I had the pleasure of attending the annual Eat Drink Blog conference last weekend (20-21 September) in my hometown of Brisbane. It was great to meet other people who share my passion for food and blogging. It was especially enjoyable to be able to talk about my blog without the other person’s eyes glazing over, which is what happens when you talk to non-bloggers (aka “normal” people).
It was a busy weekend with lots of people, business cards, food, fun and, of course, information. Here is my brief overview!
Food Blogging in the Lion City: The Nation’s Pastime
Nathanael Ho, Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow
The keynote speaker for the conference was Nathanael Ho of the successful Singapore based blog Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow.
Nathanael, an understated but very charming and humorous presenter, gave an informative and entertaining overview about the blogging scene in Singapore.
The top blogs in Singapore focus on restaurant reviews and are influential trendspotters for both traditional print media outlets and the general public. Some bloggers can even command fees of up to $AUD3500 for a post! It would be very exciting if the blogging scene in Australia developed towards this!
ACCC Guidelines for Bloggers
Lawyer and blogger at Melbourne Gastonome
In summary, to comply with ACCC Guidelines it is imperative that bloggers do not mislead or deceive their readers and be transparent about all commercial partnerships. Disclosure should be significant, clear and prominent. Ultimately, a lack of transparency will undermine a blogger’s credibility.
The Evolving Media Landscape
Damien Condon, Director of PR, Lucid Media
Lucid Media works collaboratively with journalists and bloggers to produce integrated campaigns for their clients which cover various platforms such as You tube, Instagram, Twitter and more traditional print media. Damien sees the vlog (video logs) as an increasingly powerful medium.
Christina Soong, The Hungry Australian
Christina, winner of the Australian Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blog 2014, gave a rapid-paced talk about blogging for fun and profit.
Christina is a very successful blogger and has always been very generous with offering information and tips to others via her blog. This session covered a lot of this information and much more in just 40 minutes! Christina is in the process of producing an e-book and I have no doubt that it will be very informative and successful!
A very brief summary of Christina’s presentation:
· Firstly, redefine success and what you want to achieve with your blog. Your definition of success may not be about money.
· Develop a plan
· Learn the skills you need
· Produce great content
· Promote your great content. An equal amount of time should be spent on both production and promotion!
· Actively pursue opportunities even though there may be much rejection along the way – If you don’t ask the answer is always no. There are many types of paid opportunities for bloggers; these include: freelance writing, food styling or photography; sponsored posts; advertising; consulting, courses, workshops; ambassadorships, speaking, hosting events, cooking demonstrations; and publishing (books, ebooks, apps)
Our stomachs were well taken care of during the conference thanks to the generosity of the sponsors. This is just a small sample of the delicious food offered: salads from Wholesomeness, pastries from Flour & Chocolate and drinks from Emma & Toms.
The Conference Goodie Bag!
Sunday Session: Food Styling Workshop
On Sunday I was fortunate to be able to attend a food styling workshop facilitated by Sarah Bazar of Emotive Light Photography.
A brief summary of Sarah’s presentation:
· Food styling is not all napkins and plates; the food should be the star.
· Style the setting and take photos from all angles, in portrait and landscape, and at every stage (for example, a whole cake, sliced cake, and plated cake slice).
· Props can be sources from assorted places, such as demo yards, discount outlets such as Daiso, Spotlight.
· Add layered textural interest with napkins, scrunched baking paper, crumbs, icing sugar.
· Consider the overall colour palette of the photo and avoid jarring colours or patterns.
· Don’t create clutter.
· Natural light, especially morning light, works best. If photographing at night use a blue/white LED and diffuse the light with baking paper.
· Shoot in RAW rather than jpeg as this gives you more options when editing.
· Edit photos with the photo app Toaster (for camera phones) or Lightroom (for dslr). Sarah assured me that Lightroom was easy to use.
After Sarah’s presentation we had a practical session. Each attendee had brought in a prop. Sarah offered a large selection of her own props as well as brownies and cupcakes for us to work with. Each person then selected some props and styled. It was so interesting to see the different approaches to the same subject.
I brought a pretty pink cake stand to the session as I bought it on sale a few months ago from Wheel & Barrow and I still hadn’t used it. I don’t usually have the space or time to create an elaborate scene when I take photos for my blog so it was enjoyable to have the opportunity to do this. My set up was still very simple. While I used the white fabric as a background I cropped the image so tightly that it can’t be seen any way!
The was my set up.
These are my best shots taken with a Canon camera. It is the same photo cropped two different ways.
So what did I take from this?
Eat Drink Blog 2014 was such a fantastic opportunity to meet so many talented bloggers. While all food bloggers there were so many different approaches to what they do and such a huge variety of projects people have for the future.
Moving forward, I need to take Christina’s advice and actually make a plan. I want to develop my photography skills further so I plan to undertake some short courses in the near future. I must promote my blog more as I do very little at the moment! In the longer term, I will actively pursue paid opportunities.
The Eat Drink Blog 2014 conference was a free event for all delegates. Meals, snacks, drinks and the conference goodie bag were gifted to me. All opinions are my own.