Did you ever think Taiwanese meat sauce over rice could look so beautiful?
I was floored and blown away by the creativity of the students at my workshop this past weekend at the annual East Coast ITASA (Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association) Conference at Georgia Tech University.
Yes! I gave my first food blogging workshop and it was super fun! Here's a recap of what I talked about, as well as some photos from the workshop itself!
I spent part of the time talking about how I got started with blogging, and then what I did to "take it to the next level." I emphasized the importance of picking a strong blog name that really identified who you are. Ideally, pick a url with a "dot com" ending.
For fun, I flashed up on the screen various names and logos I had toyed with before settling on Tiny Urban Kitchen.
Next, I gave some tips on how I took my personal "blogspot" blog to the next level.
1. Focus on creating high quality content! (good writing, photography, voice, etc)
2. Spread the word about your blog! (e.g., visit & comment on other blogs, submit photos to photo aggregating sites like Tastespotting, etc)
Of course, it still takes a lot of hard work, time, and effort before people may start to recognize or find an excellent blog. However, I'm convinced that if you create really good content and you get yourself out there, people will notice and if they like you, they will stay and become faithful readers.
It's impossible to cover all aspects of food photography in 30 minutes, but I did give some key tips on easy ways to improve one's food photography.
"First and foremost, try your hardest to take pictures in daylight. The color of natural sunlight just makes photos look so much better. When I'm in a restaurant, I will often request to sit next to a window just so I can take advantage of the light!"
Obviously, you can't always take pictures in daylight, especially in the evenings! In those cases, white balancing a photo can make a world of a difference.
Above is a before and after picture showing how simply white balancing a photo improves it dramatically.
I also gave many more examples of various types of photo compositions, showing what works and what does not! Finally, I gave several food styling tips, such as "add splashes of color" and "create borders and space."
Cooking Demonstration! Taiwanese Meat over Rice
In the middle of the workshop, I showed them how to make one of my favorite and easy college-friendly Taiwanese dishes, "loh-bah bng" ("lu ro fan" in Mandarin, or literally "stewed meat rice").
For the last half hour, I split everyone up into teams of eight people, and told them to try styling this inherently ugly dish!
Off they go . . .
And then . . . wow! Aren't these gorgeous?
I was seriously floored by the creativity and artistry of these students!
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