As of late, when I attend mom blogging conferences it’s for one of two reasons. Either I’m going to them on behalf of companies to find bloggers that might be interested in working with them or I’m attending in a role as mentor/volunteer.
To be honest with you, I don’t really learn much at mom blogging conferences anymore. After blogging for so many years, I kind of know this blogging stuff inside and out. So, if I go to a conference I’m either being paid to do so or I’m there to help others and in that case my conference fee is waived.
But this conference was a different story. The Food Blog Forum Conference held at Disney’s Grand Floridian was a smallish gathering of 125 food bloggers. And when I heard the lineup of speakers, I knew that I definitely wanted to attend.
While I feel like I know what there is to know about mom blogging, I still have a whole lot to learn about food blogging. And what better way to learn than by listening to others who have successful food blogs? It doesn’t hurt that attendees were offered a package that included a stay at the Grand Floridian, park passes and some meals at a giant discount. So, it was sort of a no brainer to attend.
The Grand Floridian is quite spectacular. The most deluxe of the deluxe hotels at Disney World, the Grand Floridian is exquisitely posh and the staff oh so very gracious. When we visit Disney we usually stay at the economy hotels. So, this was a very decadent weekend indeed.
Our conference was held right at the Grand Floridian at their conference facility which is located just minutes away from the hotel rooms.
And as I mentioned earlier, there were some highly successful food bloggers among us. Up above is David Leite who I feel very privileged to know. David was on a panel on growing your blogging community and he had some insightful comments to share. For those of you who love food, be sure to visit his site Leite’s Culinaria. Lots of good cooking over there!
My real purpose for attending this conference was to learn more about food photography. And when I heard that Todd Porter and Diane Cu were speaking, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to learn from two of the best in the food photography field.
But I have to be honest with you, I didn’t get as much from their presentation as I had hoped. You see, there was a lot of time spent talking about videography which totally isn’t my thing. And even if I was interested, their videos are professional and extremely creative. Way over my head.
So, for me it was a little frustrating as I had hoped to walk away with some new ideas on composition, props and equipment that I could use over at A Beautiful Bite.
Even though I didn’t get a lot of tips and hints on how to take better pictures, I did get the chance to network with other food bloggers which was pretty awesome. We chatted about cameras, recipes and the ups and downs of food blogging. It was very nice to share my joys and frustrations with other people who understand what I’m talking about.
Only a food blogger can understand why another food blogger would melt into a puddle of tears when the sun sets before a recipe can be photographed.
A food blogging conference wouldn’t be quite right without some food. We were treated to all kinds of whimsical creations made by the Disney chefs. While they had some delicious appetizers, I think most of us were enamored with the very magical dessert table.
And of course there was swag. Mostly edible swag. This was one conference where no one could say that they were hungry.
And if that wasn’t enough stuff to drag home, some of the attendees participated in a food swap. Myself and about 30 others brought food items that represented our states and we swapped in the Grand Floridian lobby.
Trying to get this stuff into my suitcase was the ultimate game of Tetris.
Oh, I had to save room for one last thing in my suitcase. In Downtown Disney there’s this shop called Goofy’s Candy Company where they hand dip treats in chocolate. My kids just love the chocolate dipped Rice Krispie treats. And even though my suitcase was bursting at the seams, I couldn’t leave without those.
All in all I had a great time. While I didn’t learn as much as I had hoped I would, it was still great to connect with other people who do what I do.
One thing that I heard from one of the conference speakers that really resonated with me is the idea that in order to grow, you need to surround yourself with people who are what you want to become.
And in my case I’d like to become a successful food blogger/stylist/photographer. So, even though I didn’t get a lot of new knowledge from the conference, I did make some new friends who are darn good at what they do. And there isn’t any conference swag better than that!