As a gesture to its B2B customers in the Rewarding Events Loyalty programme, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok has hosted an exclusive Food Photography Workshop. To find out more about the event which hosted its top-performing Rewarding Events customers, we spoke with Nicole Agsten, director of marketing communications at The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok.

TD: What was the experience like?

NA: The event was arranged as one of the ways to thank our B2B customers in the Rewarding Events programme. We hosted the gathering at Altitude, the only private rooftop event location in our dynamic neighbourhood. It has an indoor function room, an elegant breakout area and an outdoor terrace with a dramatic panorama of downtown Bangkok.

The two-hour workshop was presented by two professional photographers who shared their technical and creative skills. They showed us how to photograph food in the most tantalising fashion!

How did this idea come about?

Social media has become so integral to everyday life—especially in Asia. Everyone has a passion for taking lots of photos including the food they love to enjoy. But few people have real expertise in photography, so we imagined there would be a lot of takers if we offered the opportunity to hone one’s culinary camera skills.

Food Photography Workshop

During the first part of the workshop, customers were guided through the basic technical aspects of photography. They learned how to use rules of composition to improve the look of a scene and tell a story in which the food is the lead character.

In the second part, the participants were divided into six teams to practice what they had learned so far. We provided each team with two hot dishes from Seasonal Tastes, our all-day dining restaurant, along with decorative props, including a selection of vegetables, tableware, and backdrops.

“Participants were challenged to take creative food photos”

After the workshop, we invited everyone to join us for a lunch buffet during which we staged a social media competition. Participants were challenged to take creative food photos during lunch and our professional photographers selected the best images on the basis of technical and creative skills.

What was in store for them after the photo challenge?

The grand prize winner received a two-night stay in a private Pool Villa at Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. It’s a romantic and secluded coastal resort, just a few hours’ drive from Bangkok.

Food Photography Workshop

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge in staging the workshop was in finding photographers with enough equipment so that all 35 participants could complete the exercises. Participants were asked to bring their own camera or mobile phone, but we still had to provide sufficient lighting equipment and reflectors for the six groups!

After some research and numerous calls, our hotel events team found two photographers who liked the idea of conducting the workshop together—Thomas De Cian Photography and Fame Lights Photo Studio.

What was the goal behind hosting this event?

The format worked well, with participants giving us very positive feedback. This told us that it would make a good team activity during conferences and meetings.

“A fresh understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests”

We subsequently proposed the concept to a number of meeting clients and have booked several workshops over the past months, including one Marriott Food & Beverage Workshop for APAC. In completing the workshop together, participants developed a fresh understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests which helps them work more effectively as a team.

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