The Academy – A Creative Styling and Photography Workshop in France

Learning the art of creative styling and photography in a workshop in France.

The Academy in France with Heather Bullard / workshop in France - So Much Better With Age

Today I’m finally sharing with you my time at Heather Bullard’s The Academy, a Creative Styling and Photography workshop, the whole reason I went to France this year, the thing I was most excited about ALL YEAR and now I cannot wait to share this all with you today.

It is really overwhelming to come back from the ‘trip of a lifetime’ and sorting through 2500 photos. That’s right, 2459 photos I took during my two week stay in France and I’ve been to France twice before! But to be fair, this was a photography/creative styling course so taking photographs was mandatory.

Improving My Photography Skills

Heather Bullard has been like a celebrity blogger to me (you bloggers know what I mean!) so I’ve always admired her. I’ve been trying to improve my photography, and you know how much I love everything French…I’m guessing you can see a theme here on how my mind was pretty much blown away when she announced this amazing workshop.

So let’s begin in sharing all about The Academy!

Creative styling with cutting board and various food items.

Creative Styling and Photography – Day 1

When we arrived at the 13th century Chateau, we had beautiful welcome gifts on our beds. This kit is what Heather uses for carrying around her props for her photo shoots and she gave each of us one along with some styling props of course.

Styling a bag with a lilac bow.

Our class was in THE best location. On the grounds of the chateau was a farmhouse where Heather and Jill (assistant/chef) and Jill’s daughter Jaci (her photographer) all stayed. I did not get any full shot photos of it. But you can see here Stacie is knocking on the door of the farmhouse and I thought I’d snap a few shots.

An old stone rustic French farmhouse.

To the right, it expands into huge barn doors. When the barn doors are open, we can enter the classroom.

The front door to the farmhouse in France.

Here are the rustic doors to enter the barn. Keep going through the barn and you’ll go passed some glass doors into the exterior classroom.

A table set with a white tablecloth, wooden chairs and a large vase of wild flowers in the center.
All the women in chairs and wrought iron tables talking.

Here was my table. Jill is not only an assistant and a chef but also a calligrapher so she penned all our beautiful notebooks.

A wrought iron table with notebooks on it in France.

Another gift was awaiting for us!

A notebook and coffee.

The first day Heather showed Powerpoint slides of what creative styling is all about, how to gather inspiration, and technical aspects of photography such as:

rule of thirds / composition / use of light / negative space / angles / depth of field / mood / flow & movement / triangle / tangents / unrealistic attributes / props and textures.

Heather’s styling table alone was a feast for the eyes.

Table styling for photography.
There is a wooden crate on the table filled with rustic bread, fresh items from the garden.
Wooden bread boards are leaning up against the stone walls.
Fresh dates, sugar cubes, apples and salt on the table.
Unique stoneware dishes to put items in like fancy salt.
Wooden utensils in containers for photography.
French countryside china in blue and white with scissors and salt beside it.

After we had our instruction, we were then paired up with partners and were to grab a table and some props and begin styling for the shoot.

White table and wooden end tables on the porch.

We also had our own props as our VERY first day in France we went brocante shopping but I’ll be sharing more of that trip in another post.

We had lots of space to choose from like these stunning stone walls inside the covered shed area.

A covered stone area for styling for photography.
A French farmhouse table.

I used the props I purchased brocante shopping along with two of Heather’s little cups.

This was my first attempt.

French linen with a red stripe and flowers.
Pretty green glass and a little box with French writing on it.
Various bowls with white flowers.

It was a bit dark and moody but I wanted to lighten it up so I moved my table outside to the other side of the farmhouse.

There is an antique looking book on the table.

Heather came by to each of our ‘stations’ and helped critique it and checked our photos on our cameras.

I had too many tangents.

In about two seconds she moved things around to this:

A ball of string is on the linen tablecloth.

Of course it was perfect!

My partner Genevieve from Australia was a blast to be paired up with.

She just wanted to style one framed art piece that she purchased brocante shopping so Heather propped it up on this old wagon.

An old wooden wagon by a tree.

I pointed out that she had to be in the photo since her top was nearly identical to the art piece!

There is a French framed painting of flowers on the old wagon.

Here were some of the other girls’ creative styling shots.

(I was super jealous of the folding mirror Teresa found at the brocante!)

There is a table with old mirrors on it beside some scissors.
There are flowers on a wooden cabinet beside a cloth and pen in a well.
A picnic basket is beside a wooden cutting board with a plate and bread on it.
A table with linen on it and bread and apples.

Each time we had a meal, it was just amazing. Even this simple sandwich lunch was incredible.

Two large crate barrels with a wooden board and food items on it.
All the food items on the table.
Sandwich styling and large wooden bowls filled with chips.
Subway style sandwiches on a metal tray.

So tomorrow I’m sharing with you Day 2 of our Creative Styling & Photography class so hope you can stick around!

Click to See All My France Posts:

My Trip to France – Heather Bullard’s The Academy – A Creative Styling Workshop

My Trip to France - Heather Bullard's The Academy graphic.
Heather Bullard's The Academy in France / So Much Better With Age.

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  1. What a most INCREDIBLE place!….A few years ago, I went on a wonderful trip with fellow bloggers to Normandie…the hostess was Cat of Sunday Brocantes. I cannot imagine how wonderful your trip was with Heather Bullard….Your photographs are exquisite!!! The chateau is beyond amazing! Thanks for taking us along on your trip…looking forward to seeing more of it!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Shirley. It really was a trip of a lifetime. I’m glad you’re enjoying these post.
      Hugs, Jamie

  2. How is the lighting in all of your photos SO perfect!? Not to mention all of the gorgeous rustic details of the chateau!? I can’t wait to ready more about your incredible trip!

  3. What an amazing class! The face that it’s in France is just a wonderful bonus. It looks like you are all learning a lot and your photography is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us at Merry Monday this week!

  4. Wow! What an incredible opportunity. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and giving some information about the composition and styling tips behind them.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

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