I went home a couple weeks ago not only to host my friend’s baby shower but also to attend Food Blog South 2014. This was my first ever food blog conference so a mix of emotions took over – excitement, anxiety, the list could go on. I consider myself an extrovert and have been blessed with so many virtual friendships through blogging but meeting some of the people I read about was a little nerve racking for me. Luckily, I met a great group of girls who I hung around with most of the day – Karis from Karis’ Kitchen, a Vegetarian Food Blog and Erica from A Taste of Our City, a blog about eating her way through restaurants in Atlanta.
After getting the initial nerves out of the way the adventure began! First up was a workshop on Food Photography & Styling with Helene Dujardin of Tartelette and Tami Hardeman of Running with Tweezers. If you are in the food blog world these ladies need no introduction. Helene wrote Plate to Pixel which I am currently studying right now! As you can see from the picture above this is a food blogger’s dream prop table.
One of the things I learned is to anticipate being the prop & food stylist and photographer. So you might excel in one area but be sure to keep learning about things in other areas.
A few other takeaways:
- Get your “hero” shot – the pretty one and then take a few messy ones, i.e. crumbs, a bite out of the food, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to layer linens & porcelains and mix patterns – but don’t let them take away from the photo.
- Just like cooks will have their mise en place ahead of time – do the same with styling – have a spritzer for produce that goes limp, tweezers to fix that one noodle, etc.
- Manipulate the f/stop and try different photos (a shot so you can see the Guinness label on the beer bottle from your beer bread and another shot that also hides the label but can see the outline of the bottle)
Workshop 2: How to Turn Your Blog into a Career with Cathy Barrow of Mrs Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen – This workshop was a challenge for me because I love blogging and sharing my love of food with everyone but have not decided if I want it to be a career or not. She did share some great takeaways about food writing, writing cookbooks, working with products, etc. though that gave me a better understanding of how to navigate in this food blog world.
Then it was break time for lunch. And yes this pregnant lady was one of the first in line. Dixie Fish Co. catered it. Now I have only been to the restaurant once before and thought it was okay but was extremely satisfied with what they provided for lunch. I had Grilled Gulf Fish, Shrimp and Grits, Stuffed Mushrooms with Etouffee, Buffalo Fried Oyster and White Chocolate Bread Pudding – don’t worry all pregnancy safe!
Workshop 3- Better Recipe Writing & Development with Nancy Hughes of Nancy S Hughes – All I can say this woman was a hoot! Definitely full of energy and opinionated!
A few takeaways:
- Keep ingredients in your recipes mainstream – If it was a hard ingredient for you to find, don’t expect the novice cook to be able to. Also if you use an ingredient that is not widely used in a lot of recipes then give your readers substitutions.
- Be specific on what size pots and pans you are using and size of containers/cans, etc. I definitely need to update this in my recipes.
All the goodies from my swag bag – I hid the sugar vanilla bean cookies in our pantry so John wouldn’t steal them (yes they were that good). My other favorite was the roasted garlic Israeli Couscous which I paired with my Sweet Ginger and Soy Salmon recipe.
There were a couple more sessions that afternoon but after throwing my friend’s baby shower the night before and traveling in the car for 8 hours I was pooped and decided to call it a day. Maybe next time I attend a conference I won’t be 5 and 1/2 months pregnant. I can’t wait for next year to go back and learn more as a food blogger and meet more people!
Menu of the WeekHobo Supper Baked Ravioli with Roasted Broccoli Caprese Chicken with Arugula and Radicchio Salad Dessert: Cherry Delight