This was my first ever BlogHer conference to attend. It seemed appropriate for me to attend their Food conference and since it landed in Austin this year I was happy to be asked to speak. I gave a class on video equipment with my partner in crime Heather from Healthy Eating Starts Here. You can read about our fun weekend with the other vegans here. And check out all the photos from the weekend here.
It was the first time for her to speak in front of people and she did an amazing job! It’s easy when you know what you are talking about. I have given hundreds of cooking classes/demos but not that many powerpoint presentations. I spent a really long time making our presentation slides just right, showing the differences in cameras, importance of a microphone, and DIY lighting. I think the session went really well and we got excellent feedback from those who attended. Above you can see us with all our geared laid out.
Though we couldn’t go to the sessions at the same time as our talk we were able to enjoy the rest of the conference (added benefit of being a speaker). I took every photography class I could manage because I really need help in that department. Other talks that called out to me were Principles of Storytelling one and the Blogger/Brand Relations session. Here’s just a little snippet of what I got from those sessions.
Principles of Storytelling
- Is there a story to be told? If not then don’t post it.
- Write the blog that you would want to read. You want the reader to lose themselves in the story.
- Transport the reader by describing the taste, smells, sounds, colors, memories, and what’s going on around you.
- Keep a notebook to jot down things going on around you that may help spark a story for future blog posts or recipes.
- Do you have someone that can read what you write before you publish it? They can hold you accountable, make sure it’s good writing and appropriate.
- If something is not pleasurable it will show up in your writing. If you don’t stay true to your own voice and try to copy someone else’s style it will show up in your writing.
Photography on the Fly
This class ended up being more of a Photography 101 class, which was fine for me but not close at all to the description of the session!
- Lighting – chase the light in your house, it won’t always be the same place in your house, and it can be different times of the day.
- Plating and Backgrounds – What story do you want to tell, what mood are you creating: Dark surfaces for moody seductive quality, brighter plates for happy fun look, more colored backgrounds for light-hearted fun mood, natural surfaces for organic feel.
- Move – Shoot from multiple angles rather than moving the food which is propped and ready. Move yourself.
- Styling – Use tiny details to make the photo pop: double up a plate, stick in toothpicks, stir the drink to have the herbs move around, add crumbs around, make it look messy-neat, or show half eaten food.
- Colour – Can you use props to bring out the color in the food? Create contrast. (Use colorschemedesigner.com for color combos that work!)
This session was super helpful since I’ve started working with brands more. The panel was really open to sharing the goods and answering all my questions.
- Connect with brands through social media – follow pr companies of brands, interact with them as much as possible. Send them the link if you post a recipe or anything using their products.
- Is it mutually beneficial for you both? Don’t do sponsored post that you don’t feel comfortable with, suggest new ideas to them. It’s ok to say no.
- If there is compensation involved there needs to be a contract. If you are working with many brands get a lawyer to read it. Look for non-exclusive/compete clauses, campaign dates, who owns the content and how can you use it. If you aren’t comfortable with someone in the contract speak up! If you’ve reached that point with a company they aren’t going to bail if you make changes.
Good pitch includes:
- What are you doing in the community?
- Where have you giving talks or speaking engagements?
- What other companies have you worked with and what have you done for them?
- Social media stats, your demographics
- Spelling and grammar is important!! Have a friend read it.
So that’s what I’ve got. Hopefully that is helpful in some way. If you want to check out the audio or live blogging from the actual conference you can head over to BlogHer.
I will do a follow-up post that talks about the process I go through when making videos. Heather will be doing a similar post showing her process. Keep an eye out for that! And if you have any questions about making videos, equipment or anything else let me know!