Earlier this month, we covered how to prep for an outfit post– check it out if you missed it– and now we’ve got Alyssa from Runway Chef giving us a lesson in how to prep for a food post. Take it away, Alyssa!
Way back when I first started blogging, my food posts went a little something like this: open the fridge, see what I’ve got to work with, throw something together, snap a couple of photos and voilá. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with throwing together a meal from whatever is in your kitchen (I still do it all the time), but as far as food blogging is concerned, it doesn’t make the most appetizing or SEO-friendly posts. Now, my process includes a bit more planning and organization and looks like this:
I loosely plan my editorial calendar about a month out. To decide what to make, I first, always look to see if there are any holidays coming up (i.e. Cinco de Mayo in May), as certain things (like tacos) will be more popular around those times. I also make note of things that have caught my eye in magazines, on other blogs, on Pinterest, out at restaurants or on a trip to use as inspiration. Another thing that I do is keep a Google doc going at all times so that anytime an idea pops into my head, I can add it to the doc. I’m then able to easily reference my ideas when I sit down to plan my monthly calendar. Using all of those things combined, I then write out a list of all the recipes, flavor combinations, ingredients I want to use or ideas that I have for the month, see which I think would do best and then cross the rest out/save them for a later date. When I’m planning, I also make note of recipes that need to be tested so I can schedule those into the calendar.
I typically shoot my food on Thursdays or Fridays, but I meal plan and grocery shop on the weekends (unless there’s an emergency/I forget something/run out of something, which happens more frequently than I’d like). I try to work whatever I’m making on the blog into our meal plan so as not to be wasteful. I then make a checklist of everything I need for the week’s blog recipes. I cross of anything I already have or anything I’m getting for our other meals, and add whatever is left to the grocery list.
I like to start with a clean kitchen before pulling out all of my ingredients, the utensils I need, my notebook where I write my recipes, and the items I think I might like to use to style the recipe. I shoot my photos in another room so I also like to get that all set-up with my camera, reflector, backdrop and step stool. I usually do a few test shots with different dishes and towels to see what pairings I like, as well as to test the lighting and camera settings. Additionally, I’ll pull out a few other tools depending on what I’m shooting. For example, if I know I’m shooting produce, I like to have cooking spray on hand as a light misting of it can help make produce pop. If I’m shooting something that involves sauce, I’ll have q-tips handy to make it easier to clean up the edge of a bowl or plate.
After that, it’s time to cook, style, shoot and, my favorite part, eat the goods! After all, hard work needs to be rewarded, right?!
Alyssa blogs at Runway Chef and is a member of The Blogger Collective.