With this in mind I went to Food Blogger Camp 2011 at Grand Vales Riveira Maya, half an hour from Cancun airport at Playa del Carmen. It was a long haul for me to get there from Provence and took three days with stops in London and New York; but the long journey was forgotten once I was there. It was a beautiful, all-inclusive, resort with two huge pool areas. Every morning I swam in one of the pools and wondered how rich I had to be to have a pool like this in my garden. It was very long, so I had a lot of time to ponder on it.
Each morning we had seminars given by leading food bloggers and photographers, Jaden Hair, Todd and Diane, David Lebovitz, Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson. They all shared their tales of how they got to where they are now and gave us advice on how we might follow in their footsteps.
Each of them was generous with their insights and experiences and each had a different angle to show.
I learnt how to use my camera, which I had had for two years and never moved the dial from auto. I learnt how to use light and depth of field to give different effects and create different moods in a photo.
I learned technical things like how people can find me more easily, how I need to use multiple skills and to develop personal branding.
I had to write more often and be consistent, to know my intentions and what I am trying to achieve with my blog.
I should always be generous and give feedback to other blogs but not use it for self-promotion.
My blog should be about me and my individual story and I should be focused and know my audience.
I also learned some clever food styling tips, and even though I've been around food stylists for years, working on commercials (it usually was more about how to get a perfect head of beer, or how to make instant noodles look appetising) I learned how the professionals make delicious food come off the page and make your mouth water.
|What to do with fois gras and a blow torch|
|Giving the food that smokey taste|
Oh and there was the whole of the beach front to explore or just lie down on on a sun lounger whilst someone came and brought you a bucket of water on ice and Pacifico beer. If you wanted a snack, they'd bring you that too. Or you could swim up to the poolside bar and order a margarita.
So now that I am back in Provence, I'm reflecting on all that I have learned and hoping that the experience, along with better photos (out of focus pictures aren't funny, they make people feel sick) and a better site (moving to Provence Calling soon, thank you Garth) will give you, my readers a better time when you are reading my blog and that you will tell other people about it and I will get many more readers, who will want to follow my blog and make lots of comments. And that some time soon I will be able afford a pool that I can swim in every morning before sitting down at my desk. But that was another thing I learned, not to do it for the money, but for the pure joy of it.
With thanks to Kerry Gold butter and Grand Velas for their kind sponsorship. I was truly spoiled rotten and my craving for Mexican food and Margaritas is sated for the time being. Also thanks to Kate Moeller for organising everything and always being helpful and patient, no matter how stupid the question. It was great to meet fellow bloggers, and to share their experience and to feel the comradeship of community and realise you're not alone in the strange world of blogland.
|And this was entirely made of butter|
Food Blogger Camp 2011 (David Lebovitz)
What I learned in Mexico (Pinch my Salt)
Food Blogger Camp 2011 Grand Velas (Dinosaur Dishes)
Health through Food & Friendship at Food Blogger Camp (Awake at the Whisk)
Escape from Grand Velas (Undercover Carerer)
Food Blog Camp: Seeing the Light (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Food Blog Camp-Cancun (What’s Gaby Cooking?)
Food Blog Camp! ¡Hola! México! Part Uno (Kitchen Conundrum)
Food Blog Camp 2011 (Mommy Cooks!)
Food Blog Camp: Hello from Mexico! (Daily Nibbles)
What I learned…Food Blogger Camp 2011 (A Communal Table)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Food Blog Camp 2010 (Adventures of an Amateur Foodie)
Mango Margaritas and Food Blog Camp (Sally Cameron)
Hola from Riviera Maya (Savuryandsweet)
If You’re Happy and You Know it, Eat Foie Gras (FRANtastic Food)
Food Blogger Camp: Molecular Gastronomy Demonstration (The Recipe Renovator)
Food Blogger Camp Riviera Maya (Family Fresh Cooking)
10 Lessons Learned from Food Blog Camp 2011 (Food Woolf)
Oh, Mexico! Food Blogger Camp (Bake Cupcakes)
Food Blog Camp: The Whole Enchilada (Acorns and Apples)
Life Lessons from Food Blogger Camp (Together in Food)
Pool Time! Video (Matt Bites)
Community Across the Globe: Food Blog Camp 2011 (The Urban Baker)
Food Blog Camp 2011 at Grand Velas (Matt Bites)
Food Blog Camp (Steamy Kitchen)