Irish food photography workshop

Ireland is like Wonderland for me, especially when it comes to food blogging. I have been to two bloggers meeting since I moved here and I didn’t attend any in Poland. I wrote about a trip to Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill, but it a was very small meeting compared to this one. Last Friday Bord Bia (the organisation that promote Irish food in Ireland and worldwide) organised wonderful workshops.

There were about 45 food bloggers. You can imagine what a mess it was for me, I just started reading Irish food blogs, I couldn’t just come and say „I have been reading your blog for ages” rather „I found your blog yesterday, or maybe it was somebody else’s…”. You see, that’s not the best line to start conversation. But happily everybody was really nice and what was even nicer was that almost everybody brought some sweets, so you can imagine this lovely cookies’ heaven. Luckily, a few people had the brilliant idea of putting them into small packages.

The speakers and my notes

Donal Skehan– also known as Irish Jamie Oliverem. He published two books and runs the TV show Kitchen Hero. He is funny and full of energy. In short time, he managed to talk about all the basics about food photography that every blogger should know.

  • Get inspired by cookbooks, food magazines, websites like tastespoting, or Polish equivalent wykrywacz smaku. It’s not about copying, more about finding out what you like.
  • If you take photos regularly buy DSLR camera. I have one and I can tell you can buy the economic version, which sometimes can be even cheaper than some point and shoot cameras. Donal is using 50mm/1.4 lens, while I have 50mm/1.8, this is one of the cheapest lenses you can get (and only a little bit darker than 1.4), but still takes beautiful photos with that gorgeous blur, and I just love it.
  • Props you need for photos you can find everywhere. Charity shops, grandma’s house or a beach, just be creative.
  • When you have a DSLR, take photos in RAW files as they keep all the information. If somebody asks you to print your photos, you won’t have a problem with resolution. JPG is good for the web, but not for printing.
  • When posting photos on your blog, think how they will look. Maybe they could be bigger? Maybe you could insert a photo of every step? I know it’s a pain, but users will appreciate.
  • Don’t post only recipes. Sometimes is good to tell a story about a trip or the food blogger meeting ;)
  • When you are taking photos in a restaurant, try to be discrete.

Sharon Hearne Smith is food stylist for the best, such as Neven Maguire or the TV show Barefoot Contessa.
Sharon shown us tricks for food bloggers, but also some for professionals.

  • Never eat food in the photo studio. They can put some strange stuff (like window cleaner, stones and other things you don’t want to know about) on food, so just don’t, OK?
  • The stylisation process starts at the moment of shopping. So always pick the best looking strawberries if you plan to decorate a cake.
  • If our food isn’t perfect, don’t worry, check if there is a part of it that is perfect. The camera doesn’t see everything, so you can cheat, showing only the part that is nice.
  • Taking the best photo of perfect pizza can be harder than you expected. Sometimes you need to bake separately two kinds of cheese, salami and the rest of pizza. Then put it all together the way you like it and make this lovely brown dots on a cheese using a tool looking like a big hair dryer. But that’s only for pros.
Sharon Hearne-Smith at Irish Food Bloggers workshop
Sharon Hearne-Smith and Jocasta Clarke at Irish Food Bloggers workshop
Jocasta Clarke – from Dada Studios. She was making in-depth remarks when Donal was speaking. The first thing she did was showing us what kind of light isn’t good for your photos. It was beautiful sunny day, but the straight light is a killer. You need to defuse light using defuser foil or just a white bed sheet. Light will be much softer.

Jocasta Clarke at Irish Food Bloggers workshop

Kristin Jensen – writes two blogs Dinner du Jour and Edible Ireland. She is also editor. She told us very briefly about how to write good recipes. You can find her tips here.

Kristin Jensen at Irish Food Bloggers workshop

Damien Mulley told us about SEO. If you want your posts and photos to be easily found in google search try to make up a descriptive title and alt tags for images. It helps a lot.

The list of blogger who attended the meeting (thank you Adam for putting it all together)
Caroline Hennessy – Bibliocook
Lily Ramirez
A Mexican Cook in Ireland
Margaret O’Farrell
A Year in Redwood
Hester Casey
Alchemy in the Kitchen
Clare Kleinedler
An American in Ireland
Aoife Ryan
Babaduck
Suzanne Campbell
Basketcase
Paul Callaghan
The Sustainable Larder
Sarah Nicholson
Cake in the Country
Adam – Cook It Yourself Food Blog
Dorcas BarryDorcasBarry.com
Andrew Carey – no link
Ernie WhalleyFood N Cork
EmilyFrom China Village
Sheila KielyGimme the Recipe
Yvonne CartyHey Pesto
Jonathan TongeJono & Jules Do Food
Rosanne HewittLike Mam Used to Bake
Tracey NolanMammy’s Kitchen
Catherine Hayes-SparksMother of Invention
Lisa McGeeNenghGal
Nessa RobbinsNessa’s Family Kitchen
Paula Ryan – Paula’s Sweet Treats
Joanna SchaffalitzkySmorgasblog
Joanne CroninStitch and Bear
Lilly HigginsStuff I Make, Bake and Love
Corrinna Hardgrave – Tatler Food writer
Aoife CoxThe Daily Spud
Tara WalkerThe Tasty Tart
Margaret Smith & Neil DantonLive-and-cooking.umnumnum
Megan YoungVeggies and Me (beautiful photos)
Anne Marie CarrollWarm & Snug & Fat
CaitrionaWholesome Cook
Mona WiseWise Words

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