On 16 April 2019, delegates from University of Central Lancashire, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Keele University came together at a training space in UCLAN for a Food Photography development day focussing on how to capture and process interesting, informative and professional images of food, produce, ingredients, etc. Those who attended the event included executive head chefs, a catering analysis and improvement manager, and a marketing officer.

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The course was delivered by Kevin Byrne; a worldwide professional chef who converted his love for photography into a professional career. Besides being a lead judge on the kitchen section of chef training for UK skills, Kevin also delivers photography workshops and trains young chefs. His passions for photography and great food combine excellently, resulting in perfectly delivered training on how to capture the perfect photographs in the catering industry.

photoThe day started with a warm welcome from Kevin and an introduction of how the art of photography can be used within the food industry. TUCO delegates were able to appreciate different photographs (food dishes, people working in the food industry, food events, etc.) that Kevin has taken through his career as a photographer. Kevin demonstrated to the group how our eyes perceive the real world in such a different way than the camera does. With this visual introduction and a deeper understanding of camera angles, focus and the art of perception, delegates were inspired to start practicing different types of photographs themselves.

Immersed in the beauty of photography, Kevin encouraged the group to find their inner creativity, capturing photographs either using an iPhone or a camera. For this activity Kevin provided the participants with real ingredients (cheese, grapes, onions, garlic, and bread) and certain photography tools to play with the light in the room, exploring artificial and natural light techniques. Kevin explained how to use photography tools such as umbrellas, diffusers and soft boxes within photography to get the desired light effect. Through Kevin’s step-by-step guidance and small adjustments to the way they were shooting, each delegate witnessed rapid improvements on their images throughout the day.

As part of the workshop, different photography concepts were explored in detail. For instance, Kevin covered depth of field and the importance of awareness of the background of an image.

In the second part of the workshop Kevin focused on portrait photography. After analysing some of Kevin’s previous professional photography work completed for chefs, Kevin then taught the group useful techniques on making people feel comfortable in front of the camera, to get the most natural images, and to make eye contact as much as possible in order to transmit a feeling within every image.

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Putting the techniques into practice, delegates proceeded to learn hands-on, taking photographs of each other, and discussing the elements of each photo as a group to ensure they achieved the best results possible, improving with every click.

The final topic of the workshop covered the importance of editing images to obtain the best ‘final version’; the version that the human eye would expect to see and would accept as a pleasing image. Kevin demonstrated how best to use modern technology to get images that catch the eye of your customers.

Overall, this development day provided an excellent balance between theoretical and practical exercises, covering all of the workshop’s objectives whilst also catering to the requests and queries from the individual TUCO members in attendance.

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If you would like to learn more, or are interested in attending this event in the future, please contact [email protected].

“It was most helpful to get better looking pictures of food for sales and marketing use but also for better kitchen specs.”

- Delegate from Keele University

“Kevin Byrne was a very patient and knowledgeable presenter.”

- Delegate from Keele University