TECHmunch Tampa and Biting My Nails

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Have you noticed that I’ve been MIA around here lately?  Frankly, I didn’t realize just how long it had been since my last post.  There’s a good reason, though.  A couple of months ago Jeff Houck, food editor at the Tampa Tribune and organizer of TECHmunch, Tampa, invited me to be a speaker at the conference.   Needless to say, I was honored and flattered to be asked.  I was also a little terrified!  You see, Jeff asked me to speak about photography.  Yes – photography.  While I’ve spent a good part of my life writing in various careers, I’ve only begun developing my photography skills in the few years that I’ve been blogging.   I worried that I wouldn’t have anything of value to share.  I pictured myself at the podium being pelted with rotten tomatoes by disgruntled attendees.  Then, I kicked myself in the butt and told myself to get over it – because I realized that sharing our knowledge and experience, at whatever level, is how we learn and grow.   And, that food bloggers are among the most supportive and nurturing people around.  So, I put on my big girl panties and spent the past few weeks preparing the best damn photography presentation I could. 


If you’re not familiar with TECHmunch, you should be.  TECHmunch is a series of regional conferences held in various U.S. cities, designed to teach food bloggers the skills they need to succeed in the already crowded food blogging arena.  The conference’s intensive, hands-on format is designed to get attendees up-to-speed on all the latest tools and tactics for enhancing their skills, improving SEO, growing their audience and building their brands.  TECHmunch was created by Babette Pepaj, founder of BakeSpace and Cookbook Cafe.  According to Babette, her main goal in founding TECHmunch was ” to give local food bloggers a fun, affordable conference where they get the ingredients they need to succeed. We focus on practical information that attendees can use immediately to take their blogs to the next level.”  Having attended several blogging conferences with hundreds of attendees, and where the emphasis seemed to be on getting noticed by major brands, book publishers and the like, I find TECHmunch’s concept rather refreshing.


When conference day arrived, I was a jumble of nerves.  Mr. SGCC offered to drive me up to Tampa so that I could run through my presentation in the car.  I think he was just afraid that I would get lost and end up godknowswhere.  He was justified.  Don’t ask me why.

As soon as I entered the conference room,  I noticed quite a few familiar faces in the crowd and began to feel at ease.  When it was my turn to speak, I marched right up to the presenters’ table, sat down, looked at the empty chairs to the right and left of me… and suddenly felt very…alone.  All of the other sessions had been panel discussions with three or four people.  Mine was just me.  I wanted “people” too.  I needed some “people”!  So, I asked for someone – anyone –  to come up and be my “people”.   Lucky for me, Julius and Todd came to my rescue and volunteered.   They’re both really good “people”!


(Me and My “People”)

My presentation went pretty smoothly even though I got a little long-winded, as I often do. (Sorry about that!)  When it was over, I was asked by several attendees if I would be posting my PowerPoint slideshow online.   I said that I would – as soon as I figured out how.  Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to do that.  So, here it is:  my Top 10 Tips to Boost Your food Photography.  I hope you enjoy and pick up a few tips you can use.

After the conference, I had a great time hanging out with old friends and making some new ones.

conference-4Old FBF friends, Denise, Michelle and I


With Robin from Simply Southern Baking


Michelle and I mugging for the camera


With blogger-to-be, Athena

All in all, participating in TECHmunch Tampa was a great experience that I’d happily do again.  Thank you to Jeff, Babette and everyone else who made it possible!

22 responses to TECHmunch Tampa and Biting My Nails

  1. On April 24, 2012 at 2:10pm, JulieD said...

    You did a great job and I learned that I need to keep a toolkit like you do…as well as those great iPhone apps. Thanks again and it was great to see you!

  2. On April 24, 2012 at 2:29pm, Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos said...

    GREAT presentation Susan! Thank you so much for making it available for those that couldn’t be there :( (I’m really missing Florida right now) Many kudos – and I’ll start crossing the stilettos that you’ll speak at food conference up north soon :)

  3. On April 24, 2012 at 3:35pm, Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

    AWESOME post. I LOVED your powerpoint and learned a lot. I have a long way to go to figure out photography. I’m so proud of you! It sounds like you did a phenomenal job. Congratulations.

  4. On April 24, 2012 at 3:36pm, Denise @ Creative Kitchen said...

    You did a SUPER job and it was SO good to see you again!! Way to go……

  5. On April 24, 2012 at 4:02pm, Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

    Congratulations! Wonderful tutorial, Susan! Thank you for sharing your power point presentation. I learned some wonderful tips!

  6. On April 24, 2012 at 4:16pm, Joan Nova said...

    Very nice … sorry I missed this.

  7. On April 24, 2012 at 7:50pm, sandi mckenna said...

    I really enjoyed your presentation! and Thank You for posting the power point!!!

  8. On April 25, 2012 at 5:49am, Robin @ Simply Southern Baking said...

    You did a great job Susan! Thanks for sharing all your tips. It was good to finally meet you since we missed each other at FBF last month.

  9. On April 25, 2012 at 2:58pm, Wanda said...

    Susan, I really enjoyed your presentation and you honestly did an amazing job. If you were nervous, it didn’t show. You were a real pro!
    I’m so glad I was able to be there and experience everything this event had to offer. From speakers, to food, to bloggers!

  10. On April 25, 2012 at 8:58pm, Monica said...

    Susan.. you had nothing to worry about, you did an awesome job! I learn a bunch of new things and love the resources that you gave – I discover Aviary for my phone!

  11. On April 26, 2012 at 10:22am, Evelyn said...

    i finally decided to write a comment on your blog. i just wanted to say good job. i really enjoy reading your posts. thumb up.

  12. On April 26, 2012 at 12:20pm, Tracy Moulton said...

    I’ve always loved your food photos. You really have a talent for design and make the food look scrumptious!

  13. On April 27, 2012 at 7:56am, michelle @ The Village Cook said...

    YAY! My swingin’ buddy! (Not to be taken the “other” way!) You did so awesome & I learned a lot from you!!! Now, I’m ready to make some ugly food to use my pretty plates 😉 And…. when ever I pick up my camera, I hear you saying, “Manual, manual manual!” And, I smile and turn my knob. So nice to see you and hang out ~hope we see each other more often as the years go by.

  14. On April 30, 2012 at 9:45am, Lori @ RecipeGirl said...

    Great tips! I use iPiccy for photo editing now that Picnik is gone. I’ve found that it’s the closest in functionality to Picnik! I hope you’re going to Seattle for BlogHer Food this year!

  15. On May 06, 2012 at 9:18am, Carol, Simply Gluten Free said...

    They picked the right person to do the presentation! I have been reading your blog for years and your photography skills just get better and better.

  16. On May 17, 2012 at 12:22am, Carlos said...

    Thank you for all the tips!

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kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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