Blog, Workshop

Learning how to take beautiful styled instagram shots with Carole Poirot

Last year, having seen Carole Poirot’s lovely images on instagram and read her genuine and engaging posts, I wanted to know more. She doesn’t blow her own trumpet, she doesn’t need to, her images do it for her. All the photos on this blog post are hers, shown here with her permission. She works as both a professional photographer and stylist in England and France.

Carole runs small workshops teaching the basics of using a proper camera, without it just being on an automatic setting. To be honest even automatic had to be better than my iphone images. I duly booked onto one of her courses. It was to be me and another half dozen people. At the time Carole was using different locations from which to run her workshops and this involved her travelling around laden with props, camera, food and equipment. That is the life of both photographer and stylist, and it can get a little wearisome and fatiguing at times.

To go off at a tangent, my youngest brother became seriously ill, and I needed to be at his side fairly constantly that year, so I had to wait before I could attend one of Carole’s courses.    She offered to give me a one to one day’s tuition at her home, which is incidentally full of fabulous props.

I set off on a wet, rainy, dark winters day feeling both excited and nervous, also I suspected my camera wasn’t working properly. Carole is a brilliant host and on arrival presented me with  delicious coffee and croissants. We went through the vital things you need to know when using a camera on a non-automatic setting. She showed me on hers and then I tried using my camera. I was correct the camera wasn’t working.

         *Note to self 

Check your camera before attending a photography and styling course.

For lunch, Carole had made one of those hearty soups you need on a wet winters day. She had developed and cooked a super delicious gluten free cake that we tried out at tea -time. This not only gave great eating opportunities but also plenty of shooting ones too.

As the workshop progressed Carole explained various rules of styling, light composition etc. she also showed how to manipulate and enhance images on the computer. We discussed styles of images shown on Instagram. At that time her dark moody shots were being much copied, so being ahead of the field she had moved on to lighter images.

It was a fascinating and informative day.  for anyone attending her workshops Carole provides fulsome and very useful notes.

Just as an after thought, if you can’t get to one of her courses Carole has a brilliant web site https://www.mademoisellepoirot.com/

It is full of beautiful photo’s recipes and much much more. The piece she wrote last year on photographing flowers is exquisite and extremely useful.

https://www.mademoisellepoirot.com/blog/how-to-photograph-flowers

I know that one of her ex attendees now runs styling workshops at £150 a head, so Carole’s course is a sound investment.

Blog, Uncategorized, Workshop

CAKE COFFEE & CRAFT Macmillan Cancer Support

IMG_6097

I recently hosted a  macmillan coffee morning, partly in memory of the three male friends that I lost to cancer this year, and partly because I think it is an excellent charity.

IMG_6082
I was also raising money, as my brother had a very aggressive form of throat cancer diagnosed in February. When I first saw him he had a tumour the size of an orange on his neck. He no longer has teeth or tonsils and the cure was grim and it takes a very brave person to endure it. However two days ago he was given the all clear. The cancer has gone. I would like to thank all the kind people who were involved in his recovery particularly Anita and all the NHS staff who worked so hard and encouraged him at his low points.

IMG_6067
This fund raising event, that takes place all over the UK raises shed loads of money and with all that good will and with all the latest research it looks like many cancers will soon be a thing of the past or at least easier to treat.

IMG_6094

This year my event was little different as it was Coffee, Cake and Craft.
I stage many craft events, the last large one being for the managers of the LEON restaurants.
LEON
Creating and making are such important activities for our sense of well-being. It can be a method of getting totally into the zone and engaging the brain in the appointed activity and excluding all the everyday worries and anxieties that keep nagging at us. Or by engaging with others doing a similar activity it can be a very joyful, friendly and comforting event.

IMG_6108
The craft I chose was very simple and involved pom-pom making. Pom-poms are great as they are simple and inexpensive to make and most people remember making them at school using two discs of cardboard to construct them. Pom poms can be used to make headdresses or Christmas decorations or used decoratively to embellish a bag, throw or cushion.

IJKU0706

What the event achieved, apart from raising funds, was to draw people together and encourage them to become involved and to engage with one another.

BlogFooterTurqiose

Features, Uncategorized, Workshop

Leon Summer Well-being Festival

IMG_3899

This summer the restaurant chain LEON ran a wellbeing festival for the restaurant managers of their 57 UK and European restaurants, their new one soon to open in Washington USA and the restaurant support team. This two-day event takes place every year at John Vincent’s family home in Sussex and the event really is a family get together. The ‘mums’ and ‘dads’ (that’s what they call their restaurant managers) and the restaurant support team gathered together in one of the fields and started with a ball game as a way of breaking the ice and introducing any new ‘family’ members to each other. The event, like the LEON brand, is well thought out, wholesome and inclusive.

Next a session of Chi-gung (“Life Energy Cultivation”) took place and after that everyone gathered into groups to take part in different events throughout the day. These included swimming, yoga, cooking, movement and play, tennis, home-made remedies and the workshop I was there to teach, low tech printing onto calico bags.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 17.30.06

Nichola, one of the ‘mums’ from LEON was there to help me, she was brilliant and as I ran six sessions back to back throughout the day, with a break for a delicious LEON lunch, I couldn’t have done it without her.

IMG_3892

I showed everyone a look book of marks that can be made using very simple items such as fruit and vegetables, blocks of wood wrapped in elastic bands, pipe lagging cut into segments  and erasers on the end of pencils.

IMG_E3963

Everyone then had a go on pieces of paper so they could work out their own designs.

IMG_3923

Then to get the feel of printing onto  fabric everyone printed onto a piece of calico.

IMG_3928

Once satisfied with design and colour choices each person printed onto a bag. The bags were hung up in the garden to dry with the names of the designer on them.

IMG_3940

Throughout the rest of their stay everyone posted thoughtful messages into the bags of one another. It was such a glorious event and I felt honoured to be part of it. Looking back at the images I took that day you can see people totally engaged in the activity, printing anywhere and everywhere; at the table, on the floor, on chairs or on their laps, completely absorbed in the moment which is what creativity is all about.

IMG_3954

IMG_3998

BlogFooterTurqiose