Yesterday, I attended Singapore's First Bloggers' Symposium, along with approximately 500 other bloggers. We easily filled out the SMU auditorium. I feel the strong turnout was largely because the limited places were overly subscribed!
For me, when I received the confirmation email, I truly felt the importance to be there, and to not be late. I believe that most of the bloggers felt the same need to be there, and be punctual, as the auditorium was filled way before the 1 hour registration time was up. Considering Singaporeans' bad habit of being perpetually late, I was deeply impressed by Nuffnang.
In addition, the message of this event was spread more than 1 month before the actual thing happened, allowing everybody ample time to sign up at Nuffnang's website. The message was also proliferated through a handful of media, like the 6 guest bloggers, Facebook, twitter and such.
Being an avid reader of both Xiaxue and Ieatishootipost, I was naturally well notified about the symposium.
Then of course, I had to grab the chance to meet one of them. It was tough choice between Xiaxue and food. haha.
Ended up choosing Dr. Leslie of Ieatishootipost because his workshop was featuring photo skills, while Xiaxue was featuring photoshopping skills, for which, I do not own the photoshop software. As such, photoshopping was not as relevant to me, since I do own a Sony H5 bulk camera, and I have rather quite a lot of experience with camera handphones, so to speak.
Really want to thank Nuffnang for the wonderful event and above expectation organization. Now I do expect them to keep up the standard. haha. =)
Other than the limited places and idolized bloggers, I also attribute the success of Singapore's First Bloggers' Symposium to its main sponsor, Canon. As many as three sets of the latest camera by Canon, the PowerShot S90, which costs some $700 on the market, were given out free to 2 lucky draw winners, and 1 photography contest winner.
The S90 is touted as a bloggers' camera due to its extremely clean and sleek finish and edges, that fits in right into a jeans pocket. I will just provide the official link to S90, in case anyone is interested.
I am very glad that the blogging world is getting more recognized, to an extent that suppliers/manufacturers are noticing us as a brand new market that can be precisely targeted, and products like the Sony Bloggie (videocam), are tailor-made for bloggers/vloggers.
Call it an attempt of the businessman to make money. But without demand, there wouldn't be supply, and vice versa. As long as we all get what we want and are happy, (while minimizing the damage to Earth), I am fine with it.
Dr. Leslie's Workshop - Making a Successful Food Blog & Food Photography
He is a normal man. hahaha. What I mean is, yes, these celebrity bloggers are as normal as you and I, even a real doctor! The way I saw Xiaxue from afar, she is normal too. I bet she'd be everybody's best friend if you are not her hater, and are a mahjong lover (and false eyelashes too).
This post is getting LONG (I am sorry again, I really can't help it when the torch to write fires up), so I will just list very important points from Dr. Leslie, that are still imprinted in my mind.
For a successful food blog:
1. Passion (is when you met your first love. Think what you did everyday, and do that to your blog.)
2. Niche (is when you do something that nobody else has done. Ramen in Singapore, for example.)
3. Formatting (is when readers see your obvious sign, get the feel from your sign about what your entire blog is about, can navigate easily with drop-down menus, tags, word search etc)
[For me, I like to see an obvious profile of the blogger, contact me, follow button, and links to their own favourites/useful sites. Dr. Leslie also recommended networking sites gadgets, live traffic, recent comments and all the funny gadgets you can see on his blog.]
4. Content (is when you provide useful information, like food stall opening hours, delicious food photos, ratings, directions, secret recipes, etc.)
5. Attitude (is when you don't treat others like retards, because everybody's taste is different.)
1. 1/3 rule (is dividing your screen into nine boxes like tic-tac-toe, then position your subject/focal point on either one of the 4 intersection points on the middle of the 9-box grid.
2. Lighting (is using backlight for food colour to show, and using the ISO to adjust down blueness if under white white fluorescent tubes lighting or adjust the yellow if under light bulbs).
3. Composition (is the colour balance, how much of each colour you have in the picture).
4. Crop (is to fill out every corner with food and not leave white spaces or try to take pictures of the bowl/plate in its entirety).
His standpoint was to go for artistic rather than truth. I think it really depends, as I personally like to observe the cutlery and crockery, because in restaurants, I am paying for the packaging. Different for hawker food, since they all use purple, orange, green or red plates. And in restaurants, type of material is important too, especially for Japanese food. It does makes a whole load of difference to the taste, the serving temperature etc, which you are definitely paying for. Thus I prefer presenting the bare fact so you get to see what I see and experience what I experience, and not get a rude shock, like why the bowl so lousy etc.
I would even show you a picture of the positioning the waiter serves my food in. I am not sure if anyone is really this particular. But since I do know a tiny bit about placement when it comes to dining, it is not in me to ignore poor basic waiter/waitressing. When you see nice display in some of my pics, 90% are done by me. I do not understand why I have to arrange my food for myself, when the waiters drops my bowl/plate with a "PONG" on my table, since a good number of the places I post about have very marked up prices and service charge on top of the high pricings.
Seriously, if you are a hawker and you bring my plate to the table, that's over-delivering. I expect myself to self-service.
That said, I am always deeply touched when a waiter/waitress serves well, explaining the rave I do when I post about it. haha, so you can actually judge my honest feelings towards something by the time difference between me using it, and me sharing about it.
Nevertheless, I do keep a personal stash of artistic photos, which I some times will post if I find that you will not get bored seeing at least 2 to 3 repeats of the same item. hahahahah, pardon me, but even with food, I need to squeeze maximum value out of it, by taking lots of pictures. Most of the food, I only eat once.
My conclusion is that bloggers like Dr. Leslie are focusing on food, and food, while I am interested in the entirety, like ambience, display, service, accessibility, quality/origin of ingredients, instead of taste alone.
5. Tools (is the camera you're using).
For me, it's things like brushes, curlers, walking shoes, my bag, camera, yes.
I guess that's all. I may do separate posts as personal responses to some of the issues Dr. Leslie raised. Feel free to comment/email me if you'd like to know more on the photography part, see sample photos/demos/visuals of what Dr. Leslie means, or just any question, like you want me to elaborate his points, because there was much more said than I can post in a single sitting.
Hope this helps if you were one of them who signed up for Bloggers' Symposium but couldn't go, or if you just like food and photography, like me. =)
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