BlogHer Food '09 Agenda

Day 1: Friday, September 25, 2009
Time Event
8:00am - 9:00am Networking Breakfast

Brought to you by California Milk Advisory Board.

9:00am - 9:30am Welcome
9:45am - 11:00am Visual Track: Developing Your Visual Voice

What to think about before you ever shoot a frame. Join Matt Armendariz from Matt Bites and Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks as they cover photography best practices and basics. We'll also talk about how to develop your own style, and how to bring it to life…from gear to lighting to environment.

Vocation Track: How Blogging Best Practices Apply, No Matter Your Blogging Niche

Lots of blogging experts recommend having as narrow a topic as possible. To specialize, especially in an ever-more-crowded blogging world. This panel will outline the universal best practices that will help any blogger, even a niche blogger, serve a wider audience. Topics to be covered include:

  • Designing your blog for user-friendliness, findability and value-add functionality
  • Having recipes that are simple, clearly-written and appealing
  • Using photography to enhance your content and your blog'a appearance and readability
  • Being a good blog citizen: From how to build good community karma, to how to build (and sustain) trust with your readers
  • Staying true to the focus or specialty of your blog, while also offering value to those who aren't nearly as focused as you are!

Vegetable-focused Alanna Kellogg moderates this fine crop of niche bloggers: South Beach Diet devotee Kalyn Denny from Kalyn's Kitchen, Vegan Yum Yum's Lauren Ulm, Elana Amsterdam from the gluten-free Elana's Pantry and Wine Girl, Michelle Lentz.

Values Track: The Politics of Food...and Food Blogs

We know food bloggers can change the world (see Session #2 in this track!), but food bloggers are also working to change the world of food itself. This panel will explore the very deliberate movement to change minds within and about the food industry. We'll meet bloggers who are working hard to use blogging's powerful platform to get various messages out. Jennifer Maiser, the woman behind the Eat Local Challenge, moderates this panel including Bonnie Powell, founder of Ethicurean, Greg Massa, an organic brown rice farmer, Eddie Gehman Kohan from Obama Foodorama and Elizabeth Castoria, managing editor of VegNews Magazine and author of their Cafe VegNews blog.

11:00am - 11:45am Morning Break and Demonstrations

This break includes demonstrations by Top Chef and Pillsbury.

11:45am - 1:00pm Networking Lunch

Brought to you by Bertolli Frozen Meals.

1:00pm - 2:15pm Visuals Track: Principles of Photography

Also known as White on Rice Couple, Todd Porter and Diane Cu are professional portrait and special event photographers, photojournalists and cooking instructors. In this Principles of Photography session, they'll cover important principles to elevating your photographs to their maximum potential. Basic discussions such as Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, shooting on Auto vs Manual settings will be covered to help you understand your camera better. They'll share simple techniques and tricks to capturing the best image possible in a variety of situations: in your kitchen or in dynamic/restaurant/food festival settings. Topics also included are camera choice/selection, point-and-shoot vs. DSLR's , equipment and lighting, the value of a good lens, and studio vs. location photography. As obsessed food bloggers, they'll gear the discussion toward photography in the food blog world.

Vocation Track: Your Blog is Great…now what? Letting your blog lead the way to new opportunity

Ever wonder how some of today's most prominent food bloggers got to where they are today? We're talking cookbooks, TV appearances, regular columns in mainstream print media, consulting...all as a direct result of their blogging work. Learn from these high-achieving foodbloggers the hard work and practical actions behind their success. Topics to be covered include:

  • How your blog can represent you, your personal brand, and your work in the world
  • How to blog like a professional, before you've earned a single dollar from or because of your blog
  • How to put yourself out there and build meaningful business relationships via online communities and offline events
  • How to build authentic community, both with other bloggers and with potential business partners
  • How to help the right people find your great blog, including easy, practical tips for using simple SEO and social media tools

Amy Sherman moderates a full-disclosure discussion with Jaden Hair and Helen Dujardin, as all three of these blogging professionals talk about the hard work that goes into being an "overnight success"!

Values Track: How Food Blogs Can Save the World

Food bloggers have spearheaded numerous effective activism projects, both online and off. In this practical session, learn how food bloggers--with their own style and creativity--support issues they care about around the world and close to home. We'll discuss how to create or participate in a blogging event; how to promote and support your project; how to use your blog without losing its focus on food; how to engage other bloggers to help you; how to find corporate and small business partners to lend support; and how to take that action offline as a volunteer or activist. Genie Gratto will moderate this panel featuring Lydia Walshin, founder of Drop In and Decorate®, Valerie Harrison, a co-founder of BloggerAid and Pim Techamuanvivit, who founded and oganizes the Menu for Hope.

2:30pm - 3:45pm Visuals Track: Advanced Photography

Joining Matt Armendariz will be Lara Ferroni, a BlogHer returnee after rocking BlogHer '07 as part of that event's Food Photography session. These professional food photographers...both of whom use home studios and are happy to eat the food they photograph!...will be at your service to take your photography to a new level.

Vocation Track: Protecting Yourself and Your Work

Set your own attribution, copyright and content sharing policies. Monitor the Internet to make sure your policies are respected. Learn how to fight back against content theft and unfair use. Learn what you can't protect. Protecting your work is important to most of us, but if your blog is part of your career plan, then it's critically important to secure your content. BlogHer deals with this on a daily basis, so Sean Timberlake has double the reason to lead this discussion with Elise Bauer, who says protecting her work could be a full-time job, and foodblogger and lawyer Lisa Johnson.

Values Track: The Meaning of Identity and the Value of Voice in a Crowded Foodblogging World

Your identity and your voice are not identical, but they are inter-related. And they are what define and differentiate you in a crowded blogosphere. How can you convey more than just useful information in your blog? How can you share who you are and what you believe...and why does it make a better blog: BlogHer co-founder Jory Des Jardins moderates a conversation with Ree Drummond, Garrett McCord, Dianne Jacob and Susan Russo about the value of our voices.

3:45pm - 4:30pm Afternoon Break and Demonstrations

This break includes a demonstration by Chocolate Adventure Contest, hosted by and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.

4:45pm - 5:45pm Closing Keynote: Foodblogging, now and forever

Everyone seems to agree that successful blogging...whether your "success" is measured in money, career opportunities or deep relationships and strong community ties...requires commitment, longevity, patience. How do you build your site and community authentically? How do you sustain momentum and avoid burnout? What keeps it fresh? A surprising number of BlogHer Food attendees, and bloggers in general, have brought up "blogger burnout" as a concern of theirs. Even if they've only been blogging a year or two.

This keynote conversation will explore how three bloggers who have been at this a while...and at a very high level of accomplishment...keep on keeping on. Elise Bauer, Ree Drummond and David Lebovtiz are very different kinds of bloggers, with very different approaches. If they share one thing in common, it's the passion that they have tapped into in order to be dedicated and constant bloggers over a combined 14 years. BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone will moderate this discussion and give us all a peek into what makes Elise, David and Ree tick...and get their tips for helping us all keep ticking.

6:00pm - 8:00pm Cocktail Reception

Brought to you by Campbell's Soup Company.