After many requests for this blog post, I’ve put together a list of my top tips for food bloggers. Whether you’re keen to start a food blog or you’re already a blogging pro, these tips are a great place to start or reconnect with your blog!
I’m so excited to be teaming up with Value Village for this post. They are running a campaign all about the importance of rethinking reuse and I naturally felt SO excited to share my favourite blogging & prop tips with you! I get many questions about where to buy the best props for food photography, and shopping second hand for props has been a fun hobby of mine since I started food photography. I hope you love this post on my top tips for food bloggers!
My Top Tips for Food Bloggers
1. Photography Tips for Food Blogging
This is a question I get asked a lot! Photography is a form of art, so obviously there isn’t one “right” way to do it. I’ve spent years uploading photos taken on my iPhone and I’ve also had my fair share of playing around with a DSLR. Being a health and wellness blogger, focusing on food, I would say that good quality photos are very important for my brand. This is why I’ve dedicated lots of time to learning the art of photography & editing and will continue to do so as my brand evolves.
What camera do I use?
I now use a mix of my 7-year-old Canon Rebel with a 50mm lens, a Sony alpha 6300 on rare occasion and for film, but my iPhone is probably my favourite tool. I taught myself the basics of photography but there are also wonderful tutorials all over the Internet for basic photography and food photography tips.
What about food styling?
Food styling was something I learned when I was working under a food photographer in Berlin, Germany in an internship position. I was blown away by the fun tips and tricks he taught me for making food look beautiful under the lens! My best tip would be to play around with fun and seasonal ingredients, use colourful herbs, flowers and spices to make recipes “POP” and deconstruct recipes if appropriate. I love using props to jazz up my photos (more on that below)!
How do I edit photos?
I like to shoot my photos outside in the shade. Good lighting is SO important! Although some food bloggers prefer using a lightbox (artificial light) I think natural outdoor lighting is the best or using an area that has a large window where lots of light can filter through is great, too. I edit my photos in Lightroom CC on my phone. There are tons of alternative free apps that are wonderful, such as VSCO and Snapseed. I use the app Planoly to plan out some of my feed and captions in advance.
2. Where to Buy The Best Props
What props do I use?
This is my favourite tip because it’s one I fell in love with in the early stages of blogging. Antique and second-hand props have always been my favourite, mixed with a few modern-looking pieces and you’re all set! I’ve partnered up with Value Village for this post because they were one of the first places I shopped when I started blogging – I would spend my days off buying oversized sweaters, old silverware and ceramic dishes. Buying second-hand kitchenware is not only gorgeous in photos, but it also is great for our beautiful planet earth! Purchasing a mix of lightly used modern kitchenware and rustic antique kitchenware will make for a perfect Insta-worthy kitchen. Below are a few examples of what I’ve purchased at Value Village, secondhand, that have been wonderful essentials in my pantry.
- off-white ceramic dishes, minimalist white bowls and plates, florally patterned teacup sets, Asian-style ramen bowls, white enamelware plates with colourful rims
- old baking sheets for backdrops, coffee grinders, teapots, spice grinders
- antique cutlery with wooden handles or gorgeous brass silverware, ice cream scoops, lemon squeezer
- milk jugs and small jars for shooting smoothies and for background props, wood and marble cutting boards
Using secondhand props brings character to your photos and gives them a super Insta-worthy feel (see below). As a background, I like to use a white sheet I purchased from a local craft store, old wooden cutting boards or marble from Value Village.
Value Village recently launched their 2018 State of Reuse Report to highlight the impact of donating, purchasing and reusing second-hand clothing & household products. While we are all aware of the impact purchasing second-hand items can have, I don’t think we aware of how incredible this impact really is. I think we can all agree that the most sustainable product is the one that already exists. Did you know it takes “700 gallons of water for every T-shirt sent to the landfill, [and]…1,800 gallons of water for each pair of jeans” (pg. 3) !? My favourite part of purchasing second-hand is the thrill of finding that one-of-a-kind item, like an antique teacup set or a pair of denim jeans that fit just right. In the State of Reuse Report, it is mentioned that “57 percent of respondents say saving money is the primary reason they buy pre-owned goods, followed by the thrill of the hunt. 69 percent say buying pre-owned goods feels like finding hidden treasure and 77 percent have been surprised by the great used items they’ve found.” There are so many incredible treasures to be found, especially when it comes to props for photography! I encourage you to head to your local Value Village and make a day of it – and don’t stop digging till you find your one-of-a-kind pieces!
3. How to Build a Brand
I started The Pure Life as a way to funnel my passion for health and wellness and to grow a community of women who were on the same health journey as I was. Over the years, The Pure Life became a brand and a platform for women to come together to celebrate holistic living. After studying holistic nutrition, I decided to pursue my business full time and began creating my brand as a small business. I feel so blessed to be living my dream life with my dream job!
The thing I love most about building a brand is that you get to be your own boss! Building a brand is like a baby, you must nurture, nourish and love it. But most of all, you must be patient with it. You might spend 5 hours one day cooking up delicious recipes and then 12 hours the next day figuring out how to integrate a newsletter form (for real). The most important thing for me when building my brand was to be authentically myself. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, but it’s most important to stay in your own lane and own it. We can often get caught up in focusing on other successful bloggers, but it’s so important to remember that the reason they are successful is because they chose to be uniquely themselves. You are SO special and the world needs a little more of you.
As much as we don’t want to hear it, picking a niche and sticking to it is the best advice I ever received. If you’re thinking of becoming a food blogger or taking your blog to the next level, I recommend picking a niche or an avenue that really excites you, that really lights you up! This might be “meals in 30 minutes or less”, “gluten-free recipes” or “nutrition for athletes”, for example.
4. How to Write the Best Content
My best tip for writing content would be to keep it real! Having a mix of content is what my platforms thrive off of and what my readers like, but that could vary from blog to blog. I personally like to write a mix of curated, informative content that is often backed by my knowledge as an R.H.N. and content that is fun, playful and from the heart. This keeps a good balance on my blog and makes my site approachable, interesting and informative.
Tips for writing good content:
- The writing itself is a big part of your job – keep it simple if you don’t like writing and make sure to spellcheck (I love Grammarly) if you’re writing long posts. Practice, practice, practice until you find your writing style.
- Make your recipes easy to find on your website and in your posts – that’s the good stuff!
- Stay authentic and genuine in your writing – people are reading your blog because they like you! Shine that light!
- Keep your content niche. When writing posts, I always recommend sticking to one general topic – you might confuse your reader if you go off topic. For example, if you’re writing a post on Healthy Smoothies, I wouldn’t recommend going off on a tangent on your new favourite pasta recipe, ya feel me?
5. How to Land Campaigns and Sponsored Posts
Some bloggers choose to work with companies through sponsored posts, some choose to create a stream of income from other sources like ebooks and affiliate codes and others choose to do nothing at all. I personally choose to do a mixture of all things because I love working in different creative ways. I love working with brands that align with my brand and promote healthy, holistic living. For instance, I already shop at Value Village on the regular and love that they promote a no-waste lifestyle, which is something I’m naturally becoming more interested in. So when they asked me to take part in their campaign, it was a happy and obvious “Yes!” to help share the message of rethinking reuse as a consumer.
There are many different ways to work with companies through sponsored work, but my best tips would be:
- Create a media kit and rates sheet with examples of your photography, your blog and social channel statistics and information on your brand which you can share with companies you feel align with your values.
- Fall down seven times, stand up eight. Failure and rejection is inevitable with most jobs, and the same goes for working with companies. If you don’t land your dream campaign the first time around, try and try again! I have contacted companies many times only to be rejected three months in a row and then approved for a year-long contract a year later.
- Work with companies that make you feel good – I recommend working with companies you actually love, products you actually use and brands that align with your brand. Not sure what your brand stands for yet? Get back to the drawing board and start brainstorming :)
I hope you loved these tips for food blogging. Got tips of your own? Share your thoughts below!
This post was sponsored monetarily and in the form of gift cards by Value Village. All opinions are, as always, my own. Thank you for supporting companies that support The Pure Life.