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TECHmunch Tampa and Biting My Nails

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 [1], food editor at the Tampa Tribune [2] and organizer of TECHmunch [3], 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 [4] and Cookbook Cafe [5].  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 [6] and Todd [7] 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.

View more presentations [9] from StickyGooeyChef [10]

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

Old FBF friends, Denise [11], Michelle [12] and I

With Robin from Simply Southern Baking [13]

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!