A Series on Things I Wish I'd Known from the Beginning
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So, you are thinking about starting a food blog? When I started my food blog, I was pretty much brand new to blogging and it seemed pretty simple. I thought I'd just set-up a blog with WordPress and start writing! Well, I quickly found out, it was a little more involved than I had anticipated!
- Food Photography - Good photography is one of the key elements of a food blog. This might seem kind of basic and obvious, but when I first started dabbling in food blogging, I rarely took photos. If I did, it was usually only when I was in a restaurant, and rarely of a recipe I was making. If you haven’t already guessed, photos are everything in food blogging. Once I realized that, I began adding photos to my posts but my early photos were terrible! I’ve since re-shot most of them and I’m certainly not a pro yet, but they have definitely improved! I highly recommend investing some time in your photography - it will help with so many other things down the road! There are some excellent resources for improving your food photography. I’d specifically recommend Tasty Food Photography, From Plate to Pixel and The Food Photography Book.
- Lighting - The type of light you have available to you is going to depend on your schedule and where you live. I live in Chicago and work full-time, so the only time I have natural light available is on the weekend and on long evenings in the summer. While some people swear by natural light, with practice you really can take great shots with artificial light. Investing in good photo lights is important. I use the Lowel EGO Digital Imaging Light which I love. I'd actually recommend getting two of them as it makes it easier to balance the light and shadows.
- Backgrounds - When I started blogging I took most of my photos on my hardwood floors, which while quite pretty are really not the right thing for the background of a food photo. Photo background boards are what most bloggers use, and they come any many many different shapes and sizes. You can use anything from an old wooden table to boards you find on the side of the road, to something you make yourself. Even if you are not crafty, boards are pretty easy to create; this post from Love & Olive Oil is a good tutorial on how to make some inexpensive boards. If you are willing to make an investment the boards from Erickson Woodworks are beautiful!
- Photo Editing - Even as my photography improved, my photos still were not that great because I rarely edited them. If I did, the edits were minimal, like cropping done via iPhoto. While I still have a LOT to learn, editing makes a huge difference in your photography. If you are serious about blogging, I'd highly recommend investing in a good editing software - my personal choice is Lightroom. I found it easy to learn, and to use, plus it provides great results and has all the features you'll need for photo editing. If you purchase the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan you also get Photoshop, which I'm still learning, but is something you'll likely want down the road. It's very useful for creating long pins, images with text overlay (like the header image in this post) and photos collages. Here is an example of an unedited photo, compared to the edited version. Definitely a BIG difference!
Stayed tuned for Part 2 of the series in a couple of weeks!!