July 01, 2013

Photo Styling Challenge | Part 1 Food

So the day is finally here where I share my photographs for Part 1 of the Photo Styling Challenge that I'm doing with M from Redesigned by M and Anjana from At the Corner of Happy and Harried. In my true fashion I left this until the very last minute to do... i.e. yesterday morning, whilst hungover, mid June gloom heatwave (97 degrees) and before I had to leave to go to a Luau party.  The subject matter is super close to my heart as I love to eat and love to cook and love any excuse to try a new recipe.  So for this challenge I just had to make the food myself.  I chose to make roasted strawberry and black pepper scones from the Hairy Bikers

What you'll need

For the Strawberries
- 400g/14oz small strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the scones
- 500g | 1lb 2oz | 4 cups self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
- 50g | 2oz | 1/4 cup caster sugar ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 100g | 3½oz | 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
- 300ml | 10fl oz full-fat milk
- 1 egg, beaten

How it's done

Preheat the oven to 120C | 250F | Gas 1/2

Place the strawberries on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle over the sugar and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Roast in the oven for 1 and a half hours.  Once cooked, removed and set aside to cool.  Tip: use a couple of layers of greaseproof as I only used one layer and it stuck to the tray because of the sugar... the tray is now in the bin!

Increase the temperature to 200C | 400F | Gas 6

Put the flour, sugar, salt and butter into a large mixing bowl and add a good few grinds of black pepper.  Rub the butter into the flour until you get a breadcrumb-like consistency.

Add the strawberries and mix thoroughly.  Next add the milk and stir around with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the milk is combined and the mixture comes together to forma dough.

Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead lightly.  Flatten out to 2cm | 3/4 inch thick and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or cup like I did.

Place the scones onto a prepared baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden.

Best served with jam and clotted cream.  I don't like jam so I just served mine with Bonne Maman mixed berry preserve. :)

So back to the challenge... I'll be totally honest, my head was suffering from hangover hell that not even an everything bagel and veggie cream cheese with bacon could fix, so my mind was super not into the challenge. Would much rather have been vegging out on the sofa with PC and the puppies watching The Killing.  Not one to be defeated I ploughed on through to make the scones.  This was a new recipe for me and it's always tricky knowing whether it'll work out or not.  Luckily for me they actually turned out really well.  The roasted strawberries alone would be an amazing topping for cake or ice cream.

In preparation for the challenge I went out on Saturday to a few thrift stores to gather up some props for the shoot.  I picked up a few plates, teacups and fabrics for super cheap, some of which originally came from the UK so that was fun!

Throughout June, I did a couple of practice photo shoots for some brunch recipes | Pancakes and Courgette and Gorgonzola Frittata.  It was definitely good to have a go with the camera prior to this shoot and get a feel for the lighting and angles.  One of the main conditions of the challenge is to not touch up any of the photographs, so getting the lighting right is the key.  For me, I found that natural daylight gives me the best results for my photographs and I'm lucky that our apartment has double height windows and roof lights.  I'm not saying that I got the lighting spot-on at all but certainly for this shoot I felt it turned out well.

Our aim was to show a maximum of 5 images and even though I took around 400 photographs there really was only about 10 images out of them that I would have wanted to use.  I think the more I do this the pickier I get which can only be a good thing.  One thing this challenge is doing is making me appreciate the talent of all the many photographers out there. This really is a tough thing to do especially when you don't really know what you are doing :)  I'd love to take a photography course to gain a better understanding of the science behind it.  But for now I'll continue to do the challenge to help try to build my skills.

Next month, Table Setting.  I'm making a pact with myself not to leave it until the day before when I'll most likely be hungover again. :)

All comments on the photographs are welcome and please check out Redesigned by M and At the Corner of Happy and Harried posts too.


  1. Love your photo shoot!
    - Anjana @ At The Corner Of Happy And Harried.

  2. Hey Ginny! EXCELLENT work!! I don't think I would've been able to bake AND set up a styling shoot AND photograph it at all, let alone do such an amazing job, if I had been hungover. Love the mix of colors and different angles you played with. Please make sure to add Anjana (who commented above) to your list of participants as well. Thanks! See you around for next month's challenge! ~M.


  3. Ginny! The photos are gorgeous! And the food looks delicious too!!! I'll be trying these this week for sure. Though I'm sure mine won't look even half as amazing!

  4. Wow - great job Ginny. The scones look delicious and the pictures are fantastic. Can't believe this is only week one!


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