BlogHer Food '12 Agenda

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Day 1: Friday, June 8, 2012
Time Event
8:00am - 9:30am Breakfast, Featuring a Welcome from the BlogHer Founders and a "Pioneer Presentation" from Diane Cu and Todd Porter

Kick off BlogHer Food '12 with BlogHer's co-founders Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. They'll unveil a sneak peek at the results of BlogHer's latest survey focused on, what else? you and food. Then, Diane Cu and Todd Porter will discuss voice, depth, and embracing imperfection to create authentic, raw, and approachable stories. Search for your inner visual voice, find the story that is meaningful to you, and craft that through words, photography, and video on your blog. You’ll be inspired to make your blog unique, with empowered purpose, and stand out in a crowd with a distinction that only you can create.

9:45am - 11:00am Values: Food Literacy: Separate Food Fact from Food Fiction and Enhance Your Credibility [Beginning]

It is essential for food bloggers to have an understanding of food trends and terms, and to know where to find reliable food and nutrition information. Join Amelia Winslow, Kath Younger, and Janet Helm as they show how you can educate yourself about the food system, food politics, and specific food issues so you can become an integral and credible part of the growing food movement. Gain a real understanding of hot food terms like organic, natural, humanely raised, genetically modified, gluten-free, sustainability, and more, as well as where to find trustworthy definitions of food terminology. Discover ways to find reliable, research-based sources of food and nutrition information, and learn just how powerful your voice as a blogger can be.

Visuals: Food Photography Trends: Beyond Pretty [Int/Adv]

Food photography, in both subject and style, must tell a very personal story to engage readers. Anita Chu and Stephanie Shih examine how the changing landscapes of food and social media have reshaped food photography. This session will educate you about the latest trends in food photography, and teach you how to move beyond cookie-cutter “pretty” photos to truly distinctive and memorable photography. Learn to develop “soft eyes,” create mini-stories, select props judiciously, use the correct lighting and exposure, and make the most of your camera and your publishing platform.

Vocation: Traffic Building: Using the Latest Social Tools [Int/Adv]

Bloggers seeking to grow their blogs or monetize their content must have a strategy for building traffic that includes social tools like Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and Pinterest. Neysa King moderates this panel with Jeanette Chen, Kalyn Denny, and Stephanie Stiavetti, who help you understand your social options and determine which ones are right for you and your blog. They’ll demonstrate how to create a strategy for each of these platforms that expresses your identity and builds your brand, and then make those strategies actionable to drive traffic to your site. Learn how to use reporting tools to find out if your efforts are paying off -- and if not, where and how to refocus your attention.

Voice: Pushing Boundaries in Food Blogging [Advanced]

The questions you ask yourself in the kitchen make for the stories you want to tell on your blog, and your readers want to hear. Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot show you the value in trusting your instincts and letting your curiosity lead your way. This panel will encourage you to push yourself to do things that you aren’t sure you can do, all the while documenting your journey. See how to learn more from a hard-earned failure than an easy success and discover that when your words and pictures are honest and true, your audience will find you.

11:00am - 11:45am Morning Break
12:00pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 2:45pm Values: Hunger in America: Understanding the Problem, Galvanizing Community Action [Beginning/Int]

The face of hunger is changing and it is affecting our families, friends, children, and neighbors. Nearly 49 million (1 in 6) Americans face hunger. Genie Gratto moderates a discussion with Diana JohnsonPaula Thornton-Greear of Feeding America, and Marley Rave of Meals on Wheels who will share ways you can help raise awareness about hunger in America through your blog and social spaces. You’ll also learn how easy it is to make a tangible difference beyond your blog, by volunteering, advocating, donating, and participating.

Visuals: How Cookbook Photography Differs from Blog Photography [Advanced]

Many bloggers are doing the photography for their own cookbooks now, as well as for others, and often these gigs are offered to bloggers without formal commercial photography experience. There are important ways in which shooting photos for a cookbook differ from shooting photos for a blog. Alice Currah, Aran Goyoaga and Michael Natkin will show you what’s involved in shooting the kind of cookbook photography that editors want, from food styling to photo quality. They’ll guide you through creating a realistic workflow to create great food images in real home kitchens.

Vocation: Get to Know Your Blog's Guts and Take Control of Your Blogging Destiny [Beginning]

Have you always been mystified by web acronyms like HTML and MySQL? Does the technical stuff sometimes seem like utter gibberish? Do you wonder why you even have to know about it when you can hire a web designer? Andrew Wilder, Adrian Nyland, and Rajashree Karwa will walk you through all the basics in plain English. They’ll explain how a website works, from the moment one of your readers types in your website address to the time they’re happily reading your latest recipe. They’ll explain those acronyms, and discuss the basics of HTML and how it works to make your site function. They’ll also cover how to back up your site properly, so if disaster strikes you can be up and running again in no time. Mostly, they’ll explain why understanding your blog’s guts is empowering and will create a better experience for you and for your reader.

Voice: Basic Copyright: Understanding Your Rights and the Rights of Others [Beginning]

In the world of food writing, what material is copyrightable, what is not, and how do you tell the difference? And while we're at it, how do you copyright something? Julie Ross Godar moderates a conversation with Liza Barry-Kessler, Christine Pittman, and Elise Bauer about how to properly use and credit another cook’s recipe, what terms like "adapted" or "inspired by" mean, when you need permission to post a recipe, and more! Learn best practices for food bloggers who want to write about wonderful recipes developed by other people, and get concrete recommendations for intellectual property protection for the work you write and publish. Finally, discuss strategies for dealing with materials you’ve written being published by others without permission.

3:00pm - 4:15pm Values: Taking Your Blog Activism to the Next Level [Advanced]

Have blog, will change the world. If you have passion and the power of the pen (amplified by the Internet), you can accomplish a lot. This panel, with Dawn Brighid, Jaelithe Judy, and Stacie Tamaki will look at blogger activism that went the extra mile... off the blog and into the real world, creating real change. What are the techniques and tools you can use? How do you get the word out? How do you establish yourself as a credible and effective change agent?

Visuals: How to Shoot Video on a Budget and Produce a Gorgeous Product [Beginning/Int]

You already know that video is a great engagement tool for your audience; some experts claim that the vast majority of Internet traffic will come from video content just in the next few years. Expert vloggers Catherine McCord and Michael Ervin teach simple techniques for shooting videos in your environment: the best lighting, the cameras to use, video scripting, and simple techniques to upload video to your site. Get suggestions for affordable cameras and learn and the difference between .flv, MP4, and other formats. This panel will get you moving down the vlogging path, well-informed and with confidence.

Vocation: Build a Career in Food: Beyond Blog Monetization [Advanced]

Are you the kind of blogger who dreams of using your blog as a launching pad to build a food career? Tara Austen Weaver moderates as Jess Thomson, Lara Ferroni, and Melissa Lanz talk about that process, sharing how they created jobs for themselves beyond their blogs. They’ll talk about book proposals, agents, connecting with magazine editors, and how to build a photography business. You’ll learn the vital importance of platform, and how to make sure you’re getting paid what your work is worth. Find out how all of this is possible, regardless of the size of your blog's traffic.

Voice: Fun Food Blogging: Humor's Place in Food Writing [Beginning]

Step outside the food porn photos and fancy recipes, and have a little fun with your food obsessions. April Peveteaux moderates a conversation with Jess Watsky, Lillian Medville, and David Leite, who'll show you that loving good food doesn’t mean losing your sense of humor! Get tips from some of the funniest foodies around about how to cultivate your own comic voice, and how to make your food posts, photos and videos pop with a heavy splash of wit.

4:30pm - 5:30pm Keynote: The Intersection of Great Food, Good Health, and Social Justice

Since the inaugural BlogHer Food conference in 2009, we have included a focus on food values and politics. Our interest in the topic goes even further, back to BlogHer ’06 when chef Shuna Fish Lydon declared healthy food a class issue. This topic has certainly reached general consciousness since then…all the way up to the White House. The approach that has achieved bestseller status these last few years has been enticement, more than incitement. Epicurean, more than Ascetic.  BlogHer Co-Founder Elisa Camahort Page sits down with Bryant Terry and Terry Walters, two food writers who indulge our senses, who see food as the great pleasure that it is, but who also work to bring us all closer to a healthier lifestyle…including those who can’t afford a weekly trip to Whole Foods.

6:00pm - 7:30pm Welcome Reception/Meet the Sponsors
Day 2: Saturday, June 9, 2012
Time Event
9:00am - 10:30am Breakfast, Featuring Keynote: The Intersection of Brands, Bloggers, Ethics, and Opportunity

Food is a universal topic…everyone eats, which means everyone buys food. BlogHer sees this in action, with Food the highest-trafficked vertical in our Network, and with food-oriented creatives often inspiring the highest engagement. We’re not alone. While other blogging segments might be the focus of more intense scrutiny and attention, recent moves in the online media space validate that big media outlets see value and opportunity in food content and campaigns. Food bloggers are in the enviable catbird seat…as a key bridge between brands and their consumers. Food bloggers are also a little hard for companies to categorize…not quite just customers, journalists, or marketers, but often some hybrid combination. BlogHer Co-Founder Jory Des Jardins leads this conversation with veteran food bloggers Elise Bauer and Jaden Hair, and brand reps Alicia McGlamory (Masterbuilt) and Cassidy Stockton (Bob's Red Mill). The goal: to help you understand how we can all work together, and understand your place in this brave new marketplace, whether or not you like to play with brands.

10:45am - 12:00pm Vittles: Food Techniques from the Pros [Advanced]

Five longtime food bloggers give you a rapid-fire look at some of their favorite tips and tricks:

Sean Timberlake emcees this fast, fun, freestyle session, and focuses on his expertise: Preserving foods. What foods work best for canning, and how can you get started?

Jennifer Perillo will share quick substitution secrets: What are five different ways to replace eggs in a recipe?

Kathy Strahs shares her method for professional-grade recipe testing, especially when you're preparing a cookbook.

Sara Tetreault raises chickens at home and gives the rundown on everything you should know before you hop on this trend.

Finally, Hank Shaw demonstrates how to properly filet a fish. [Vegetarians and vegans note: this will be the last demonstration of the session.]

Visuals: Taking Your Food Photography Outdoors and On Location [All Levels]

Workshop leader: Taylor Mathis

Out of the kitchens and into the streets! Take beautiful food shots on location, outside of your home, using accessible techniques and simple tools. Learn about how to use portable diffusion discs and reflectors to make the best use of available light for your food subject. Grow the confidence to take your blog outside, and create beautiful food images wherever your travels take you!

After this panel, you'll have the ability to test your new skills on a lunchtime excursion and photowalk, also led by instructor Taylor Mathis.

Vocation: Behind the Jacket: The Collaborative Process behind Publishing a Cookbook [All Levels]

The path from food blog to published cookbook is long, and it is a path you often take with many other fellow travelers. One key relationship is between you and your editor; the other may be between you and your photographer (if you're not pulling double-duty and shooting your own images). This panel will explore this collaborative process by bringing two such pairs to the conversation. Lisa Fain and Leslie Wells explore the relationship between writer and editor, while Cheryl Sternman Rule and Paulette Phlipot discuss the photographer/writer relationship; moderated by Dianne Jacob.

Voice: Food Bloggers as Storytellers: Telling Your Own Stories, and the Stories of Those at the Table [Advanced]

Are you interested in the stories behind the food? Whether it’s your mom and her secret recipe, or your kids and their favorite foods, there is a story in everyone, and in every dish. Rebekah Denn moderates as Tori Avey, Beth Lee, Melissa Crane, and Molly Wizenberg discuss how to tell those stories through your food blog, how to document family history and recipes, and how to capture people's experiences through food, travel, and the socializing that holds those things together. Learn to create a story blog that has a voice and identity true to you -- a distinction that benefits your blog and (should you be interested) your cookbook proposal, helping it float to the top of the proverbial "slush pile."

12:00pm - 2:30pm Lunchtime Excursion to Pike Place Market, brought to you by Shutterfly -and- Taking Your Food Photography Outdoors and On Location, Part 2
2:30pm - 3:45pm Vittles: Vintage Food and Drink: Making a Modern Meatloaf, Manhattan, Martini or Macaroni & Cheese [All Levels]

Don't fear the pimenton dulce! Get a fresh perspective on traditional comfort foods and ol' school "grown-up" cocktails, as you watch the tried and true become something new and exciting. Garrett McCord moderates this panel with Kristen Herwitz and Kelly Jaggers, who share their favorite ways to modernize classic dishes and mix mean drinks. Go from retread to retro with this fun, practical how-to session.

Visuals: Simple Post-Processing for Food Photography: Free, Cheap, and Easy Tools [Beginning]

If you could get the same results from your photos by investing time or money, which would you chose? Diane Cu moderates a session with Bridget Ams, and Brady Evans, in which they show you how to get professional results from a variety of free or very inexpensive photo-editing programs. Get step-by-step instructions for the best fast fixes (such as corrections for white balance, levels/curves, and sharpness) for your food photography using GIMP, FotoFlexer, Pixlr, and other photo editing tools. Discuss the pros and cons of the most popular low- or no-cost photo editing software programs. Discover what you’ve been missing -- and what you don’t need to pay for -- in pro photography editing software.

Vocation: Bootstrapping a Book Tour: Modern-Day Marketing in Today's Publishing Environment [Advanced]

The publishing industry has changed. For your food book to be successful, you know you’ll need to work hard to promote it. Halley Suitt Tucker moderates a panel with Keren Brown and Hank Shaw, who share their own unique marketing stories (and successes!), and show you how to use modern-day marketing tools to effectively distinguish and promote yourself. Learn what a self-directed book tour entails, from managing logistics to securing media coverage, and get a list of ideas for networking groups that may seem irrelevant but yield powerful results. Discover a host of tools and tricks available to manage anything from a virtual book tour to an actual road trip.

Voice: Making the Most of Kitchen Mishaps; Embracing Imperfection [All Levels]

When the quinoa spills all over the floor or the croutons cause an oven fire, what is your first reaction? To cry? To call off blogging forever? Or to pick up your camera? Jessica Goldman FoungJoy Wilson, and Julie Tilsner discuss mistakes and meltdowns, and the benefits of honing (and owning) your honesty as a means to authentically connect with your audience. Hear how they mix humor and positivity into those disaster dishes, so readers leave knowing how to turn failure into personal successes. Finally, talk about setting clear guidelines for distinguishing which meltdowns warrant a blog post and which get saved for a phone call with mom.

3:45pm - 4:30pm Afternoon Break, brought to you by Supervalu
4:45pm - 5:45pm Closing Keynote: Innovator Interview with Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée's evocative, best-selling Trail of Crumbs is part memoir, part travel diary, part cookbook, part homage to the healing and orienting properties of food. In it she takes readers on a sensory-rich journey from the South Korean market bench on which she was abandoned as a young child, found clutching the last of the loaf of bread she was left with (thus her memoir's title). Thereafter her journey takes her to New Orleans, Paris, Stockholm, Provence, and back to the U.S., with food acting as salve, compass, and anchor.  Kim got her start as food editor at Southern Living magazine, has been featured in publications from the New York Times to Ladies Home Journal, and guest-judged on Iron Chef America.  BlogHer Co-Founder Lisa Stone interviews Kim about all this (including some juicy backstage gossip from Iron Chef), her current book project, and the role food and food writing has played in her life.

6:30pm - 9:30pm Closing Reception with Co-hostesses Ree Drummond, Jaden Hair, and Elise Bauer, sponsored by Masterbuilt,, and the National Pork Board


Ring out BlogHer Food '12 with hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and music at Seattle's Sodo Park. More details at this post.