique, and Design (Boston, June 12-15th).

Held once every two years, this conference is where the pros go. Laura's mark of approval seals the deal. And I did I mention, food science guru, Harold McGee will offer the keynote speech? Yeah, you want to be here. I know you do...

What are you waiting for? Register here.

My heart is racing just thinking about this schedule:

Optional Pre-conference Master Class

How Did They DO That? Case Studies of Photography Creative Problem Solving
Moderators: Jim Scherer, Katherine Hennessy

Every day we are presented with tricky problems to solve. This seminar will give you an insider’s view into the thought process of four successful food photographers, each sharing how they tackled a challenging problem and figured out a great solution. They’ll show detailed visuals of the evolution of the tough shoot and talk about how the project initially presented itself, the technical details about cameras, lighting, special styling needs, why they made the choices they did, and post-production issues. Although this is not a business seminar, client involvement will be part of the discussion. _________________________________________________________
(June 13-14, 2009)

Alice Hart, Laura Shapiro

How has the career of food styling evolved over the past 30 years? What was happening in the real world with home and restaurant food and cooking that influenced what stylists do? A food historian known for her exploration of the post WWII lifestyles and a trailblazing food stylist who began her styling business in the 1970s will share where we’ve been and where we hope to go in capturing the way we produce, cook, and eat now.

Christopher Hirsheimer, Melissa Hamilton

An acclaimed photographer and food stylist, both veterans of the magazine and cookbook publishing world, will discuss their shared organic approach to food photography and styling. Their experiences led them from the intoxicating environment of food and lifestyle magazines to stepping out of it all to start up their own studio specializing in food photography, styling, illustration, design, and writing. Hirsheimer and Hamilton, who together have over 30 years of experience shooting, styling, and producing stories from around the globe for magazines including Saveur, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, and Metropolitan Home and for cookbooks for the who’s who of the culinary world, from Julia Child to Alice Waters, opened their own studio in a small river town in 2007. While they continue to work on others cookbooks, they have embarked on a project all their own—self-publishing Canal House Cooking, a quarterly food journal.

Mel Mooney, John Carafoli

The process of creating magazine advertising has moved, blurred, or erased the line between the business and editorial sides of publishing. Join the senior account director for Saveur magazine and a veteran food stylist for a journey through the process of creating magazine ads that look as good, and sometimes better, than the editorial content itself. These industry leaders will talk about the fundamentals of putting together teams of innovative stylists, creative photographers and insightful account directors to come up with ads that sell.

CAMERA, LENS, AND TOILET PAPER—Practical Tips and Stories of a Traveling Photographer
Gregory Bertolini

Whether traveling across town or across the country, every shoot involves the movement of equipment and personnel. Learn to travel correctly and safely with either a single camera or a complete studio. Advice on safety and insurance, renting equipment, respecting the environment you’re visiting, and items you should never forget.

Marcela Sorondo, Clare Ferguson

Two dynamic international food stylists will take you on a journey through their globe trotting work all over England and Europe, Argentina, and beyond. Local food traditions and foods, table manners, food fashions, provincial issues and multi-national food clients all influence how these innovative stylists work. Their experiences underscore that multicultural knowledge is the wave of the future.

Stef Culberson, Mette Nielsen

The world is going green—but what does that mean? A European-trained chef and food stylist, who also owns a small farm, teams up with a photographer dedicated to documenting the explosion of organic foods and local farm production to define what it can mean for the food photography industry to embrace the philosophy of sustainable food and styling.

James Scherzi, Zach Phillips

Learn to move your creative imagery from still to motion in this discussion about what it takes to become a hybrid still + video studio. What equipment do you need? How much of an investment is it to develop this new side of your business? How do you learn the essentials for making professional-level videos? Most importantly, how do you leverage television content, podcasts and viral online marketing to help reinforce your client’s brand?

Eugene Mopsik, Ilise Benun, Tim Foley, Beatrice Peltre

Calling all solopreuners and creative types: what’s the buzz? There are always new issues facing our commercial industry, new technologies, and new ways to market and connect with colleagues and potential clients. Hear the very latest from the executive director of the American Society of Media Photographers, an innovative marketing guru for creative professionals, a creative agency principal, and a food photography blogging star. What do you need to know about protecting your image copyright and usage? Should you be “linked in” or spending time everyday networking via your web site about your work? There will be plenty of time to take your questions or hear your stories about business concerns.

Delores Custer, Steve Adams, Lorna Rhodes

Whether you are a photographer or stylist, it’s a tough market out there. Long gone are the days of big budgets and days devoted to just a few shots. This panel of seasoned professionals has weathered the ups and downs of business twists and turns, and survived. Explore how you can leverage your skills and find new opportunities and clients by staying inspired and fresh, being aware of where your professional world is moving, and teaming up with colleagues who share your positive vision.

Richard Anderson

Struggling with digital filing? Organizing and being sure you’re submitting the right file type or size for specific jobs? And what about preserving the long-term integrity of your hard work and creative output? Learn the best system for digital asset management—increasing the value of your investment in your professional work. Learn the details of this innovative program developed by the ASMP/Preserving Digital Images team, made possible by an award from the Library of Congress.

Francine Malalon-Degni, Maxine Kaplan, Peggy Chase Jordao

Need to find just the right plate? Create just the right set? The owner of one of the biggest prop houses in the U.S. will offer her bird’s eye view of her show room. And where and why she selects what she buys to rent in her shop. A long-time New York prop stylist will take you through time with her insights into the business of setting the stage for photos—and how she thinks trends change when the political climate changes. And an energetic location photo stylist will share her insider scoop on the challenges she deals with when parachuted into unfamiliar territories.

Mette Nielsen, Pornchai Mittongtare, James Tse

A panel of award-winning and highly admired food shooters will share their work, their creative inspirations, and what it takes for them to get “the” shot. From working with stylists to photographing chefs or food in its own environment, these dynamic photographers lend a special touch to their photos that is hard to define and sets them apart. They’ll show what makes them commercially successful, but also artistically unique.

Mara Papatheodorou

The job of a good producer is to pull all the details together. They can transport people to other places just by how effectively they create new worlds in a magazine feature or television spot. These armchair travelers become future consumers of what that producer is selling for their client. What exactly does a producer do? Do you have the skill set to scout locations, source props, write the story, and style the shoot?

THE ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION OF FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY (All-Day MASTER CLASS)Francine Zaslow, Deborah Jones, Catrine Kelty At Zaslow Photography

Two leading creative women photographers, each with her own unique approach to how they work, will demonstrate their “secret ingredients” for creating beautiful photos for both editorial and advertising. This interactive workshop will be set in a working studio, where you will learn how each photographer uses light, composition, selective focus and props to create strong images. Your specific problems will be discussed, and creative solutions demonstrated.

Lou Manna

The author of the first book specifically addressing digital food photography will take you under his wing, introducing the essential tenets of effectively shooting food. Even if you are already shooting commercially, this interactive workshop will give you the tools to better understand food as a subject and the importance of working as a team with a food stylist.


Bake Style, From Dough to Lens (morning)
Cindy Lund, Maura Kilpatrick

The food styling manager at General Mills, one of the leaders in consumer baking, and Boston’s top pastry chef will bridge the worlds of professional pastry work and home baking. Their demonstrations of baking and styling techniques will cover a variety of challenging desserts, refrigerated dough products, and packaged dessert mixes. Sharing their expert recommendations about favorite equipment and ingredients, they will also demonstrate techniques for frosting the perfect cupcake, beautifully glazing cakes, and baking up golden pastry. Special emphasis will be placed on troubleshooting unexpected situations with baked goods, along with exploring unique styling methods, like creating a luxurious butter melt or that amazing chocolate pull on a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Kitchen Troubleshooting (afternoon)
Delores Custer, Dan MaceyBold

From cheese pulls on pizza to producing steam on demand, there is often more than one way to tackle the many problems food stylists face with foods that want to misbehave. One of the foremost styling authorities and an insatiably curious stylist will share their techniques for dealing with problem foods, including their favorite problem-solving techniques. From the basic (perfect sunny-side up eggs and beautiful ice cream scoops) to the challenging mile high sandwich, explore the techniques of controlling the color, texture, flow, melt, browning and freshness of foods you work with everyday. A lively Q&A session will be part of the afternoon.