Mon 13 Jun 2011
Eat, Write, Retreat was a blast! Alive with creative energy, this food blogger conference (AKA “EWR,” held in DC May 20-22), delivered what it promised. It was an upscale, yet down-to-earth learning environment that offered hands-on workshops led by accomplished professionals. The agenda allowed plenty of time for both hardcore networking and, you know…fun. Lisa Cherkasky and I taught two Food Styling and Photography workshops there; and I have to say, organizers Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict created a high-quality, valuable experience.
For the real meat of the event, I found it so interesting to learn about other people’s businesses. I met a range of smart, ambitious, creative presenters (authors, editors, PR pros), sponsors (foods, beverages and products) and bloggers. Another lovely benefit of EWR was the crazy-good swag bag, which included Calphalon’s great 12-inch nonstick griddle pan. I was so inspired by this, that I actually cooked this frittata in it myself! (For you cooking bloggers… I didn’t use a recipe, just what I had in my kitchen: eggs, potatoes, onions, rosemary and Parmesan cheese.)
Our Food Styling and Photography workshops had two parts: In the first part, Lisa and I showed slides of our own, professional work. We explained how aspects of it (basic principles, methods and equipment) can apply to bloggers’ own photographic situations and offered realistic options that will result in greater versatility and efficiency. For instance, while we all love to shoot with beautiful natural light, often it just isn’t possible. So, we provided basic technical information on lighting: from optimizing natural light sources with reflectors; to using a simple lighting kit that is daylight-balanced, for easy mixing with natural light. We also strongly suggested using a tripod to maintain camera position while making adjustments to the subject.