Food Photography & Styling Workshop July 22-24 | Gradara, Italy


2 whole days of intimate, hands on lessons and examining what exactly makes an intriguing, beautiful story.
{register} email bettysliu07 [ at] or hortuscuisine [at] to reserve your spot. Email now to ensure your spot!

I’m so excited to be joining the talented, wonderful storytellers Betty Liu of Le jus d’Orange and Valentina of Hortus Cuisine for an intimate photography and styling workshop in the romantic, medieval village of Gradara in central Italy, right by the Adriatic sea. We’ll call this medieval village home for a few nights, a perfect, charming place to nurture creativity and learn together. Betty and Valentina are the masters of compelling storytelling – join us for an immersion in the stunning Italian countryside, experiencing local produce and cookingand mastering the art of food photography. We’ll feel the beating sun on our backs as we traverse the market. We’ll gaze out at the Adriatic sea along the secret beaches Valentina had discovered. We’ll feast on all the local produce and seafood there is, and experience traditional, authentic central Italian cuisine.

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Workshop highlights include

Live Storytelling | We’ll put together beautifully styled food stories, led by the three of us, and show you how we choose a shoot space. We’ll talk through our thought process, including set up, examining natural light, crafting an environment, choosing props, managing time, and photographing from the ingredients to the process and finally, the finished plate.

Hands-on pasta making workshop | We’ll teach you the traditional way to make pasta, without any fancy machinery. We’ll get our hands full of flour and dough and create our own authentic pasta. We’ll learn about the various shapes and the sauces that may pair well with them.

Lightroom demonstration & preset building | We’ll sit down to a collective lightroom editing session, where we’ll talk about post-processing and how to develop your own preset to get the look you want consistently.

Feasting + Marketing | We’ll feast on the local produce of the region and take an evening meal in the Gradara Castle, with a historical medieval village amidst a romantic summer garden and traditional Italian cuisine. We’ll also take some time to explore the local market. Italy is famous for its markets, bountiful with produce and regional eats, and we refuse to miss that experience! We’ll gather produce for a photo story and proceed back to the house and photograph our finds. For our last meal, Valentina’s dear mother, an extremely talented chef will welcome us to a traditional Italian dinner – a truly authentic, homestyle meal, characteristic of the wonderful hospitality of Italian culture.

Explore | Gradara is a beautiful medieval village in central Italy, with markets, olive groves, secret beaches, and a 12th century fortress that boasts its own love story. As mentioned above, we’ll be feasting in the historic village outside in the romantic garden, and share wonderful conversations and camaraderie. Valentina will lead us to the numerous secluded secret beaches and have a dip in the beautiful Adriatic sea.

Marketing | We’ll have discussions on blogging, blog sponsorship, and how to navigate the murky waters of Instagram and create a consistent feed to showcase yourself and your brand. We’ll talk about how to get into the rhythm of blogging and our own experiences navigating through this world.

Reflection | An important part of any design or artistic process is reflection and critique. We’ll showcase our work and encourage the camaraderie of collective critique, examining our personal preferences and what our eye is drawn towards. We’ll reflect on our work and by doing so, evolve our creative process and find inspiration from each other.

BettyPhoto by Betty Liu | Les Jus d’Orange,

vale2Photos by Valentina Solfrini | Hortus Natural Cooking,

Workshop Details

July 22-24
Gradara, central Italy
Taught by Zaira, Betty and Valentina
Price: $895 per person
Nearest airport: Bologna airport

All lessons and discussions
2 dinners
1 lunch
2 breakfasts
Welcome gifts
Other drinks and bites during the workshop

Not Included:
Transportation to and from Gradara

Register by emailing bettysliu07 [ at] or hortuscuisine [at] to reserve your spot.  Make sure to snag your spot now!


There are plenty of reasonable hotels within walking distance to the workshop location. Many of them are in Italian, so please, feel free to contact us if you need help booking. I’d recommend booking earlier rather than later, as this is a popular destination in the summertime!