What It Takes to Be a Food Blogger
In the world of the Internet it takes a lot to be seen and heard. Every day there are new posts, new bloggers, new networks, new social media platforms. People take notice when you’re outrageous and controversial, that is true, and many bloggers know this and use it to their advantage. I don’t want to be “that guy,” for lack of a better term.
I’m not all that hip.
I am just myself.
I’m not controversial and I don’t like fighting with strangers on the Internet.
I like to cook and I like making people smile, which is one of many reasons food blogging just fits me, for better or worse.
Instead I try to get noticed by taking good photos and posting interesting recipe ideas. It seems to be working so far and I’m nearly thriving as a food blogger. My motivation is to inspire that burned-out home cook somewhere “out there” that just can’t stand making the same chicken dish for the millionth time.
While I do try to take good photos every time, I most definitely do not.
I also don’t have massive amounts of camera equipment, like many professionals do, and I’ve never taken a class in anything having to do with blogging or photography.
I have a camera, I have a tripod, I have a laptop and I have whatever nature gives me. I try to make it work.
I use natural light only. And when it snows, I make sure to blog. The light bounces everywhere and it’s so bright that it’s nearly guaranteed to be a successful shot.
When this happens:
So does this:
In fact, I’m pretty sure I chose our home based on how many windows it has. That, and the community pool.
But I digress...
If you want to take a good photo the first thing you should do is turn your flash off and open your curtains unless you have sheers. You should most likely turn off the lights around what you’re shooting as well. Move outside if you don’t have enough natural light indoors.
Like I did for this shot:
Our old house didn’t have as many windows as we do now, so I was often outdoors in the early days (with a point and shoot).
These were also photographed outdoors. I was frustrated with the clouds.
Yes, your neighbors will think you’re nuts for standing over a plate of food with a camera, but that’s OK. Because in three days, your image could go viral and once you’re viral, you can just sit back and do pretty much nothing other than enjoy it and hope it never stops.
It will stop, though, and that’s OK too. That’s why you post again.
I post about once a week due to the little people in my life. I also watch the weather report like a hawk and plan about five days in advance to write a post. I make sure the kids’ schedules are set, so they won’t need me while I’m working. I make sure there’s enough sunlight, I make sure that the table is waxed and that I have no outstanding deadlines. I also make sure the kitchen is fairly clean before beginning a post.
The fact is I don’t just randomly sit down and whip up a post about what my kids are eating for dinner that day with step-by-step instructions. I wish I could do that, as so many other bloggers do. But they are superheroes and I am not.
My kids are picky and eat about five things, all of which you most likely know how to make already. Instead I post about what I want to eat. In fact I’m pretty sure this entire food blog concept (for me) was created because I was frustrated with my picky eaters. I just wanted to eat something interesting. I was tired of everything being requested “plain.” That is so boring.
…my family would disown me, I’m pretty sure. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste amazing though. They’re just boring eaters.
Looking back, it has been really amazing to see my blog develop as a history of our family.
I have photos from when Trey and Max were born.
And I remember it like yesterday because it’s all right here in front of me. I have every holiday.
I have every adorable moment.
No scrapbooking required (sorry craft bloggers I just suck at crafts, I mean no offense). That has been a major bonus that I didn’t plan on developing. It just happened.
Someday I will be posting daily, I’m sure. But, that hasn’t happened yet. I am entirely too busy. I squeak by for now. And until then I try to make each post stretch by picking up odd jobs on social media platforms. Yes, occasionally I get paid to tweet. Weird, right? Yeah, that’s a real thing. Also, I do some graphic design work on the side and syndication of posts helps (a lot!) financially as well.
Getting paid for work I already did for free? Um, yes please! We’d like to take a vacation again in the next 30 years.
I also get about a thousand emails a day from people (companies, authors, networks, marketers, etc.) that are looking to get a message out to the public. They want me to try their product (free samples!) and get a message out to you, my readers, telling them my experience with said product. I only answer the ones that really interest me, honestly. At first I tried to answer everyone and everything and it was too much. Now I answer readers almost exclusively.
So, overall I work about 20 hours a week, not including “mom work,” and I do it always in the morning. I’m a morning person. Afternoons and evening are for the family. I plan around the weather and take a lot of photos of everything around me just in case something amazing happens, like this shot of Max collecting leaves on an autumn day.
In a world of digital photography, there’s no reason not to take photos of everything. I make money, yes, but I’m hardly rolling in it. Maybe someday. I started out with a point and shoot camera and a baby on my hip because I wanted something spicy to eat. It has grown organically from there. Most of the photos I do take don’t pass the blog test, but over time, I’m learning and growing and trying new things. It seems to be working.
It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of planning and creativity, but it beats arguing with strangers on the Internet.
At least, for me.