Outdoor summer food

Summer Pudding at Newby Hall Garden Restaurant and Cafe. Food photography by Tony May
Summer Pudding at Newby Hall Restaurant and Cafe, near Ripon and Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Copyright Tony May 2013.

With Britain enjoying its best summer for a long time, what could be more enjoyable for a food photographer than spending a fine August morning photographing delicious summer food in the gardens of an English country house?

Newby Hall, near Ripon and 14 miles north of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, is a graceful Georgian country house with award winning gardens.  It has been used as a filming location, including for a TV adaptation of Mansfield Park and is open to the public  during the spring and summer months. Yorkshire Party Company run the Garden Restaurant and Café at Newby Hall and is a sister company of Yorkshire Provender, with whom I have been fortunate enough to have worked previously.


Toffee Cheesecake by Yorkshire Party Company at Newby Hall, North Yorkshire
Toffee Apple Cheesecake by the Yorkshire Party Company at Newby Hall. Just as it comes. Food photography by Tony May copyright 2013.

The brief for the morning was to photograph some of the salads and puddings from the menu in the restaurant, for use on the Newby Hall website and presenting the food just as customers experience it.

With the café terrace overlooking the orchard, rose garden and herbaceous beds, nothing seemed more natural than to take advantage of the fine sunny morning and shoot the food exactly as it comes, at a table on the terrace, using natural daylight. Jessica and Natalie from Yorkshire Party Company agreed that approach and soon we were set up and shooting.


Summer food photographed outdoors at Newby Hall in Yorkshire. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel.
Smoked salmon and cream chess bagel. With a delicious twist of lemon. Food photography copyright Tony May 2013.

The commission was a double delight because as a season ticket holder at Newby  Hall for the last couple of years I get a lot of pleasure from visiting there and I can vouch for the quality of the food.  And beautiful desserts with summer fruits are a seasonal treat for the eye as well as the taste buds.


Meringue Nest with Summer Fruits at Newby Hall, North Yorkshire
Meringue Nest with Summer Fruits (and summer flowers!). Food photography copyright Tony May 2013.

The second part of the day was a Christmas brochure shoot but I don’t want to wish the summer weather away so I’ll save that post for when thoughts are headed that way.  And before then I need to go back to Newby Hall and taste that cheesecake…

Many thanks to Jessica, Natalie and Miranda of  Yorkshire Party Company and their very helpful colleagues in the kitchen and restaurant at Newby, and to my assistant, Yorkshire wedding photographer Catherine Kerr of Boho Chic Weddings,  for a productive and enjoyable morning.

See more of my food photography for clients in Yorkshire and elsewhere in my portfolio and on my food photography blog.