You know, I’ve attended a tremendous amount of conferences in my blogging career. And for the most part, I really don’t get a ton of new knowledge or a-ha moments at most of them. Not that that’s a huge deal, as networking is really the name of the game at these things.
There has never been a conference that I’ve attended where I didn’t leave with at least one solid business connection that paid off down the road. So that makes them worth it without a doubt.
But IFBC? Well, let me tell you…
This conference was a different animal altogether. I’m actually leaving this conference with pages of notes and action items to implement as soon as I get home. And that’s a very rare thing for me.
Once you’ve been blogging for almost six years, there’s not a lot that’s presented that us long timers don’t already know. And I mean that in the least arrogant way possible. It’s not like blogging is rocket science or anything.
But this conference had a hook that dragged me from one side of the country to the other. You already know how much I hate to fly. So getting on a six hour flight had to have something pretty wonderful waiting for me on the other end. And in this case that special something was Andrew Scrivani.
Andrew Scrivani is a New York Times food photographer. A food photographer extraordinaire who I’ve admired for quite some time. His images are so exquisite that I look at them more as art than anything else.
The chance to meet Andrew and learn from him was almost more than I could ever hope for. Considering his next workshop commands the price of $5,361 for two people for a three night luxury food and photography weekend , that’s just a wee (choke) bit out of my budget. The $95 IFBC conference fee plus air and hotel was a bargain in comparison.
Ok, so imagine this…
You are in a room with 300+ people and the one person you aspire to be someday is addressing the room. You’re sitting there with your pen poised in your hand ready to take copious notes. Hanging on every word the speaker is uttering. And then that same speaker announces that he is calling up five people from a list in his hand who he is going to work with at the front of the room to shoot several stylized plates.
And then imagine yourself praying to God that your name is on that list and then by God he CALLS it?
Yeah, that. And my reaction? I actually screamed shut up in the most demure way possible. And then I grabbed my camera and raced to the front of the room.
It was an amazing experience to meet Andrew. To learn from him and to thank him personally for inspiring me to do better with my own food photography.
The picture you see above is the image I shot with Andrew. I think my palms were sweating when I took it.
I could really just stop this post right here and that experience alone would’ve been enough. But it just kept getting better and better.
The folks from WordPress were there and they set up a table where us bloggers could go learn more about the tech side of our websites. And what I learned from them will actually save me some serious dough in the months to come. A little knowledge can be a huge money saver.
And then there were friends. Old friends and new friends alike. There was a lot of socializing, eating, drinking (there was a lot of wine at IFBC) and general merriment all around. In the above picture you can see yours truly enjoying a wine tasting with Alyssa and Erina.
Our table was set for nine people with six glasses of wine at each setting. There were only four of us at the table which of course meant that we had to consume the rest of the glasses. Waste not want not. Civic duty and all. I’m just glad that I only drink red wine.
Of course there were dinners out too. Hence that dress I told you about a few weeks back. Here I am modeling it for you. It was a miracle that it still fit after everything I ate here. I felt like I was wearing a boa constrictor. As long as I didn’t breathe too deeply I was ok.
It’s a really good thing for me that this conference is over. Even though I learned so much, I don’t think my waistline could handle anymore IFBC. I’m going to close this post with some pictures of said incredible food and then plan my running schedule for this coming week.