Blogher Food 2012, held this year in Seattle Washington, flourished with food bloggers eager to learn, link-up and of course, talk food.
I did my fair amount of blogger stalking, trying to act nonchalant as I oh-so casually stared at nametags and wondered if I had lunch in my teeth, placing unfamiliar faces to familiar @usernames and occasionally calling someone by the wrong name completely.
I didn’t arrive in Seattle with much of an agenda besides becoming more familiar with the food blogging community. Yes there were plenty of online faces I was thrilled to meet in person, but what was just as inspiring was meeting bloggers I wasn’t aware of in the flip-flop fashion of how I normally discover bloggers—meeting them in the flesh first instead of via their online presence and then wondering what they’re REALLY like in real life.
Day one’s keynote with photographers/food bloggers Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple christened my weekend with their mantra, “Your eyes are your lens, your heart is your shutter.”
I intentionally left my DSLR at home, wanting to be more spontaneous in capturing the memories of the weekend and my view of the city so instead I shot from the hip with my iPhone. Many of these photos were posted to my Instagram and all were edited with the VSCO app .
Matt’s In the Market, Seattle Washington
Pike Place Market, Seattle Washington
Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle Washington
These handmade earrings by Garlic Girl were way more popular than I was at the parties. I should seriously consider becoming her rep.
Two very different window views across the street fron one another: an exhibitionist a la 50 Shades of Grey sends female food bloggers hearts a racing at the Stonyfield Farms Party held at Purple while butterflies lie in wait for a cab.
Thank you Seattle for delivered gorgeous sunny days, perfect for trolling through the city for times of discovery.
Want to see what all the fuss was about? Check out Blogher’s wrap-up of each session thanks to their live bloggers or follow the Twitter feed to see what info your fellow bloggers thought was tweet-worthy.
My Top 5 Blogher Food 2012 Takeaways
#1: Even amateurs can take great photos, and not just of food. Be organic in the photos you take and shoot what you see in front of you, not what you try to create. Yes, posed shots are a great way to create memories, but you’ll often find that the shots that show a side-long glance or crowded hall give far more emotion and sense of place to a situation. Look up, look down, look fast and just shoot.
#2: Create your own photographic style, or how to emulate one you love. I LOVED Stephanie of Desserts for Breakfast and Anita of Dessert First ‘s seminar on Current Food Photography Styles and Trends and was so impressed at the level of knowledge they shared so freely with their real life examples of lighting set ups and nailing the characteristics of photo styles. If you’re hoping to improve your food photography, this tutorial is a fantastic place to start.
#3: SEO isn’t as hard as it sounds, as long as you have a guide. SEO? Now how do you do that again and why do I even care? ZipList has produced a an SEO tips ebook for food bloggers on how to improve your organic search rankings. Read it and just do it, you can thank us later.
#4: Why food bloggers should welcome Google+ to the social media dance. Most food bloggers have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram so why would we want to bother with yet another social medium to suck up another ounce of our valuable time? Irvin of Eat the Love explains why Google+ might soon be the belle of the ball.
#5: Dare NOT to compare. As my Blogher roomie Kelley commented to a fellow foodie, “There will always be bloggers who get more comments than you, have better hair than you and take prettier photos than you. You can’t compare, you just have to get over it.” I’m a veteran of many conferences—not just food—and no matter what the genre it’s easy to look at luminaires around the room and become discouraged that your “thing”—in this case your blog— will never be good enough or popular enough. But the real deal is that when you deliver quality content in your own style and are authentic both online and in real life you’ll become the blogger YOU ARE rather than who you THINK people want you to be. You’re readers will relate to your uniqueness, you’ll forge new meaningful relationships online and off and your blog will organically grow and prosper. And yes, you might even get a cookie.