Heart to Heart ~ Helene Dujardin of Tartelette

As bloggers, photographers (beginning, amateur, advanced, whatever the skill level may be) and even readers, I am sure each one of us has someone or many whom we look up to for inspiration and learning.

Heart to Heart as a series brings out interviews of such hugely talented, immensely creative and accomplished people. People who inspire others by being who they are, doing what they do and how they do it all. One such gifted photographers whose work I am an ardent fan of, right from the beginning of my blogging days (and I’m quite certain even you might be!) is none other than Helene Dujardin of Tartelette.

Who does not know the beauty of Helene’s photographs in the food blogging world? If you happen to be one of the few who aren’t yet acquainted, I strongly recommend that you reserve several hours, for once you start browsing through her photographs, you’ll never know how time flies!

Thank you lovely Helene for taking time out of your super busy schedule while juggling life in two cities.. I am incredibly happy that this interview is finally a reality!

Enough of my ranting raving, I’ll let Helene do the magic..

HeleneDujardin_Headshot

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Got Lucky | Plate to Pixel Photography Workshop

I was having a bit of a starting trouble with this post, otherwise it shouldn’t have taken this long to see the light of the world-wide web. Anyways, after much typing, erasing and re-typing I could at last come up with this.
In the middle of last week on Wednesday, July 6th I was at a photography workshop one timezone away from where I live, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The turn of events that flew me to this awesome event is an interesting story, which I thought is worth this post.
If one has been blogging even for a little while, it is not only hard to not take notice of but also equally difficult to not adore the beautiful blog Tartelette and its immensely talented creator Helene Dujardin. Her blog is bejeweled with a ton of beautifully made photographs and each one speaks a thousand words. Little wonder that I instantly fell in love with her photography, like the gazillion others in the blogging universe.
{Helene Dujardin of Tartelette}
Quite naturally when she released her photography book “Plate to Pixel” recently, I wanted a copy too. And if it could come as a giveaway, why not?  Twitter is very resourceful for such things, where it is much easier to learn about such giveaways. So, I religiously left comments, tweeted about and followed every other instruction that the blog give away rules stated on the umpteen blogs I must have tried my luck at, crossing all my fingers and toes each time. The last one of them was a giveaway on Foodiecrush – a spot in the photography workshop for FREE to learn personally from Helene herself only for a small set of 12 students, sounding too good to be true.
Later one day, when I was routinely analyzing my stats (which every upcoming blogger does very diligently,  I’m sure!), I noticed a sizable number of hits coming from “and-the winner-of-the-tartelettehele-dujardin-photo-workshop-is” and that is how I discovered that the winner was none other than “just home made”, ahem me! 
I was at home with my little girl at that time and ecstatic or giddy with excitement I lifted her up and swirled away like a nincompoop and screamed “yes” “yes” “yes”. I stopped it soon enough though, when she gave me the “what’s wrong with mommy” look. My joy knew no bounds and I literally pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t day dreaming!
Heidi Larsen, the author of Foodiecrush and sponsor for the photography workshop was extremely generous and understanding. She not only gave away a spot in the workshop but also a place for me to stay in her own house, when travelling all the way from Houston to Salt Lake City for a single day right after the July 4th weekend seemed unreasonable. I was humbled by her act of kindness and so thankful for blogging, for it made me new friends from the virtual world in the real.
The place where I stayed was picturesque with lovely green mountains in the back drop. If one has never been to SLC, it is impossible to imagine its natural beauty with the salt lake on one side and the snow-capped mountains on the other. With such a place to live in, every day might seem like a vacation!
Heidi did a fantastic job of organizing the event from start to finish. A lovely venue with plenty of natural light, at the bottom of cottonwood canyons, a pampering goodie bag (with gourmet mini cake, artisan chocolate, BareMinerals make up, pen and notepad with one of Helene’s photographs as the front page, all in a cute braided straw bag), yummy food (I had Four cheese Ravioli) and challenging food to photograph.
Don’t forget to read on recap of the event as Heidi sees it.

{Helene, focused}
Workshop byHelene Dujardin of Tartelette and author of the book Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography and Styling
Organized byHeidi Larsen of Foodie Crush online magazine
VenueMarket Street Grill, Cottonwood
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendees: 13
{Helene twirls the spaghetti methodically in preparation for the shoot}
Three words about Helene: meticulous, gifted, persistent
Here are some of the tips she shared with us, thought you could use them too:
  • Let food be the star, use props to weave a relevant story. For instance, use of fine china with a homey comfort food makes it seem out-of-place.
  • Use simple white foam core boards to bounce light. Similarly black boards to cut out light or reflections.
  • Quality of the pictures depends on the direction and quality of light. what kind/brand of camera you own doesn’t really matter.
  • Study other’s well made photographs. Do not copy, but take the idea with you.
  • Her food styling kit contains tweezers, cotton buds, brush, straw, water spray
Did you know? Helene shot with a point and shoot camera up until 2 years back.

Here are the other passionate bloggers who came to learn. All of them except me were local.

 {Helene, Maria of Twopeasandtheirpod, Me and Heidi of Foodiecrush}

{A picture with Sasha, we shared the same table along with similar photography interests}
After the workshop, I got to shop around for some cool props with Heidi’s help. Can’t wait to bring them out on the blog.
Last but not the least, here’s my most cherished souvenir from the trip.

 To me, it was much more than just a photography workshop. When you meet people like Helene, their passion, spirit and energy rubs off as an undying inspiration!

Hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I did narrating…
Now, tell me a little about your favorite food photographer. Who inspires you the most? 

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