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July 12, 2023

Flowery notes from a sunny June

June arrived on a wave of early sunrises and long airless nights. Summer happened before we had even got used to the idea of Spring. And now we are half way through July. The intense heat so early in the summer season meant the first flush of roses were sweeter and bigger than ever and I’ve never seen Boscobel looking so pretty and peachy. Time for a little styled portrait with Queen of Sweden and a few geum stems to start the summer season.

Garden roses in a cream vase

A floral Portrait

In mid June Leigh Chappell and I held our Floral Portrait Workshop with 8 lovely attendees who all wanted to join us at Strawberry Hill House for a creative day of floral design and photography.

It was the most perfect June day to be outside in the garden in harmony with nature. Set in a leafy glade, the white walls of the house created an idyllic backdrop for all the pretty seasonal florals and summery dresses.

Flower design at strawberry hill house at a summer flower workshop

Leigh showed everyone how she creates a meadow-esque bowl design using a kenzan and chickenwire to anchor the stems. Andy from The Chobham Flower Garden supplied the florals and I adored this bowl designed by Kara of Floral Odyssey using garden roses, cosmos, orlaya, sweet peas and roses.

woman in front of a shell seat at Strawberry Hill House workshop

The chippy iconic shell seat in the the garden made for a perfect backdrop to a bowl of summer florals. Here Poppy from Flowers from the Kitchen adjusts a stem or two. Lilian from Lilians Flower Diary chose a paired back colour palette for her stunning meadowy design (below).

One to One tuition

I love sharing my love of photography and how I create my imagery. This is what I teach at my floral workshops, but am happy to travel and work with people on their home ground. Learning to read the light and taking photos in your own space goes a long way to successful imagery. Last month I travelled to Lancashire to visit Kirstie of Kirstie Gilman flowers. She has the most beautiful light filled Victorian home in which to photograph her work.

The kitchen was the perfect starting point. So gorgeous bathed in natural light and opening on to a south facing sunny terrace that I wouldn’t want to leave. Kirstie had made a beautiful urn design and we explored how best to style it. Brimming with English roses it looked beautiful both inside and outside in the garden. With such a large design it only needed a a candle or the odd bud vase to soften the overall image. What you leave out is just as important as what to include. I always like to let the main subject be the star of the show.

Garden flowers in an urn

Finding the light

Kirstie wanted to identify various places around her home that would work well with her luxurious and elegant florals. The light is always moving so it really is a case of studying it at various times of the day. It will change depending on the weather and season. Notice how the light falls on a subject and the colour tones and shadows created. Side light is always good and with the big floor to ceiling windows we were able to find some ideal places for a flat lay and bouquet shot. It’s always good to experiment with the distance from the light source. Further away from the light means a moodier, shadowy image.

I always love a chair as place to shoot flowers. Perfect to show scale and structure in contrast to the softness of a floral bouquet. Kirstie said of our day “Janne’s direction helped me find greater focus and understanding of my floral handwriting and style. We created some really beautiful imagery whilst learning when and where the best light sources are around my home.”

Dahlia Days workshop with Claire Sutton

My next workshop is with Claire of Fig and Fern Floral on October 3rd 2023. Join Claire and I to celebrate the Queens of the Autumn garden at her home near Louth in Lincolnshire. Claire is an experienced florist with a whimsical and natural style and her garden studio and home are surrounded by farmland, an inspiring venue to host a workshop. You will each create a bowl design with dahlias and complimentary fillers and accent flowers. After one of Claire’s delicious lunches we’ll explore how to take beautiful images of of the arrangements both in and outside discussing composition, natural light and backdrops. You can read about our Spring workshop here

Dahlia Days workshop details

Orange dahlias in a bowl at a flower workshop

Tuesday 3rd October 2023 10-4pm

Louth, Lincolnshire

£280 (to include light lunch and cake, bowl, kenzan and all flowers)

Maximum of 6 places available

Please bring a camera or Iphone to take your own photographs

Contact Claire to secure you place: claire@figandfern.co.uk

Floral Styling and photography

  1. Kiki says:

    Such beautiful flowers and arrangements! And I’m sure the backdrop is an extra bonus when taking pics of those beauties.

    Someday I must time one of my trips to the UK with one of your workshops 🙂

    • Janne Ford says:

      Hi Kiki. Thank you for your kind comment and I hope one day you can join us on a workshop. Janne

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