Last week I flew north to Grafton to host a couple of workshops for the Clarence Valley Council. It was THE BEST.
Louise Gumb, Destination Management Officer for the council had contacted me a couple of months earlier to see if I would come and do a 1/2 day My Open Kitchen workshop on Iphonography and visual storytelling. It was to be free for members of the council’s business group and part of a series of business development courses they are providing to support local, predominately owner-operated, family businesses.
The workshop was hosted at Brushgrove village’s lovely old hall and the 25-strong group included everyone from cafe owners to personal trainers, real estate agents to cooks and specialist food producers.
In our three hours together, we covered why it’s so important to tell your story effectively on social media, what this looks like in practice, how to take, caption and share photos that will stand out and all the opportunities and benefits that flow from being a great visual storyteller in this crazy busy social media-mad world. I presented on all of the above, we went through some worksheets then spent an hour shooting different scenes together then editing our photos and planning how we would caption and share them.
I asked everyone to bring along a few props – things they make, grow or that represent their business or story. And we also had some lovely local blooms to shoot as well – thank you so much Flowers by Bonnie!
A few of you lovely people have commented via Instagram that you’d be keen to have a workshop like this in your neck of the woods. I’d like to help with that. So maybe you could send the link to this blog post to your local council business development officer/boss/organisation/mover-and-shaker-person and they might read the above and all the feedback below and think ‘hmm…interesting…we should do one of these workshops and get our foodies, farmers, producers and small business owners together so Sophie can show them how to tell their story better on social media and grow their businesses and in turn our regional communities etc etc. And so we can all bond and have nice times together. Two birds. One photogenic stone.’
If you or they want to discuss and get more information about all of this, you could email me at [email protected]
“It was so wonderful to be in Brushgrove Hall yesterday for Sophie Hansen’s @locallovely iphonography workshop. Sophie was so great sharing her vast knowledge on photography, quick editing tools, composition, communication and social media know how. The MCVB workshops are for our local businesses, to learn from some of the best in the country. By up-skilling their business knowledge is beneficial not only for individual businesses but for the whole region and the visitors that come here. Ps. I just have to say I love our Clarence Valley halls. They create a space that feels so familiar, so much like childhood memories, something like home. Being there yesterday with mostly strangers didn’t seem to matter. Everyone in the kitchen chatting, drinking tea and triangle sandwiches on the deck. It was really special. I can’t explain it.” Louise Gumb, Clarence Valley Council
“A new week begins. I had the most lovely time on the weekend at a workshop with Sophie Hansen from @locallovely@myopenkitchen. It was held in the gorgeous old Brushgrove Hall in a little village on an island in the middle of the Clarence River. Our river. A little lost village, a place that time forgot, where the houses stand tall on timber stilts, like those intriguing stilt walkers preparing for the show, a telltale sign of the floods that have swept through in years gone by. We learnt about capturing pictures and storytelling and knowing your ‘why’. And it got me thinking, what is my why? ….To tell stories it seems. To send them up into the sky and let them fall where they may. To spark the imagination of perhaps just one person in a world far away. And to give a voice to the many wonderful people and stories that deserve to be told. Truth be told I don’t know if I do it well or if I’m doing it the right way at all, but that’s not what ‘why’ is about is it? So now I’m wondering, when you have time to sit and dream, what is your ‘why’?” Justine Mcclymont
“Huge thank you to all involved in the organization of the workshop! Huge three cheers to all that came along! You were both engaging and brave. Massive thank you, hugs all around to Sophie for travelling a distance to get to our little corner of the world to share her knowledge and expertise and help us grow our businesses through social media and develop a like-minded community. Sophie, you’re a delight!” Yum Yum Angourie Cafe and Local Store
“What a fabulous afternoon I had today, listening to the ever inspiring Sophie Hanson @locallovely. Learning tips on how to take the perfect pic, and keeping our content exciting for you all” Ashley, Active Nourishment
Scroll on through below for more photos, comments and social media posts about the workshop.
We played around with flat lays and vignettes with all the props and produce our participants brought along.
This beautiful lady is Meme from Yum Yum Angourie General Store. She and her daughter Morgan came along with a huge basket of props to play with, and most exciting for me – a well used copy of my book Local is Lovely.
And because I’m never one to pass up a chance to take pretty photos in ‘the golden hour’ we took turns posing and shooting into the sun.
One of our participants even brought along a tin of shortbread made by his wife, a fan of the blog – how awesome is that! They were made with fresh eggs and homegrown passionfruit and were incredible. The recipe is here.
The second workshop I ran was for council staff only – we talked about how to take strong photos of people, places and events. Plus how to use flat lays and other story telling tools to really communicate on social media in the most engaging way possible. Here’s what the council’s Communications Coordinator David Bancroft said about that;
“We had about 20 people – including aged and disability workers, library staff, community development team members and natural resource management staff – attend Sophie’s workshop at the Clarence Valley Council. Despite being such a diverse group, there was something in her presentation for everyone and I know each attendee was keen to put their new skills into practice. I am confident the quality of the material we present to the public will be improved markedly as a result.