I was one of 50 lucky bloggers to be chosen to take part in “Words to Go presented by PIRSA” – a culinary travel bloggers’ forum. This was held in conjunction with the Tasting Australia festival in Adelaide in April/May.
Delegates of Words to Go heard from a range of national and international food, travel and social media experts in a range of discussions. In total there were 7-8 keynote speakers each providing some tips and experiences from their professions/blogs.
For a long time, people have given me strange looks or laughed or lightly teased me when I say I write a blog, so much so that I just don’t mention it to people anymore in fear of being laughed at or made fun of but it was extremely inspiring to hear these speakers talk about their experiences and passions and their love for blogging, it made me realize I’m not weird or crazy for starting my own blog, standing up for what I want and following my own dreams.
At times I found the forum a little hard to follow and I found it difficult to get into due to the subject of food, don’t get me wrong I LOVE food and we often write about food eg: dinning reviews however I don’t personally enjoy cooking so a few of the keynote speakers lost me… with that said I thoroughly enjoyed thinking outside of my little travel box and learning more about food bloggers and photographers.
Okay so enough about me, I bet you are wondering who these inspiring speakers are and what was so inspiring about them, so here they are:
Lauren Bath – Australia’s leading Instagrammer
Lauren Bath aka the “Instagram Girl”, is Australia’s first professional instagrammer, pretty cool huh! Before Lauren realized her passion for photography, she was a chef in Queensland. She said that she joined Instagram in its early stages and started posting photos, where she was regularly featured on the popular page and she was able to connect to the large Instagram community.
Lauren currently has over 350,000 followers! That’s a lot of love!
After months of anxious planning Lauren quit her job as a chef and started her on “photography journey”, since then she has grown her knowledge in photography as well as marketing herself and her brand.
Lauren was kind enough to share some tips with us on photography, editing images and becoming an Instagram hero:
1. Put your followers in your shoes
2. Always put your best work forward.
3. Always edit your photographs (it doesn’t always shave to be with photoshop, Lauren suggest Snapseed)
4. Get involved in the community (whether its twitter or Instagram or Facebook) and always reply to follower’s comments.
5. Always look to improve, take classes on photography or learn the basics online.
Robyn Eckhardt – author Eating Asia
Robyn and her husband David (who you will hear more about a little later) live in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and travel around from time to time writing about their travels and of course about food! Robyn spoke about how she likes to experience a new country; she said that as soon as they gets off the plane or first thing in the morning, they head to the local markets. They then sit and watch the goings on in the market for a few hours and after a while Robyn will interact with vendors and people purchasing food or goods. She likes to ask the locals what they plan to make with what they are purchasing, this way she learns about different cultures and what their favourite homemade meals are rather than going off a list about “List of dishes to try”.
Robyn made a good point, she said that too many people think there is nothing left to discover when travelling but it’s not true, each article is written different, each person discovers something different.
Caz Makepeace – one author of YTravel Blog
I have followed Ytravel Blog for a while; Caz and Craig are a big inspiration for me. They have been travelling together forever and now travel with their 2 little girls. Caz spoke about her experiences in travel with her husband and her 2 children as they are currently doing a road trip around Australia over 18 months (I think).
Caz touched on how she is travels and lives with her family 24/7 and how she handles people giving her crap about putting her kids in the limelight. She, like any mother just wants the best for her children, she wants to give them “wings” and give them a chance to experience the world rather than being stuck in a classroom being taught what schools want to teach them (with that said Caz is a teacher and home schools her children while they travel). She said not to let yourself (or your children) be set up for failure, try new things, don’t let fear stop you. Live in the light, the world is not a horrible place, yes there are horrible people in the world but not everyone has nasty intentions.
Something Caz said really resonated with me was “Be in control of your choices and listen to your heart” She continued saying you need to “get back to basics, what is at the heart of you, how can you improve people” and one of the best quotes for the day “Chase the dream not the money”
Caz is one of the most inspirational people I’ve met or maybe I don’t get out enough, hahah!
Katie Quinn-Davies – author What Katie Ate
Katie is a Food, Travel and Lifestyle Photographer; Cookbook Author and Part Time Blogger. She started her work life as a Graphic Designer and in feb 2009 decided to finally take the leap into Photography, food photography to be exact and she’s a bloody good photographer. Katie has a great passion for cooking and creating works of art, she cooks, styles and shoots for all of the content for “What Katie Ate blog” and she also comes up with all of her own recipes. Katie used to wake up at 7am each morning to cook, style and shoot her food in order to build up a great portfolio then in March 2012 she moved to Sydney where she her career took off and she became a full time Photographer.
Katie spoke about her experiences in food photography and had said she had once spend $2,000 on a shoot for her blog, where she bought the food and props and spend hours shooting it, If that’s not commitment… what is! She isn’t afraid to make a mess in order to get a great shot. That’s what I loved about her photographer, it’s not neat and pretty and messy and real!
Katie has worked with some big names in her successful career like Penguin Books, Murdoch books, ACP Magazines, News Magazines, Conde Nast Brides, Vogue Weddings Japan, Delicious Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Food + Wine NYC, Real Living Magazine, Fairfax Media, Tourism Victoria, Kellogg’s, Kitchen Aid, Unilever, Sonoma Breads, Taylors Wines, Lean Cuisine, to name but a few and of course she has published 2 of her own books (1 of which has only just come out).
Greg Snell – Winner Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World South Australia position
I enviously followed the “best job in the world” campaign and currently follow Greg Snell on Instagram (you should too!) he’s a great photographer. It’s funny because before this forum I was chatting to him on Instagram and “won a beer” for guessing the correct location of one of his photos (whoot!). He was good to his word and “paid” me my beer at a dinner the group had.
Anyway enough about beer, Greg talked about social media and how he won the best job in the world. Greg was working as a tour guide in Brazil when he decided to apply for the best job in the world, little did he know that he would beat thousands of applicants and 18 finalists to be the Wildlife Caretaker based on Kangaroo Island in South Australia
Greg gave us some great tips around social media and how it helped him win this once in a life time job:
1. Post good content a few times a day via Twitter and Instagram.
2. Post more videos, people enjoy visual stimulation.
3. Interact with your followers.
4. Be yourself.
David Hagerman – photographer Eating Asia
David is the other half of Eating Asia, he’s a full time photographer living in Malaysia, he travels with his wife Robyn (and travels independently).
He has worked with some BIG name companies such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal Asia, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, Food & Wine, Budget Travel, Saveur, Chicago Tribune, South China Morning Post, Electrolux, Nestle’s, Bon Ton Resorts, CIMB Bank and Disney/ABC Television Group.
David has such a passion for photography. He, like Robyn loves to head straight to the markets as soon as he arrives somewhere. He said he enjoys watching people in the markets and likes to find “up high” locations to photograph the interactions within markets. David believes that food is a doorway to different cultures.
David didn’t talk too much; he showed us images of his travels and talked us through a few of his more powerful shots. He encouraged us to try to tell a story with our photos, whether it’s capturing a transaction or “the action” around a market. Have a human element in your photos.
His tips were:
1. Straighten up the photo, sure the “squares” in your view finder.
2. Ask people to be in your photos or if you can take a photo of someone
3. All in or all out – If you are taking a photo of someone holding something, make sure the hand is all in or all out.
4. If all else fails – Photograph cats!
Chloe Reschke-Maguire – Yelp Adelaide Community Manager
Chloe (aka the Yelp Lady) is the Yelp Community manager for Adelaide; she gave a brief talk on how important community is how to turn your average readers into raving fans!
Chloe talked through how to “turning your average readers into raving fans”, she said photos and lists are the “big” thing at the moment, look at Buzzfeed, they visually connect with their audience. Chloe also talked about having a personal brand and getting out there and meeting people, connecting to your fans and asking for referrals.
Helen Yee – author Grab Your Fork
Helen from Grab your fork was on a panel discussion (with Robyn, Chloe & one of the organisers) for a few short discussions on Street food & Ethical restaurant reviews.