Food and lifestyle photography workshop in the Basque Country, September 5-10, 2013

My uncle’s apple trees

I have been waiting so long to tell you about this piece of news…

The news that Nadia and I will be hosting a food and lifestyle photography workshop in my native Basque Country!

My homeland that I speak about so often and which has permeated this blog with a certain level of nostalgia since the beginning. This small part of the world that sits at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, with rocky cliffs that dive into the Atlantic and the pastures covered in wildflowers and sheep. Spain to the South, France to the North.

The land (lurra) and the sea (itsasoa) I love so much.

But the Basque Country is not only about the bucolic life, it is also about a mixture of modern and old architecture, amazing ingredients, some of the best chefs in the world and mostly, about the people.

And now I am so excited I will have the chance to take some of you with us and show you the beaches where I grew up, the places where we picked apples, where we ate pintxos. 5 days where we will visit orchards, prepare and photograph a sunset dinner on the beach, learn about food photography, prop and food styling, shooting on location and so much more. We will also spend a day degustating pintxos (tapas) and sightseeing.


During my last visit home nearly a year ago, my friend Beñat took me to Astei. A beautiful estate nestled in the forest that surrounds the Urdaibai Biosphere.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

An old family farmhouse (built in the 15th century) that was remodeled and turned into a B&B of sorts. Mertxe Begiristain who owns and runs Astei with her husband took the time to show us around the estate. Six different houses sit on the property, each one distinct and fully equipped. The garden in the center is beautiful with all the flowers, the pool, sauna… simple and modern. The Vita is a beautiful Scandinavian-style house that actually produces more geothermal energy that it consumes. All state of the art and very impressive.

You can watch a video here.

After spending a few minutes with Mertxe, I knew I had to host a workshop here. That night I emailed Nadia and I said to her “We are doing a workshop in the Basque Country!”.

“I’m in”, she replied and I couldn’t be happier.

So this is an chance to learn from both of Nadia and myself. To watch us work, to learn our technique, our approach to natural light, styling, to explore and to learn.

So… are you in?

Donibane Lohitzune | St. Jean de Luz

Astei-Ea where we will stay

Here is a summary of the workshop:

When: September 5-10, 2013

Where: Astei, Ea, Basque Country (about 45 km or 25 miles outside of Bilbao, which is closest airport)

How much: Fee is $2,550 (single occupancy) and includes:

  • 5 nights at Astei where the students will get to stay in different houses within this magnificent country estate. Single occupancy rooms.
  • 3 days of technical and practical instruction with on-location shoots.
  • 1 full day of sightseeing to and back to the French Basque Country.
  • 5 breakfasts. Each house has a fully stocked and equipped kitchen. We will stock the pantry with breakfast items for your convenience.
  • 4 lunches.
  • 4 dinners including a tasting event of some of the best local wines.
  • Reception cocktails and appetizers on arrival evening.
  • Transportation to our workshop activities (it does not include airfare).
  • Snack and refreshments during workshop hours.

Deposit: $1275 for registration to be confirmed. Final Payment of $1275 due May 15, 2013. There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you can make it before your registration.

The workshop is limited to 9 people.

Please note that the last two students to register will have single occupancy rooms, but will have to share a bathroom in this completely remodeled farmhouse.

Registration will open on Thursday, February 21st at 9:00am EST. To register please visit here.

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103 Responses to “Food and lifestyle photography workshop in the Basque Country, September 5-10, 2013”

  1. Wow…you must be thrilled Aran. I am sure your workshop will fill up quickly and that it will be absolutely wonderful!

  2. Beautiful photos and description of your home, Aran! Your workshop with Nadia in the Dordogne was so fun and fulfilling – those who can attend this workshop will be so very lucky to learn from you in a place that is so close to your heart.

  3. Denise says:

    OMG – I would LOVE to do this. To be able to tag along on a photo workshop with you and Nadia, and to visit the Basque country where my family is from would be amazing!!! Hmm ….

  4. Diana says:

    Oh how I so wish you were doing a workshop near tucson, Arizona….I would be complete. It will be such a great workshop to be back in your home!

  5. Es un blog fantastico y te sigo desde Barcelona,es posible seguirte en español.Gracias

  6. Miren says:

    Hori bai zoragarria! Ta Urdaibain!
    Benetan gustatuko litzaidake etortzea, baina eztet uste posible izango denik!
    Ziur nago gure herriko argi, kolore eta zaporeak biltzeko eta erakusteko gai izango zaretela!
    Besarkada bat!
    Miren, Toronto

    • Aran says:

      Nongoa zara Miren?

      • Miren says:

        Debakoa izatez, baina urte asko daramatzat kanpoan. Hori bai, beti bueltatzen naiz guraso eta lagunengana.
        Orain Canadan bizi naiz, Bartzelonatik etorrita. Batzutan hemengo basoek Euskal Herrikoak gogoratzen dizkidate.
        Nere bizitza, familia beti izan da sukaldeari erlazionatua. Osaba Arzaken eta mutila sukaldaria baita. Ni afizionatua, bi aldeetan…kozinan eta jaten! Jajaja!
        Aspaldi jarraitzen dut zure bloga, eta espero egunen baten zu ezagutzeko aukera izatea. Iada zure liburuaren 2 kopia erosi ditut!

        • Aran says:

          Jo, ba ia ia Torontora joan nintzen orain dala astebete pare bat. Ia hurrengoan. Deba bai herri polite… Ni Zornotzakoa naz. Ia laster EHan alkartzen garen ba. Eskerrik asko eta besarkada bat.

          • Miren says:

            Perfesto! Irailean han banabil esango dizut, eta bestela Toronton izango naiz!
            Segi ondo! Ah, eta ondo joan dadila Seattle-era aldaketa!

          • Aran says:

            Ederto ba. Gu maiatza amaieran eta ekainan Zornotzan egongo gara be. Abisau handik bazabiz. Eskerrik asko!

  7. Oh my goodness Aran, I am dying over here. and scheming. Now if I brought the three babies do they count as one adult?

    • Aran says:

      Oh goodness Jen. So great to hear from you. Yes! Come and bring the babies. We will have plenty of babysitters around. The rooms are seriously huge (queen size) and you could bring hubbie and we could have cribs and a small bed. We would love to have you!

  8. Que c’est beau! Ce billet m’a vraiment laissé rêveuse… On voit bien tout l’amour et tout le coeur que tu as mis dans ces photos :)

  9. Itxaso says:

    Ai… emozionau in nez. Ze polite!! Ago zabalik geratuko dire danak.

  10. Hi!
    This sounds amazing. My husband and I work together as a team and would be interested in attending this workshop together. We live in North Carolina but frequently visit family in London and might be able to work this in along with a visit Just wanted to check and see if it’s possible to stay in the same room and would there be a discounted rate since we’d only be using one room? Thanks so much, Chris

  11. bego says:

    Qué bien Arantzazu….. Te esperamos en Euskadi

  12. WOW! So beautiful! I absolutely love it!
    Zoe xxx

  13. Ainho says:

    eeeh, ze ondo! Ordureko nire txikitxue be hemen egongo da. Moxu bet!

  14. Wow…attending a photography workshop with you would really be a dream come true. Some day it will hopefully work out…

  15. Pauline says:

    Wow such a good timing! I will be in the french basque country at this time! I’m so exiting. I met you in Montréal 3 weeks early at your demonstration at Appetite for book and your are such an inspiring women. I hope I will be able to come.


  16. Cecília says:

    Otra que te sigue des de Barcelona.!!!! Felicidades por el contenido y por tu sensibilidad fotográfica. Me encantaria asistir a alguno de tus talleres, pero de momento tendré que conformarme con el blog. Los sueldos actuales no alcanzan para ello. Sólo para americanos.
    Euskadi, qué gran país y qué bien se come. Un abrazo

  17. Karla says:

    Looks amazing, I would be in HEAVEN ! You do beautiful work and I would love to learn from you. I have experience with food styling, but not photography, though I love photography. Would this workshop be a good fit for me?

    • Aran says:

      Hi Karla,

      I think it would be. We will be styling but big focus is on photography and you would learn about how to manipulate natural light, photography and camera basics… Let me know if you have specific questions.


  18. Aran, wow! Será impresionante, tengo ganas de asistir! Lo pasarais super bien, seguro.

  19. Esti says:

    Aran, qué bueno que hayas conseguido montar este taller aquí. Me parece una idea estupenda, un entorno memorable… vamos, un planazo! Me encantaría espiaros y conocer a Nadia :)

  20. Anne Bendayan says:

    Oh I’m so happy that you come to Basque Country, I’m french( so my english is not so good) and i send you email about your worshop few month ago and I’m so happy now. i have few days now to think about organisation because I have two children and it’s the strad of school in France I think in september..

  21. Olatz says:

    Kaixo Aran! Ze ongi,pozten naiz! Baina sentitzen dut nik ezingo dut parte hartu.Haur txikien andereñoa naiz eta fetxa hoietan ez dut libratzen gainera 3 seme alaba ditut,gasto asko eta garestia da niretzat.Muxu handi bat,aio!

  22. Gerley says:

    Hi Aran,
    beautiful blog I really enjoy reading it..just one thing with the new layout: Right now the “continue reading” link takes you back to the beginning of the article instead of the paragraph where you left off. It’s not a huge deal but it would improve readability.

    Anyway keep up the good work!

    • Aran says:

      Hi! Thank you for pointing it out. I wasn’t aware. Will look into it.

    • Aran says:

      Hello again,

      I just tested it again and I was not having issues. “Continue Reading” takes me to where I left off which in this case is at the beginning of the first collage of photos. I wonder if being on a PC or a Mac has an effect?

      • Gerley says:

        Hi Aran,
        I tried it again as well and I am sorry I think it’s my computer that is having issues because it does jump to the right spot..I just have to wait for it for quite a long time. It seemed like something that started since you changed the layout and in a way it is.. before the pictures were- without me noticing- loading below the first text and now because I jump a page I notice the delay until everything is sorted on the page.
        So sorry it’s not your site it is my computer being difficult! Thanks for your reply though- it did “fix” things in the sense that I researched and found the problem. Have a great day :)

  23. Ok, I’m gonna have to pray about this one. I want to go sooo bad! I’m in dire need of your help in all the food photography areas, plus I’d love to meet you! We’ll see…

  24. Pues parece que funciona la telepatia. No sera facil, pero espero poder asistir. Creo que mi camara nueva puede esperar otro año si consigo hacer este seminario contigo. Una idea preciosa hacerlo en casa.

  25. Pues parece que funciona la telepatía. No será fácil, pero espero poder asistir. Creo que mi cámara nueva puede esperar otro año si consigo hacer este curso contigo. Una idea preciosa hacerlo en casa y a principios de septiembre.
    Un besazo.

  26. Anna says:

    Kaixo! Oh, I really really really wish to get in this time (I have already tried twice before)! I used to live in the Basque Country, in Donostia. It was 2004. Would be so lovely to spend time in the most beautiful part of Spain!

    Anna from Finland

  27. I can’t believe it, Aran ! I’ve been wanting to meet you and come to one of your workshops for a year, and now I’m planning a 3 weeks trip in the Basque Country in september ! I hope I can come, I guess it must be difficult to register since so many people will want to register, but I will try for sure. It would be so much fun to discover your homeland ! My friend and I are food and wine lovers and I’m such a big fan of your blog !

  28. I just have two questions… is it possible to register 2 people at the same time ? And when you say 9h00 am Est, is it the time in the US ? Like, in Montreal ? Since I am in Switzerland, I just want to make sure I know the exact time it will be here…

    Thanks Aran, have a great week-end :)


  29. We are planning to visit the french Basque Country, actually we will be travelling for about 5 weeks in France, since we are moving back to Montreal in October, after a few years living in Europe. We don’t know yet exactly where we will be but if we have the chance to be part of the workshop, we sure will come to Astei and Bilbao. Ooh I’m so thrilled, hope we can register !!

  30. How beautiful and an incredible trip this will be! After doing your food styling work shop last summer in Montreal…my love for photography has grown to another level. Would love to join in on this trip…thinking of ways on how I can do it!

  31. Dawn says:

    Hello Aran!

    My heart is bursting with hope that I can take part in this. (I just got the new Canon EOS M for my birthday so this is perfect timing!) I do have a little son who will be two years old in September. Are your children coming along? I would bring the nanny, but it would be so nice if there were other children as well.

    I would be so happy to finally meet Nadia, and you of course as well. I am in Austria, so Basque is not so far! Juliana has told me such lovely things about the last workshop in Dordogne. I feel like this would be something I will not only learn from, but remember forever.

    What do you think….would it be a nice place for my little boy to play while I am busy with the workshop?

    Also, is transportation from and to the airport provided?

    Thank you for your response. :)


    • Aran says:

      Hi Dawn,

      It’s great to hear your enthusiasm!

      I am not sure if I will bring my children yet as it will be the time when school starts for them. But even if I do, I will have them stay with my parent in my hometown (Amorebieta, about 30 km away).

      Astei is a beautiful place so your son would have lots of exploring to do. The beach is only a couple of km down the road too. We will be occupying all bedrooms available so if your nanny comes along, she will have to share a room with you (fee will apply). The rooms are large and most of the beds are queen size.

      Let me know if you have additional questions and so great to hear that Juliana enjoyed France. We loved having her :)

  32. Dawn says:

    Thanks so much for your reply Aran!

    I will be turning this over in my heart and head until the 21st.


  33. Wow!!! Que maravilla!!! Seguro que os lo pasareis de maravilla!!! Tengo unas ganas locas de volver!!! Aupa EH!!! Vuelvo de vacaciones a mi querida Orduña en Marzo…
    Me encanta tu blog!!! A veces hasta me has hecho llorar… Eskerrik asko Aran por traer un pedazito de euskadi al otro lado del mundo! ;)
    Musu handi bat NY tik!

  34. Iratxe says:

    ¡Qué buena noticia Aran, qué emoción!. Espero poder asistir, ¡espero!. Ya te avisaré. Muxuak.

  35. liz says:

    Wonderful news!
    I just discovered your blog and it is so lovely! As a foodie and wife to a restaurant owner I truly enjoy coming to your space. New follower here.


  36. Raquel says:

    Que maravillosa sorpresa! Sigo tu trabajo desde hace unos meses y me tienes enganchadisima a tu blog… la calidad de la fotografía y tus propuestas gastronómicas me encantan! Asi que no me puedo creer que vayas a estar tan cerca de Bilbao y que no pueda acudir a tus talleres. Me es imposible asistir al programa completo. ?¿Seria factible asistir a los talleres técnicos sin alojarme en el astei? (Por cierto ha sido todo un descubrimiento al que seguti wue mes escapare un dia de estos…) un fuerte abrazo y enhorabuena por tu éxito!

  37. Natalia says:

    Por fin!!!! A ver si consigo entrar!!! Lo intenté con el workshop en Suecia pero era demasiado tarde… El 21 voy a estar enganchada al ordenador!!!
    I can’t wait!!! Gracias Aran, soy nueva en esto del blog de cocina pero lo estoy disfrutando como nunca. Soy de Barcelona y me paso el día enganchada mirando blogs… que feliz sería si pudiera asistir al workshop y además en Euskadi…qué lujo!!!!
    Un abrazo

  38. This would be a dream come true. I am a true fan of all your beautiful work. Crossing my fingers to be among the 9 lucky ‘winners’.

  39. Kathryn says:

    Hello! Thank you for offering this wonderful opportunity! :) Do you need to be an experienced photographer to take part in the workshop? Or is it alright if you are an amateur with a love of food and photography?

    • Aran says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      It’s geared towards most levels with a basic knowledge of camera basics. We will focus on technical things and also styling, propping, our own approach, how to manipulate natural light etc.

      You can email me with specific questions.

      Thank you.

  40. Pilar says:

    Hola Aran,
    Sigo tu blog desde hace tiempo, LOVE IT!!!!
    Vivo en Francia y vi cuando anunciaste el anterior workshop pero no me sentia preparada…
    Cuando he visto el anuncio de este casi me caigo de la silla! un sueno!!!
    Tengo dos preguntucas antes de intentar registrarme:

    1. No soy lo mas digamos en fotografia aunque hago mis pinitos…. es necesario haber seguido algun curso basic o especializado antes para no perderse los detalles del curso/atelier/workshop??

    2. Como Raquel, me gustaria asistir solo a la parte tecnica si es posible (soy de Laredo, al ladin vamos, y estare en Espana en esa epoca) como lo ves?

    Muchisimas gracias de antemano,

    • Aran says:

      Hola Pilar,

      Para el taller no hace falta ser fotógrafo profesional pero si es conveniente el conocer la camara y sus funciones. En cuanto a atender la parte técnica a que te refieres? Vendrias de Laredo todos los dias en coche? Me puedes mandar un email a


  41. Joann says:

    I’ve set my alarm for registration! would be a dream come true to do one of your workshops, especially in your lovely hometown. Hope to see you in Sept :)

  42. One my kids grow up and move from home I will do this. This will be my treat. I hope you still fo them then (read: in 18 years). I’d l o v e to be able to do this now. What a vitamin treatment after a long and sick filled winter.

    By the way, my mother is from Asturias (not that far away)

  43. Ibabe says:

    WOW! Izugarrizkoa iruditzen zait! Nahiko nuke joatea…baina lanordainak ez du hainbesterako ematen, baina zera, zeozertan hemendik lagun badezaket, esan…proximitate asuntuak badakizu gauzak arintzen dituela eta….
    Eta lekua izugarrizkoa da…nonbait ikusita nuelakoan nago.

    Imaginatzen naiz dena ia lotua edo edukiko duzuela, baina, kontakturen bat edo behar eskero esan, errioxa aldean lagunen bat diat oraindik ;)

    Suerte on eta esandako, laguntzarik nahi eskero idatzi

  44. Maria Aguirre says:


    Why are you misleading people into thinking that the Basque region is a nation separated from Spain. For all those that may be confused, please note that the Basque region has never been a nation in its own right, it has always been a part of Spain.

    • Aran says:


      The Basque Land is the area where historically basque has been spoken for centuries and centuries. Euskal Herria means the home of the people who speak basque. There are also basque people in France.

      That is how I define it and how I feel about it as its my mother tongue and the language I use to communicate with my children.

      I don’t know why you have to come here with the political agenda

      No hace falta.

  45. Kaixo Aran!

    Zelako sorpresa Irailean Euskal Herrian ikastaroa antolatuko duzula ikusi dudanean, eta gutxi ez balitz, nire herrira etorriko zarete horretarako!!
    Iaz, herriko turismo bulegoan lanean egon nintzen eta primeran pasako duzuela ziur nago!

    Goraintziak! :)

  46. Rita Maria says:

    I would love to go. Your photographs and recipes are so inspiring! Alas I cannot due to my work schedule. Maybe someday I will be able to attend an event. Until then, as always, thank you!

  47. oh my goodness… i want to come!! xx

  48. […] is, swirling with creative juices. And wonder. How did I manage to get the last spot on one of Aran and Nadia’s food and lifestyle photography workshops? In the Basque country no less? Take […]

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