Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a blog post start to finish? Well food blogging is not always glamorous in the Tastemaker kitchen. The window light in my kitchen is not bright enough for me to take pictures while I cook. There may or may not be a table pushed up against a window in my living room. I have also been known to get on a ladder in my driveway to get the right shot. The neighbors definitely think I’m crazy. And you know all those pictures of my hand pouring something? Self timer and a tripod. I have had to teach my fiance how to take photos with my camera so that he can do some of those shots.
Food blogging may be a mystery to you, so I thought I’d share a little bit about what my creative process is, and how I bring together a post.
Why did you start a food blog?
I started my blog without a focus! This is not something most bloggers or blog resources will recommend, but I wanted to practice putting out content and find out what I liked to post about before committing. I needed the freedom to be creative and share all of my interests at first, and then food blogging just kind of chose me. I started out posting about my life, interior design, and DIY, but I kept making all these recipes and posting them, too.
My first recipe post was a spicy hot chocolate recipe, and I was really loving my photos (in retrospect, they’re not that good haha). I was also facing some road blocks with my other content. Interior Design posts proved expensive. And I had no idea how I was going to make posts like that without spending an arm and a leg. My fiance was like, “You constantly talk about food, you know more about food than anyone I know, and you keep making all these great recipes. Why don’t you just post recipes?” So I did! I just switched gears and never looked back.
What photography equipment do you use?
I use a Canon 5dmkii that I bought on Craigslist two years ago and a yongnuo 50 mm 1:8 lens. I bought an offbrand lens because it was cheaper than the canon lens, and it works great so far! I don’t regret it. It’s the lens my 14 year old brother recommended. He’s really good at technology. I am not.
I also have a cheap Amazon tripod. But something I learned early is, it’s never the camera, it’s the photographer. You don’t need fancy equipment to take photos! It can help, but in the end, your skill is what matters. To edit, I use the VSCO film 05 filters for Lightroom. I started using these a few months ago and tweaking them, and I love the grainy quality! It’s a great tool to have under your belt.
Where do you take pictures?
I take photos in my living room/dining room. I have to move the dining room table to the window, take our curtains down, and use a step stool to get overhead shots. I actually bought my house because of the beautiful big windows, and I’m so glad I did! Even though the kitchen isn’t as bright, I have sunlight in my dining room for at least 8 hours a day, year round. For my background when taking photos, I have several backdrops that I made of wood, all very heavy. Because the kitchen is dark, I generally cook in the kitchen and then bring things out to the dining room to photograph. I do have a home office, but the light just isn’t right for blogging most of the time.
How do you come up with recipes?
I have a big notebook that I keep with me at all times devoted to my blog. Whenever I feel inspired by an ingredient, I will write down my ideas. Sometimes it’s a bunch of scrawl that says random things like “leeks!” or “curry poutine.” But I go over it when I’m doing my blog planning and decide what I think will make a good recipe. I make two recipes a week, and I plan, cook, and shoot them all on Saturday and sometimes Sunday.
How long does it take to make one blog post start to finish?
Since I post two recipes a week, I plan on spending 4-6 hours per post cooking, shooting, editing and writing. So Saturday I wake up early and start at 8 am and don’t stop until 4:00 pm. Then I get up on Sunday and do it all over again. I don’t use any lighting equipment, so natural light is important! Summer is great because I can wake up later and the sun stays out until 8:00 pm. But winter is brutal, and I’m always in a rush to get it done before the sun goes down.
Do you ever make a blog post that doesn’t work out?
YES. All the time. I once spent 4 hours making and shooting chilaquiles and it looked so gross I couldn’t bring myself to post it. It’s a bummer, but failure teaches me more than success. I ended up finding a new way to make chilaquiles that looked and tasted better.
Where do you get your recipe ideas?
It usually starts with an ingredient I love, and then I get inspired by things I see online or traditional recipes that I try to change up. I try to use seasonal ingredients because they look the best at their peak! And it’s fun to try and stick to what’s in season. It’s also a great way to support your local farmers market, since they’re not growing everything under the sun all the time. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t cook a whole lot of red meat, if any, and half of my recipes are vegetarian. I just think plant-based is best! It’s better for you, and I love a good challenge to make something that not only tastes good, but is also healthy.
I hope these questions gave you a little insight into what it’s like to have a food blog. If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a direct message on the contact page, or comment below. Thanks for reading!