The Magic of Peonies Workshop

24 June 2017
Peonies and cup cakes

I am absolutely loving incorporating flowers into my photography. So when I heard about the Eden Blooms styling workshop with peonies and cakes run by Janne Ford and Hazel Shaw  – I knew I had to take part. On paper, it sounded super lovely but the experience totally surpassed my expectations!

The workshop took place in Twyford, Hampshire at the Dutch Masters wholesale flower market, which in itself had so much to look at and take in. Glorious fresh flowers every which way we turned. Dutch Masters had also provided the most gorgeous array of pretty peonies for us to play with too.

So the day started with a helpful introduction from Hazel showing us how to arrange a selection of peonies, in particular creating the arrangement specifically for being photographed. It was wonderful to see Hazel at work, she made it all look so easy. We were then allowed to choose our peonies and have a play ourselves. Hazel had shared some great tips, and although I was out of my comfort zone, I found my arrangement came together well enough under her guidance. And since the workshop, I’ve definitely felt a little more confident about it all.

Following on from the flower arranging, Janne talked us through her approach to styling and photographing. She shared some useful tips with us and had set up two styled scenes with deliciously frilly peonies for us to photograph as we wished.

During our scrumptious lunch we had plenty of time to chat with Hazel and Janne as well as the other attendees. How lovely to meet some fellow Makelighters (Makelight members) in person and connect beyond our Instagram accounts. These included Yvonne (@onepurlrow), Maxine (@maxine_mason), Andrea (@littlefamilylondon), Nicky (@nickybarfoot) and Hazel as well! The beauty of the workshop is that it attracted like-minded creative folk interested in honing their photography and styling skills with a great love of flowers.  

After lunch, following another styling demo by Janne, we were given free reign to style and photograph using a vast selection of props. I felt a little giddy from all the choice! The beautiful English countryside outside the warehouse doors was just too tempting and before we knew it, Andrea, Yvonne and myself had got busy setting up an afternoon tea scene with the rolling hills in the background. It was so lovely to share ideas and style in such wonderful company. For the sake of consistency, I often use the same props and shoot indoors by natural light so it was great to have access to different props and also try out photographing a styled scene outdoors.

Oh, I almost forgot to say how exciting it was to provide some pretty cup cakes too for everyone to have a play with…and eat, of course! You know when you’re hooked on food styling & photography when you’re thinking more about the scene that you want to create than getting stuck into those tasty morsels. I know plenty who would relate to that!

Here’s a photo, courtesy of Yvonne Hardiman, of me busy styling our scene!

So you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve already signed up for the next workshop with Janne and Hazel. It’s not that far off in September and I’m so looking forward to it!