About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

Mornflake: The Oat Project

Oat broth with honey soy salmon by Oatopia
I've had the most amazing time this Summer working with one of the oldest family-owned brands in the UK, Mornflake Oats. It's been really hard not to talk about it, but I've had to keep it under wraps until recently, as I was photographing a top secret project!

The Oat Project is a marketing initiative working with Instagram and YouTube influencers - that's people who have gazillions of followers. The influencers were invited into the Mornflake Mill Kitchen to make some of their favourite recipes using Mornflake oats. Warble Entertainments created videos of the recipes and I did the still photography of the influencers and the food.

Having tasted all of the recipes, I can highly recommend them. You can find them all on the Mornflake website in the Recipe section.

I still get a buzz from seeing my images on clients' websites.

Here are just a few of the shots from the four days (I still can't release some others as they aren't public yet), but keep checking into the Mornflake site or Instagram periodically to watch for new recipes.

The guys from @Oatopia1
Chocolate pudding with whisky infused raspberry compote by @Oatopia1

Banana, blueberry and oat bran muffins by @Healthy_twists

@Gains4Girls sample one of their recipes
If you have a food-related business and need some mouth-watering images please get in touch and also take a look at my food portfolio. More recent images can also be found on my Instagram feed.

I also run workshops and offer one to one tuition in Food Styling and Photography. Details can be found on the Love Your Lens website.


Much more than just coffee - Barista workshop at Food Sorcery Didsbury

I LOVE coffee! I also love the cafe culture and scene that has ever growing popularity in our towns and cities. I consider myself a bit of a coffee snob, looking down on the national and global chains, preferring the superior coffee taste and ambience offered by the independent coffee shops. However, I met some serious hard core coffee lovers today (I can't tell you what they thought of my admission to owning a Nespresso machine) and I learned an enormous amount about the ritual of brewing a proper cup of coffee.

I booked a place on Food Sorcery's Barista Workshop as I wanted to learn how to make a latte that would look great on my food photography shots (more on this later). The workshop took place at their cookery school in Didsbury and was led by Gavin aka @brewxtillxdeath on Instagram. Gavin has been making and serving coffee for almost twenty years and has opened his own coffee shops, the latest being in Lloyds Bank in Manchester.

He started us off with a cold brew, served with ice and tonic water. Bizarre but I'm told very refreshing and increasingly popular (I have had an aversion to cold coffee ever since a childhood rough sea trip mixed with strong cold coffee ended badly).

Luckily for me we quickly moved on to various ways of brewing hot coffee. Well, when I say 'quickly' it was a lot more involved than chucking a Nespresso capsule into the machine and frothing some milk!

Making the perfect cup of coffee involves weighing, grinding, timing and lots of equipment I've never seen before. It was a new world of coffee jargon and techie gadgets that my husband would have loved!

Who knew that you needed special scales ("the sort drug dealers use to precision weigh their product" quipped an innocent-looking Australian lady...) to weigh out 18g per cup?

We were also introduced to a V60 and a specialist kettle with a gooseneck spout for targeted pouring. My Christmas list grew longer as the workshop went on.

Gavin shared lots of great tips on where to buy the best coffee beans from and then how to combine the right amount of ground coffee and water to get the taste just right. We learned that we had to 'bloom' the coffee, time the 'extraction time' to perfection and 'stretch' the milk.

We all had a go at steaming the milk and then at creating latte artwork... with varying degrees of success. I'd love to say that the above tulip was my own work but unfortunately my 'masterpiece' required some artistic license to interpret.

I am still slightly wired by all the coffee I drank this morning, but would highly recommend this workshop to any coffee-heads or would-be baristas. I don't think there's anything Gavin doesn't know about coffee and he's extremely passionate about it, as evidenced by his tattoo.

At home I had a go at my own latte art using my totally unsuitable Nespresso machine. Needless to say it was less than impressive. However, I've decided to blame the weather, as I was told by an expert today that the weather does affect coffee! It will be a while before my latte art will be good enough to grace my food photography shots. Until then I'll leave it to the experts!

I'm running a workshop at Food Sorcery in September, where you will get the opportunity to cook, photograph and eat Mexican food! To book and for more information click here.


Say cheese! Capturing the close partnership between a Yorkshire dairy farm and an award winning cheesemonger

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a wonderful cheesemongers in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The Courtyard Dairy is a specialist cheese shop and cafe, selling thirty varieties of cheese from the UK and continental Europe.

Kathy and Andy Swinscoe
The owners, Kathy and Andy Swinscoe, are passionate about promoting and supporting the few remaining independent farmhouse cheese makers in Yorkshire.

They have formed a strong partnership with Tom and Clare Noblet of Whin Yeats Dairy Farm, about ten miles away.

The photography brief was to convey the story of the two  businesses and to promote their locally made farmhouse cheese.

We visited Whin Yeats Dairy Farm and were warmly welcomed by Tom and Clare and their four children. The working day on a dairy farm is hard, with 5am starts and no real time off, but the couple were very laid back and their children delighted in their 'giant playground'. They take part in daily chores like feeding the lambs and know the names of the many cattle.

In the milking parlour
Life on the farm at Whin Yeats

Tom and Clare produce two varieties of unpasteurised, pressed, cloth bound cheeses that are both sold at the Courtyard Dairy. Whin Yeats is one of just two farms in Yorkshire that produce farmhouse cheeses.

Andy and Kathy are very passionate about the cheeses they stock in their shop and use in their cafe and it's fair to say that cheese is their life.


People do business with people. Use your commercial portraits to make them want to do business with you.

Think of commercial portraits and the first thing that will probably pop into your head is a head and shoulders shot of someone in a suit against a plain background. This is a somewhat outmoded and clinical way of introducing yourself and your team to prospective clients.

Far better to have photographs that convey the culture of the business and personalities of you and your team. The images still project professionalism and expertise but, in addition, they start the process of building a relationship before the clients have even met you.

This is exactly why Clare and Bill approached me to take a series of pictures of them for their consulting business. They have a great working relationship and it didn't take much to get them to relax and enjoy the photo shoot. They both had a number of really awful jokes up their sleeves, hence the laughter. 

Here are a few examples of the images they now have with which to entice new customers - a good mix of fun, working shots and some non-stuffy 'headshots.' 

Many thanks to the beautiful Mere Court Hotel, Knutsford Cheshire for providing the location.

If you'd like me to work with you on your lovely products or service, get in touch so that we can arrange to have a chat.


Getting creative with gigantic crisps - Slabs by Great Food Affairs

I think it's fair to say these are no ordinary crisps! They are called SLABS and as soon as you open the packet you can see why! They are much bigger and thicker than any crisps I have had the pleasure of snacking on.

Their size and thickness makes them ideal for eating with dips, spreads, pate, cheese etc and this is what the client, Great Food Affairs, wanted to convey via the imagery. So I set about creating a series of photographs for the website and promotional materials, that would stimulate the consumers' imaginations. I styled serving suggestions that differentiated SLABS from the humble crisp.

If you'd like me to work with you on your lovely products or service, get in touch so that we can arrange to have a chat.


Brownies and bad jokes with artisan bakers Bowl and Whisk

Rachel and Janet approached me late last year and asked me to photograph tray bakes for their new start up business Bowl and Whisk. They had had the innovative idea of baking delicious brownies and flapjacks on their Cheshire farm and selling them online all over the country.

I jumped at the chance of working with them, as they represented my perfect client: passionate, friendly people with a beautiful product. From the outset they wanted stunning images that would not only sell their tasty treats, but also convey their story as artisan bakers.

Over the last few months I've had the pleasure of working with this mother and daughter team, both in the kitchen on their picturesque farm and in my studio.

Trays of deliciousness waiting for me to photograph them!
I may have sampled a few varieties, to feed my creative juices!

Rachel and Janet have a lovely relationship, with a great deal of affection and joking, which comes across in the shots I took of the two of them together.

We laughed a lot during this shot, with some very bad jokes supplied by Rachel's dad (off stage right!)

These are the very kind words written by Rachel about their experience of us working together:

We are a start-up online bakery business and Jane created all of the fanastic images on our website. We are so pleased with all of the photographs - they are everything that we had hoped for and more! Jane's' collection of food styling props are absolutely gorgeous, and really bring the images to life, together with Jane's keen eye for detail and colour.
Jane is experienced, organised, very supportive and enthusiastic, and generally great fun to be around! Jane was a pleasure to work with and we would have no hesitation in recommending her work. 
We look forward to working with Jane again!

Here are just a few of the images I've styled and photographed for their website, social media and packaging materials.

It was especially rewarding to see my images taken right through to the packaging and printed promotional material.

Packaging designed by Farm Creative

And Rachel and Janet have a bank of lovely images to use for their social media over the coming months too.

The brand new Bowl and Whisk website is now live. So head over to drool over the gorgeous bakes and to see more of the images.

If you'd like me to work with you on your lovely products or service, get in touch so that we can arrange to have a chat.


" It's Good" to work with beautiful products! A second product shoot with a favourite commercial client.

I started working with Wendy Taylor, the founder of It's Good Shopping Shopping last Autumn and immediately fell in love with her ethically sourced range of products. Read about this shoot and see her Autumn Winter 2016 products. So I was very pleased to be asked to shoot the new Spring Summer 2017 range, with the beautiful Botanist in Alderley Edge as the location once more.

To emphasise the change in seasons we utilised outdoor spaces more and the rustic furniture provided the perfect backdrop.

Scarves, wraps   in different weights, fabrics and glorious colours are a main feature of the new range, with lightweight and versatile Haman towels a new addition.

We really felt that to do some of the garments justice we really needed a model and it really paid off with these beautiful shots.

Once again I was very tempted to ask for payment in scarves and bags instead of money!

Good quality photography is absolutely essential to succeed with an online shop and Wendy was wise to get it done professionally. The It's Good Shopping website looks fabulous and she also has a large number of images in reserve for her social media throughout the season.

If you'd like to have a chat with me about your photography requirements please get in touch and we can arrange to meet up.


Family photo shoots for precious lasting memories

Gosh I really am late posting about this fantastic photo shoot aren't I?! You can probably tell from the thick carpet of leaves that this was shot in the Autumn (early November 2016 actually). 

I've been meaning to share the images for ages as all the elements came together to produce some gorgeous images; the sun was shining and gave us one of those crisp autumnal days that drives us out into the fresh air, seeking leaves to kick around. And the afternoon light was stunning, flattering and kind to faces and creating golden backgrounds.

This family of five are enjoying some of their last years as a unit dwelling under the same roof. Soon the eldest daughter will be off to university, followed in a few years by her younger siblings. It was the perfect moment to capture them all together and create some lasting memories.

To find out more or to book your family photo shoot contact me (Jane) for a chat.


Cheers! Raising a glass to my latest commercial photography assignment.

I do like a glass of wine... or two... so I was very excited to be approached by a Manchester-based wine grower and importer - Boutinot. I was doubly thrilled to learn that they wanted photographs that would tell their story as a company with a genuine "family culture." They embrace their staff, growers, suppliers, merchants, clients and wholesalers as part of the Boutinot family.

If you've been reading my blog lately you'll have realised that my favourite assignments involve using photography as a vehicle to tell a brand's story. It's not only about the product, but the people who are involved in creating it and the place(s) where they work. This kind of photography gets me really excited and is extremely rewarding. It allows me to be more creative and to get to know the brand and people inside out. The resulting images are more heartfelt, real and engaging.

The Boutinot offices immediately convey a sense of the culture as the above collages show. No stuffy corporate decor here and bottles of wine everywhere! These images were not part of my first assignment but I'm really glad I grabbed them quickly on my camera phone (the amazing Samsung Galaxy S7).

My actual brief was to photograph two of the year's most important events: 1) an evening reception for growers and producers from around the world, at the new Boutinot head office in Cheadle; and 2) the annual wine tasting event at the Lancashire Cricket Ground in Manchester.

The evening reception at Boutinot
The photography style was to be informal, candid and to reflect the Boutinot culture. With the wine flowing and corks popping at the evening event this was easy to achieve!

The annual wine tasting event the following day was an eye-opener for me... no one actually drank any of the wine! The corks still popped and gallons of wine were poured, but the tasting itself was a serious business. Noses were thrust into glasses, wine was swirled around and held up to the light. Finally it was rolled around in the mouth for several long moments and then a few paces to the spittoon to dispatch it. Notes were made in the wine tasters notebook and then it was on to the next one. Sniff, look, taste, spit, repeat.

Images from the annual wine tasting event at The Point, Manchester

I loved this assignment... and not just because it involved wine (and a tiny bit of sampling once I had clocked off!), but more because it jelled so well with the direction in which I am taking my business - the importance of story telling with images. People deal with people and want to trust the organisations they do business with, and ultimately enjoy it too. Photographs go a long way towards reflecting the ethos and culture of a business.

I am a commercial and portrait photographer based in Cheshire. I also run photography workshops and one to one lessons for private individuals and businesses. Get in touch to discuss any of your photography requirements.


Use the power of pictures to tell your story

I love photographing people who come to me and ask for "more than just a headshot." They have realised the power of images to promote themselves, their brand and their story.

Sarah Pickles wanted to go one big step further and write her story about fighting stage three breast cancer  and as part of that process she wanted images that would show her personality and most importantly, inspire others to fight too.

Sarah's sense of style - fashion and beauty - are also key to her brand and how she promotes her beauty school and it was essential that the photographs captured that too.

The beautiful vintage decor at Violet's Vintage Teas
It was obvious from the start that we needed a unique venue for the shoot, somewhere with a strong authentic vintage look and we were very lucky to be able to use a beautiful private home that is the secret location for Violet's Vintage Teas. Aside from providing the perfect location for the shoot, it gave us our theme of a vintage afternoon tea (and of course cream cake and cups of tea to keep us going!)

Cake home made by Violet's Vintage Teas
It can be quite hard to be in front of the lens but Sarah was a natural and we also found that it helped to role play! I think we probably got a bit carried away with pretending that Sarah was a high society lady telling me all the gossip (made up of course!). Here are some of my favourite shots from the shoot.

This lovely photograph (below) is Sarah's official headshot and has been used on the front of Vita magazine - the national magazine for breast cancer care and is also on the back of Sarah's book.

CREDITS: Sarah's book "The Shock Factor - Sarah's Story: beating breast cancer one day at a time" is out now and available from Amazon. I love that a very good mutual friend of ours was editor, proof reader  and mentor to Sarah on this book: Sian-Elin Flint-Freel. Huge thanks also to Violet's Vintage Teas for opening up their beautiful home to us. 
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