Open Table Food Photography Workshop

Photographers taking pictures of food in a restaurant in Frankfurt
Image credit Vivi D'Angelo

I was invited to this workshop by the online restaurant reservations service Open Table, but all opinions are my own.

It’s one thing to prepare a plate of food and make it look presentable; quite another to take a decent photo of it. I love taking photos, but really, I’m a home cook and a writer, not a photographer, so I tend to pay a bit of attention to light and framing, keep editing to an absolute minimum, and aim for “fit for purpose”.

I was very happy, then, to be invited to a food photography workshop in Frankfurt by the really lovely folk at Open Table. They promised I’d be whipped into shape by Vivi D’Angelo, a Munich-based food photographer whose work I was introduced to about eight months ago, and who’s approach to food (and the photographing of it) I very much admire. Vivi’s work is creative and often thought-provoking: her clients include Der Feinschmecker, Effilee, Food & Farm, and GU, and I was very sorry to miss a pop-up exhibition of (and nose-to-tail dinner celebrating) her extraordinary offal photography project Herzprojekt whilst I was in Bavaria last year.

Vivi D'Angelo explaining food photography tips in front of a table with camera
Vivi talking us through her approach to food photography

The workshop took place at Margarete, a relaxed, modern restaurant situated in the heart of Frankfurt just a short walk from the Römerberg, the cobbled plaza at the centre of the city’s old town. For the workshop, we – a small group of locally-based writers and bloggers – had our own private workspace divided off from the rest of the restaurant by a heavy curtain. This meant we could fiddle around with photography equipment and take advantage of the light flooding in through the enormous windows without worrying too much about disturbing those who’d come there for lunch.

Strawberry torte with basil and cashew plus sprinkled flowers on a white plate at an Open Table food photography workshop
Strawberry torte with basil and cashew at Margarete

Vivi talked us through a bit of general food photography advice, shared some of her own personal tips and tricks, and wandered around answering our various questions as we carried out a couple of practical assignments. She’d brought a Berlin-based food stylist friend with her, the very talented Ana Novais, who I managed to squeeze some very useful styling tips out of, too.

The full workshop crew | Image courtesy of Vivi D’Angelo

Over lunch – I had mackerel tartare with beetroot – I got to chat with some of the other writers and bloggers attending the workshop, including fellow Wiesbadener Bärbel of Farbenfreundin, Vicky (Frankfurt du bis so wunderbar), Silvia (Volle Lotte), Tobias (Kuchenbäcker), Melanie (Einfach Rheingau), Kristin (Rheinhessen Liebe), Christina (Trip to the Planet), , Graziella (Graziellas Food Blog) und Anna (Salon Stories). It was a thoroughly lovely way to spend a Saturday, and a very productive one, too. I’ve come away with new friends, and some good ideas about how to improve things visually on here. Thank you, Open Table!

…and actually, an extra thank you to Open Table

I thought I was going to have to cancel attending the workshop at the last minute due to childcare plans falling through. However, it turned out that the organisers were completely open to the idea of me bringing my two-year-old along, and when I arrived at the venue, not only had they set up a corner for her to play in, but she was offered food and drink along with everyone else present. I was hugely impressed that the people at Open Table didn’t think twice about making it possible for me to attend with her, and very grateful for the kindness and understanding of everyone there. I’m extra happy to write about a company so willing to support a working mother and recognise that children are people, too.