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.


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.


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.


Afternoon Tea with a Difference by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

I was delighted to be invited last week to be a guinea pig for a new concept for an afternoon tea at Sakana, a new Pan-Asian restaurant just off Deansgate in Manchester. The food was highly likely to be right up my street and I was also expecting something that would be interesting to photograph too.

As it turned out it wasn't just the food that was visually stunning (more on that shortly); the venue was spectacular too, with a giant steel Japanese maple as the focal point of the two tier restaurant.
The light up steel tree by local artist Sarah Gallagher, with my fellow guests Toni and Mark.
All the food is prepared in sight of the diners and it was great to see the chefs becoming excited about putting together this new Afternoon Tea menu.

Chefs preparing food at the sushi bar.
All the chefs gather round to see the Afternoon Tea presented on the platters. They were all taking photos of the new concept too!
Sue France of Scones, Jam & Cream was diligently making notes about our afternoon tea experience in her notebook (let's not mention the trapped notebook incident and diligent waiter crawling with his bum in the air to rescue it!).

Sue France, event organiser extraordinaire.
Back now to the main event, the Pan Asian afternoon tea of savoury and sweet sushi. When it was delivered to our table we must have spent at least ten minutes admiring and photographing it, as it was so beautifully and skilfully crafted. I'll let the photographs do the talking here.

3 tiers of deliciousness; 2 savoury and the top one sweet desserts.
Matcha Tiramasu on the top and Thai Vermicelli below.
From the top: Passionfruit Cheesecake, Duck, Pomegranate, Cucumber, Egg Roll, Futomaki Vegetable.
Not forgetting the stunning backdrop of the steel maple tree.
I can honestly say I loved all of it, but as I hadn't tasted many Asian desserts before (and having a bit of a sweet tooth), they were my favourite, especially the Coconut Macaroon and the Ginger Brûlée.

"Stop taking photos and let us start eating!"
What better way to round it all off then with a glass of Prosecco!

Afternoon tea at Sakana will be introduced soon at £15 per head including a selection of loose leaf tea. Prosecco is £5. We all agreed that it was well worth it as an afternoon tea with a real difference.
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A taste of Spain in Cheshire (by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Lamb stuffed aubergines with manchego cheese
Had a fab foodie and photography day yesterday in the Cheshire countryside. I've wanted to go on a cookery course for ages and the opportunity came out of the blue when I got the chance to bid for a ticket for the charity C.R.Y for Matthew via Redshift Radio founder, Liz Southall. Liz was also on the course along with Jamie, who is the "go to guy" if you have a problem with potholes! I bet he's kept busy!

Anyhow. we all had a fabulous day away from our normal day jobs (although Liz and I couldn't quite resist combining cooking with promoting and photographing respectively!). The course was held at Cheshire Cooks, Lakeside Barn close to Oulton Park. The venue is spectacular, purpose built for running cookery courses, as well as offering optional luxury accommodation with spa facilities.

Our course was "A Taste of Spain" and we cooked an astonishing 14 courses, including lots of tapas dishes, speciality bread, meringues and desserts. We were expertly guided by Philip Martin, who effortlessly had us kneading, rolling, chopping, stirring, mixing and laughing a lot! Lunch was, of course, delicious, as we ate some of what we had cooked so far, but there was far too much to scoff during the day so we left with very generous doggy bags (a crate full).

Few further words are required as I hope the photographs show what a fabulous time we all had.

Getting stuck in with bread making and baking

Learning lots of new skills

Reaping the rewards of our labours

Philip and James of Cheshire Cooks


50/50 project. #36/50 Cupcakes (by Cheshire photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 36. Cupcakes
50 days with a 50mm lens

Bit of a foodie theme this weekend with cupcakes from a charity cake sale today. A 12 year old girl in our village is well on the way to raising £2000 for a charity that her nan has set up to help a school in Kenya. Can't help but admire her energy and resolve - and baking skills!

The Mary Wood Trust
If you'd like to know more about the charity get in touch and I can give you details.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

50/50 project. #35/50. Churros. Nom nom (by Cheshire photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 35. Churros. Nom nom
50 days with a 50mm lens
It was foodie heaven at the Nantwich Food & Drink Festival this weekend and also a treat for me with lots of colourful food and people to photograph! Firm favourite with all four of us were the churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce, well worth the 20 minute wait in the queue.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

50/50 project. Day 31/50 !Yo Sushi (by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 31 !Yo Sushi

50 days with a 50mm lens

I've finally given up on my 50mm f/1.8 lens which has been struggling since I dropped it (it was knocked out of my hands by a boisterous puppy!). Focusing has been hit and miss and it's been making grating scratchy noises. With my birthday imminent I've been treated to the Canon 50mm f/1.4 today - a more grown up version - faster, quieter and with even more bokeh! So here's the first shot taken at my birthday lunch at !Yo Sushi. I had to wait ages for the conveyor belt to be full of dishes on both sides and almost had a Miranda moment with my scarf!

I thought the new lens deserved a try out on a serious camera so this was taken on the 5D Mk II.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

50/50 project #9/50 A la Turka (by Cheshire photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 9. A la Turka

50 days with a 50mm lens
Technical stuff: Canon 350D, 1/1000, f/2.0, ISO 100, Aperture Priority

The bright early evening sunshine was streaming into this turkish restaurant in Stockton Heath and I wanted to see how the camera coped with the very contrasty scene. I love the way the menu and glassware are lit by the sun. A few minutes later sun had moved and the menu was in shadow.

By the way we had a cracking meal there with great service. Really delicious food - starter and main course £12.95 and kids menu £4.95. Their dessert was a piece of art - complete with cherries drawn with chocolate and red berry sauce.

The bad news is that a very excited dog greeted us at home wearing a neck cone and he knocked my handbag onto the hard stone tiles. My 350d and Canon 50mm f/1.8 were in it and sadly the lens has broken :-(. So this may be its last shot.

My husband suggests I check out the 50mm f/1.4...

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Made in Cheshire

Dinner, bed and breakfast at a luxury country hotel and kids on sleepovers – fantastic! As soon as offspring and dog were despatched, we headed off to Nunsmere Hall Hotel with a guilty sense of freedom and anticipation of an evening of fine food and wine.

This was likely to be a bit of a busman’s holiday for me, having promised to take a few photographs of the food, as it was a rather special event – a Made in Cheshire evening with all the food sourced from within the county, even including staple ingredients such as flour and salt. As people gathered in the bar and on the terrace in the warm evening sunshine, they were offered a champagne flute of locally made, chilled cider. I, in the meantime, was nipping in and out of the kitchen photographing Chef for the evening, Mark Fletcher, putting the finishing touches to the canapés of scotch quails eggs and welsh toast. I did find time to sample both the cider and canapés and was very pleasantly surprised by just how refreshing and enjoyable cider can be, as an alternative to the more traditional champagne.

I had spent some time chatting with Mark, usually the Sous Chef at Nunsmere, but very much in charge of the Made in Cheshire evening, and he had told me with some pride how he had personally sourced all of the ingredients from suppliers within a thirty mile radius of Nunsmere Hall. He came into the bar to welcome the diners and to talk enthusiastically and humorously about the menu, despite being much more comfortable behind the scenes in the busy, hot kitchen. I don’t envy anyone working in such a heated and pressured environment – it would be my idea of hell – but the kitchen staff seem to thrive on it. Behind the swing doors it was noisy with the banging and clattering of pans, instructions were shouted across the kitchen, there were people rushing about and all seemed rather chaotic to me. But then as a course was plated up and Chef shouted “service!” suddenly all fell into place, waiters and waitresses appeared as if by magic and calmly ferried the dishes out to the dining room. Mark took a gulp of tea from his West Ham mug (I promised to fit in a mention!) and then moved onto preparing the next course.

Out in the restaurant everyone was enjoying the gazpacho with a selection of breads made from locally milled flour. This was followed by a visually stunning goat’s cheese and beetroot dish, which brought out the geek in my husband: “it’s a cone bisected by a plane, which would create an ellipse if sliced across...”. Personally I just thought it looked amazing and tasted divine! Each course was accompanied by a different wine and we had a lively conversation about how hard it is to find wine that tastes as good as those in a restaurant. I think we were underestimating the skill required to match wine with food and then serve it at the right temperature in the correct glass. The goat’s cheese was followed by trout caught locally.

By now my fellow diners and long suffering husband were getting used to me dashing away from the table between courses – at least the presence of my camera reassured them that I hadn’t just got a very weak bladder! In the kitchen the medallions of beef were being plated up and Mark’s two young sous chefs for the evening were carefully adding the vegetables. The attention to detail in the presentation of food never fails to amaze me – as an artist bends in concentration, nose almost touching the canvas, so a chef leans over each dish, carefully positioning each item and then adding jus or sauce with a flourish like a signature. The end result looked almost too good to eat, but you could soon hear the scraping of cutlery on empty plates and the rise in chatter that signals the end of a course. We were enjoying the company of the people around us, the majority being strangers to us beforehand. The couple next to us explained that they had bid for the Made in Cheshire Evening (plus bed and breakfast) at a charity auction, with Steven, at the time, under the illusion he was bidding for a balloon ride and egging on his partner, Jane, to bid increasingly higher!

As we enjoyed a short break before dessert, we could see a figure with a torch roaming around the edges of the garden and eventually setting up a white sheet and bright lamp on the lawn. This turned out to be Fungal Punk, a familiar figure at Nunsmere Hall, preparing for a late night moth hunt. I don’t know about anyone else, but in my experience a restaurant dinner has never been followed by a midnight search for Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies to you and me), but more on that in a moment! Dessert was a fruit salad served with locally made elderflower ice cream , followed by a fantastic selection of Cheshire cheeses. I could have grazed on the cheese and sipped port until bedtime but the moths were gathering outside to put on a show for us. Actually it turned out to be a little too late and a little too bright (almost full moon) for them and they had to be enticed out with a mixture of wine and treacle daubed on tree trunks. We must have made a strange sight weaving our slightly tipsy way through the tree line along the edges of the lawn, stopping to peer at moths and spiders in the light of Fungal Punk’s torch (the only torch (!) and we lost a few diners along the way!).

Back to the bar, laughing about our midnight walk and a quick brandy before bed. This was a delicious, fun, and very entertaining evening and nothing like hard work for me.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Nunsmere Hall Hotel

I first became acquainted with Nunsmere Hall Hotel when my husband booked a surprise overnight stay for our wedding anniversary in 2004. We enjoyed a delicious meal in an intimate dining room and loved our slightly quirky room with its own little staircase and very comfy and luxurious bed. The next morning it was very cold, clear and frosty and after breakfast we strolled around the gardens, taking photographs of the white coated lawns raked with long shadows from the line of trees in front of the lake. Little did I realise at that time that my career would take such a different direction that I would end up photographing the hotel in a professional capacity a few years later. Through my portrait work I met the manager of the hotel, Mark, and his family last year and have photographed them several times now, with the hotel making a spectacular location for the shoots. When we had the so called “snow events” in February Mark invited me to photograph the hotel and grounds and will be featuring the above shot on the cover of the 2009 winter brochure. Other shots have made it into Cheshire Life, one as an advertisement and another (see left) accompanying a feature on top Cheshire restaurants. Mark and his team at Nunsmere Hall are highly professional, but also very friendly and informal and I always enjoy my visits there, whether for business or for pleasure!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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