FBC12 recap

by Antonia on October 5, 2012

Last weekend I attended my first ever blogger conference. I couldn’t have chosen a better blogger event as my first. Food Blogger Connect brought together about 100 hundred bloggers from all over Europe and even beyond that and gave us a chance to learn, mingle and eat.

The venue

The workshop took place at Beaconsfield, a contemporary art gallery, a short walk away from Vauxhall Station in London.

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It’s a trendy place and with its various rooms it made the perfect spot for the sessions and workshops. The food markets were set up in the courtyard.

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Luckily the British weather was very cooperative over the weekend which gave us the opportunity to mingle and nibble outside.

The crowd

The event was organized by Bethany, her sister Joslin, photographer Sarka Babicka and Helen and judging from the professionalism of the gathering I’m guessing there were many others that helped create this event behind the scenes {thank you to everyone who helped!}.

I learned about FBC from Bethany’s blog and had also ooohed and aaahed over Sarka’s pictures but to be honest I didn’t have that much contact with European bloggers. I got to know Kathryn and Katie over twitter and it was fun when we met in “real-life”. However, it didn’t really matter that I hardly knew anyone. Attendees came from all over Europe and everyone was super chatty. I exchanged business cards with everyone I talked to and Sally had previously created a list of FBC attendees which was helpful to stalk get to know everyone beforehand.

Walking through the door the first day I was a bit nervous since I didn’t know what I was going expect but everyone was so welcoming and they made me feel right at home. Food was plentiful so I grabbed a muffin and a coffee and sat down next to Marica and we began talking with Karin until it was time to go outside for Bethany’s speech.

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After a champagne toast {thanks to Champagne Jayne} it was time for the first workshop.

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The workshops

Apart from meeting like-minded people the workshops were the main reason why I attended the conference. Over the weekend I attended a total of four workshops and tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

The first day was quite the busy one, I attended two workshops. The first one was Kickin’ in the Doors of Media with Susan Grossman. I decided to attend the workshop primarily out of curiosity about what magazine editors look out for when being pitched ideas for articles. It was the first time ever that I was confronted with the subject of freelance writing or just writing articles that would not be published on my blog and it was very helpful. Susan sure knows what she’s talking about and I walked away inspired by her enthusiasm for journalism.

The second workshop took place Friday afternoon. In an intimate group David Griffen talked about Artificial Light Photography.

David Griffen FBC

When I saw that this workshop would be offered I was immediately sold. I try to shoot in natural light but we all know that winter is fast approaching which means that good light will be available for about 30 minutes of the day where I’ll most likely be at work. So, this workshop came to my rescue. David taught us all about which equipment to use for good quality artificial light photography and we were all given one-on-one time to shoot some pictures.

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I just love watching professional photographers at work…all it takes it one try and they have a perfect shot…not fair!

I was super-lucky to be given a spot in Dianne Jacob’s food 3-hour writing class, Pen to Paper. I’m guessing most people know Dianne; she’s the one who wrote Will Write for Food, the ultimate guidebook for any food writer if you ask me. I read the book twice last year and read certain chapters whenever I need to freshen up my knowledge. The workshop was incredibly helpful. As you all know, this blog is not meant to be a food writing blog although I write about food. Sometimes I feel like just quickly typing up  a fun post and don’t put plenty of effort or thought into it. However, this will change. {hopefully}. Dianne read us excerpts of some beautiful food writing and it was just like listening to poems. Sometimes I feel like you have to be born a writer to really be able to properly form beautifully flowing sentences but I will do my best in the future to include some poetic references here or there. We were given two writing tasks and of course I was chosen to read my “masterpiece” out loud:

When my lips touched the small paper cup the sweet gingery smell took over the muffin-filled air in the room. The lusciously thick curry liquid instantly heated up my body while bits of chewy ginger slowly slid down the insides of the cup, ready to be devoured with the next greedy sip.

It’s about the Vitamix soup we were given to taste. And yes, I’m still dreaming of the machine! Some of the other attendees also shared their beautiful written work with the group. I was surrounded by some very talented writers!

The last workshop of the weekend was my personal highlight: a Food Photography and Styling Workshop with Ellen Silverman.

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She flew in all the way from New York to share her wisdom with us. I felt  beyond grateful to be given this unique opportunity to be taught photography by a professional. We set up and styled different tables that we could  then photograph. Ellen showed us how to do it and I think everyone was blown away by the beauty of her photographs.

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It was so kind of Ellen to give up her lunch break to have 5 minutes with every students to look through their blog and pictures. Apparently we all use props and cutlery were it would not be necessary. These are some of the shots I took.

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After the workshop the attendees all met up in the courtyard for a group photo and giveaways. In addition to a fully loaded swag bag I was the lucky winner of Grace Cheetham’s book Simply Gluten Free & Dairy Free. It was just the icing on the cake after a perfectly organized weekend!

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In case you’re interested in winning a Le Creuset Jam Pot you can enter my giveaway here!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo October 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

It was such a great weekend. Having read your post, I’m feeling a little “homesick” :)

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Antonia October 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I felt that way writing the post. Wish we could all go back this weekend!

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Bethany October 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

Lovely to meet you Antonia and glad to see you enjoyed it. Do let us know if you have further feedback by using the survey form we sent where you can also include anything you’d like us to incorporate for the upcoming year. Hope to see you soon x

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Bec October 6, 2012 at 9:58 am

All of this looks so wonderful! I’d love to go to a blogger conference! Looks like so much fun :)

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Ulli October 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

Wow, that looks great!!! I would have loved to come too, maybe next year!! Have a great start in the week!!

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Emilie @ Hungry Delights October 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Wow I wish I was there for the photography 101! I would really value that – looks like so much fun :)
xo Emilie @ Hungry Delights

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Ffion October 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Looks like such a fun event, would love to go to something like this in the future!

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Nina October 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Looks super fun :) Glad you had a blast!

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