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.


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.


Pub food photography to make your mouth water - at the George & Dragon in Holmes Chapel

We are so lucky to have so many great pubs in Cheshire - we really are spoilt for choice. But how do we decide which one to go to? If you're like us you take a quick look at some websites and go with one that catches your eye. And the way that smart thinking pubs do that is by having pictures that make it look like a lovely place to spend an hour or two, relaxing, chatting over a few drinks and some delicious food.

It's obvious really isn't that the photographs should be very attractive, projecting an ambience and standard that draws customers through their doors. Images of food should make your mouth water and encourage you to click on to the booking and "how to find us" pages.

This is exactly what I wanted to deliver for the George and Dragon in Holmes Chapel, a large and popular pub situated right in the heart of the village. I'd been there a few times and really like the fact that it has a cosy, intimate atmosphere in the bar, where you can enjoy a bar snack.  Part of the bar is dog friendly and there are some doggy regulars who enjoy a bit of a fuss as you walk by! There is a large conservatory for a slightly more formal dining experience. There's also a large outdoor terrace for warmer weather.

I spent the day with the staff at the pub, photographing their entire new Autumn / Winter menu. We had planned the day well together to ensure it ran as smoothly as possible. The food was photographed in different locations inside and outside of the pub, depending on the mood we wished to convey.

The team at the George and Dragon are very friendly and we had a really enjoyable and successful day. Managers Chris and Martin were on hand all day and ensured I had everything I needed and got chance to sample the dishes from time to time. I worked very closely with the chef, Billy, as it was, after all, he who had prepared, cooked and skilfully plated every dish.

At the end of a busy afternoon Chris' grandson came in for his tea and modelled beautifully for a shot to promote the George and Dragon as a family friendly pub.

I'm looking forward to going back to the George and Dragon to do some more photography in a few weeks time. I'm also going to teach some of the staff how to take photographs of the food for social media. Now that's what I call switched on! 

Chelsea Buns and a spot of food photography

I love Chelsea buns - that lovely sweet, stretchy bread, caramelised brown sugar, delicate cinnamon and fruity sprinkles of raisins! Still warm from the oven and perfect with a cup of coffee, or a glass of cold milk if you are my 12 year old son!

I surprised the family with these, as I am rarely seen in the kitchen baking from scratch. My husband, Nic, is a great cook and finds it relaxing, so we have a long established habit of letting him rule the roost in terms of food shopping and cooking. I can cook the old student staples of spag bol, cottage pie, chilli con carne, lasagne and toad in the hole, but my confidence runs out beyond that. I recently went on a Taste of Spain cookery course and discovered that I can cook (find out what delights I made in a separate post about this). This newly discovered confidence and interest, along with a massive love of food photography, has given me a new zest for home baking.

I won't pretend to be perfect or experienced, far from it, but I thought it might broaden the appeal of these foodie posts, if they extend beyond nice photographs of food and share the recipes  I use too.

So, here goes, my first proper foodie recipe post.


For the enriched white dough:
500g strong white plain flour
1 tsp fast acting dried yeast
100g mixed dried fruit
2 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 medium eggs
200ml water

For sprinkling on the rolled out dough:

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp golden syrup

We have a bread machine and have worked out that the 45 minute pizza dough setting creates an amazing and versatile bread dough. So Nic chucked in all the ingredients (except the currants, which should have gone in at this stage) and left it to do its thing. It was sat in there for a good hour or so after the programme finished and had already risen quite bit when I got it out (1).

I knocked the dough about a bit and then rolled it out into an oblong approx 20x50cm (2). In hindsight I should have rolled it a bit thinner and bigger, as my buns were quite chunky!

I then sprinkled the sugar and currants on (better late than never to include them!) and drizzled with the honey and golden syrup (3 & 4). I rolled the dough into a long sausage and sliced into 5cm mini sausages with a very sharp knife (5).

I placed the individual sections into an ovenproof dish that would give them plenty of space to expand (6) and then left them to rise for about another hour (7). I baked them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they were golden brown and firm on the top.

At this stage you could brush them with a little glaze of sugar dissolved in water or alternatively apricot jam for a slightly stickier option!

Once they'd cooled for a short while I transferred them to a wire tray (8) and a little while later separated them into individual buns by pulling them apart and then dusted them with icing sugar. Et voila!

They were a real hit, especially with Sam, who was quite cross with me this morning when I told him he couldn't have one for breakfast as they'd all gone! Will definitely be making these again soon.

I offer commercial photography services, including food, on an hourly, half day or full day basis. I can shoot in a purpose built natural light studio or on location. If you would like to have a chat about your photography requirements please get in touch.

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