a reflection of the recent food styling and photography course i did with russel wasserfall

Food photography and styling course

Earlier this month, Russel Wasserfall and I held our first food photography and styling course at the Table restaurant on De Meye Wine Estate. What a roaring success it was. We had nine fabulous students who arrived eager to learn, and left armed with a bundle of new skills to take their food photography to a new level.

Judging from the feedback we received, they were also very inspired.

As were we. Imparting knowledge about what we love doing the most, to people who are super keen to learn, kind of makes our lives a little more awesome. Which is why we will be doing this again.

Food photography and styling course

This is what Russel had to say about it all:

‘Our last food photography and styling course at The Table restaurant just reminded me why I started running courses. This was the first one I did with Sam Linsell, and that was an education in itself. Sam is such a great stylist because she really lives her craft. If she isn’t actually working, she’s shopping for props, or cooking and styling and shooting for her blog. Her enthusiasm is palpable, and completely inspiring – she also taught this slightly battered photographer a few new tricks.

Speaking of new tricks, that was the reminder: I do these courses because of what I learn. I remember when Sophia Lindhop did the course – she couldn’t even switch her camera on to start with, but she completely inspired me with her eye. We discussed the Thirds Rule and she did something that completely changed my perspective on food photography. She used Thirds and the depth of field lesson we had just completed to create an image that made me reassess how I built a still life photo. Cracker. It’s so amazing that someone who literally is too afraid of the technology to hold it properly can produce a show-stopping image.

On the course with Sam, there were a few show-stoppers, many of them produced with the simplest of SLR’s. There were also great learning moments. One of the students showed me an image with an interesting effect. He wanted to know how it was achieved. Because it was a style that was trendy in food shooter circles a while back and things had moved on, it was a bit of a forgotten technique for me. Trying to explain it made me access a body of knowledge I hadn’t considered for years. (You have to do the course to find out what it was.)

It’s amazing that the technology has actually made it easier to teach the basics of photography in a very short time. It’s equally cool that short-circuiting years of learning allows people who might never have picked up a camera to express such intense creativity. It all makes me a very happy – if somewhat dented – photographer’.

Food photography and styling course

Sarah Schafer assisted us on the course and took care of the ‘IT’ side of things. She gave a couple of short talks on the very important aspect of photography work flow and backing up, as well as some basics on image editing and archiving.

As this was a workshop, the students were able to grab their camera’s and get shooting. Through practical application they were able to take out what they needed to suit the level they were at.

Lunch was catered for by Russel’s wife Camilla and her brother Jason, and was delicious. Sadly they have just sold the Table restaurant, so we will not be conducting our course there in the future.

Food photography and styling course

We have however found a fabulous new venue in Cape Town to run our next course which will be held on the week end of 3 and 4 August 2013. Please email me: slinsell @ gmail dot com, if you would like any further info or would be keen to participate. There are limited spaces available, as we want to give as much personal attention as we can.

The 2 day course costs R5500.00 and includes lunch on both days.

The venue is at the beautiful Foodology Homestead in Kenilworth, Cape Town:

how to build an image

All images on this post are a combined mix of my iPhone pics and Instagrams, and Sarah’a pics.

Here are a few of the beautiful shots our students created:


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  1. Had an amazing two days….great instruction, amazing food and wonderful people. Could not ask for more!
    Thank you for making it happen!

  2. Thanks Mary, it was so wonderful to have you there.

  3. That looks absolutely fabulous – what a wonderful way to spend the day learning about something so interesting! Stunning images & lovely styling …

  4. Was an amazing two days and I walked away with much more than I’d hoped for.

  5. Looks like an amazing course! Those photos are all so stunning and beautifully styled. I wish I could attend.

  6. Oh what a wonderful course!! It is fantastic when a student who feels totally out of their depth at the start of the course, really “gets it” by the end. Teaching is the most super-rewarding anybody can do. Great shots and a great write-up Sam!

  7. Thanks Jeanne, I know you have done so many, so you know exactly what its like. Its is very rewarding to be able to share and teach. I do love it.

  8. Nade Welch says:

    Was absolutely fabulous…enjoyed it thoroughly! Thankyou so much Samantha, Russel and Sarah.

  9. Thanks Nade. I cant wait to see what you produce. By the way I’m up on Knysna for the festival, doing all the foodie tings, maybe I will see you there x

  10. Nade Welch says:

    Ooh! ok Sam will pop in and see you in Knysna! 🙂

  11. Oh My Word Sam–these look super duper fantastic

  12. I hope you will be able to do one of our courses in the future Usha.

  13. If I was over there, I would love to do the course too. It’s always great to hang out with creative people who love food.

  14. HI Allison, would love to have you at future ones.

  15. Would love to attend the next one. Any ideas when?

  16. Would love to attend the next one. Any ideas when?

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