Written by adam on Aug 21, 2006
The Cardinal Rule of Food Blogging
Filed Under: The Web
Got a nice email from Austrailian blogger and Celebrity Chef, Benjamin Christie today about his article on food photography. Not sure if he was telling me that my photography sucks (which it does) or if he was being helpful. Either way, it's a really great article and even though he uses a lot of professional equipment, I think we could all learn some basic thing about how to arrange a shot and what kinds of shots to set up. It's also a pretty handy guide for styling your food.
This article will go well with Curt McAdams' Carnival of Food Photography, and I think a lot of us food bloggers could really learn a few things to make our blogs better.
Men in Aprons has been in existence for almost 2 years now. One of the main things I have learned about food blogging is this my cardinal rule: Pictures, pictures, pictures.
Of course there are all sorts of sub-rules, contingencies, permutations, and variations on that rule, but really you have to have pictures if you're going to have a decent food blog. If there's one thing that we should have learned about food porn is that food on the web is all about the visual. If you can't show what you've done, you're just another collection of recipes.
By including pictures with your blog posts you bring yourself an air of credibility, especially if the pictures are of your food creations and experiences. You let the reader know that you haven't just copied this recipe out of a book or from recipezaar. You actually cooked it and have actual results. Many people that participate in the Carnival of the Recipes should really take heart to this cardinal rule. When I hosted it a few weeks ago, I was surprised and disappointed at the number of participants who just wrote down recipes and failed to include pictures.
Your pictures will help draw the reader in and give them a sense of connection with you as the writer and with your blog. Pictures give them something to look at, to connect with what you are writing and to critique or admire. Shots of the food you make are one part of that equation, but other kinds of pics are critical to other types of posts you may have. I browse a lot of free photo and stock art web sites just to find pics that go with whatever I'm writing about. For instance, this post about telling doneness, includes a small free photo that helps illustrate the topic of my article. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of straight text posts.
The Pavlov Factor
Finally, photos of the food you make are going to keep people interested strictly from the food porn perspective. Visuals of food make people salivate and want to make what you've made. If it's any good and they reproduce it, then boom! You have a reader.
If anything, people just like to look at good food. Most of those big hardcover cookbooks that are gifted every christmas are nothing more than giant books of food porn where people just look at the the pictures and covet the deliciousness. Most people don't get around to cooking what's in those books, except for us freaks out here.
Having pictures with your blog posts is critical to the success of a food blog. And they don't have to be perfectly set up or professionally shot. This is the web, after all. People LOOK at a computer screen. It's a visual engagement. So do your readers a favor and include some pics.
Responses to "The Cardinal Rule of Food Blogging" ...
I agree with you, the more pictures, the better. Personally, I use photos to make up for my writing skills!
Coming up with photo ideas is half the fun. I peruse cookbooks and food magazines for ideas. It's my photography skills that are lacking. But I'm having fun learning.
Thanks for the tips.