August 2, 2014

Day One of #IFBM2014 - The Food Photography sessions: Key takeaways

The day started with participants trickling in, starting quite early, given the unpredictable nature of Bangalore traffic. The Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park took great care to welcome and even escort each one of them personally to the conference hall. People seemed to be in complete awe of the colours and spunky decor of the hotel.

 The day kicked off with our organizer-MC Arundati giving the welcome note to our participants. The GM of the hotel, Faiz Alam Ansari extended a warm welcome to all the IFBM 2014 attendees and went to the extent of saying "Ask for anything and the answer will be yes". That kind of generosity and warmth set a positive tone for a great day. Marketing and Communications manager, Deepika Pillai also announced a few contests that kept the participants tweeting / sharing their observations all day!

Picture courtesy: @mypref

Session 1 - Foodography by Deeba Rajpal
Deeba, who's collection of completely droolworthy photos and antique props are known to every worthwhile foodblogger needed no introduction. Her talk inspired the participants to put that little extra into their food photos. 
Some of her mantras were "Be inspired""enjoy what you do" "find your own style and work on it".
In the era where everything and anything can be inserted or cut out using post-processing, she had a refreshing take "Attention to detail, right from word go. Use post processing as a luxury, not a crutch."

Pic courtesy: Revati
A few takeaways from her session:

  • Use fresh ingredients and play around with props to create a new picture each time.
  • Pick seasonal and local fresh produce for your cooking and photos. The freshness shows in the photos.
  • use what you have and get creative. No need to spend on expensive props.
  • Reuse props but not in the consecutive posts, people will wonder if you have only one plate :-)
  • Let the food talk. Your eye should focus on the food and not multiple other things. 
  • create a Pinterest board & go back regularly. You'll see a lot of changes in it development over time.
  • With Indian curries don't try to shoot whole bowls. try small portions.
  • Keep a mix of white plates, glass bowls, clear glasses, white baking dishes, small kadais, small saucepans to build a basic collection of props for use.
  • Use a tripod. Once you start using it, you cannot do without it.

She also presented a case study of taking pictures of a footlong sandwich which needs toothpicks / skewers to keep the bread propped up and not fall flat on the fillings. 
We learnt that the combination of natural light and shooting in Auto mode, is capable of giving some stunning results as is evident in her photos.

Session 2 - From your kitchen to your blog - Better Food Photography by Aparna Balasubramaniam 

Pic courtesy: Siri P

Aparna's blog is known for its clean, clutter-free photos. She conducts workshops on food photography. It was indeed a great opportunity for the food bloggers to have a session from Aparna at the IFBM 2014. 

The audience had a good laugh, when Aparna started with the no-nonsense basics of "read your camera's manual", something which we all shudder to do. 

Some of the takeaways from her session:

  • Know your gadget.
  • Shun flash, use natural light.
  • Soft backlight works best and is highly recommended. 
  • Know the rules, only so you can break them.
  • Use toothpaste to remove the shine from glossy surfaces.
  • Rupee coins make great tilt correctors.
  • Get your composition right and keep crop to a minimum. 
  • Focus has to be the sharpest where you want to draw the eye.
  • More than anything else, READ THE MANUAL :D 

August 1, 2014

Blogging contest @ Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

The prizes haven't ended yet! A few more stay vouchers are still up for grabs. The following contests are open until 18th August 2014. So feel free to take pictures, frame your thoughts, make notes of the things that impress you -- to make your blog posts worthy of winning a stay at these hotels.

Food @ Aloft
Chef Sameer and the entire F&B Team at Aloft have paid special attention to ensure that every meal over the next two days is memorable. All you need to do is:
  1. Memorable Meals @ Aloft: Pick the most impressive meal theme across all meals over the 2 days, create/cook a recipe of your own that would fit the theme, blog it with original pictures and submit it to the FB page/Twitter/Instagram handle of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park
  2. Reflections on the MasterClass With Chef Sameer: Pick a recipe you watched Chef create (on day 2,) recreate it with your own twist/spin, blog it and submit it to the FB page/Twitter/Instagram handles of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park
  3. I was at IFBM: Write a blog post reviewing your experience at IFBM, with at least three mentions (food, decor, masterclass) of memorable things that you experienced at Aloft, submit the post on to the FB page/Twitter/Instagram handle of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park
D├ęcor/Ambience @ Aloft
How would you showcase the ambience/decor of Aloft if you had only 4 pictures to tell the Aloft story? Take pictures of the interesting things you see around the hotel over the next 2 days, choose the best 4 pictures, write a blog post about the event at Aloft, and submit it to the FB page/Twitter/Instagram handle of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

Also remember to send the URLS of all entries to too, and you will hear from us after the 18th of August 2014.

Important social-media handles:

Stay over at Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park!

You've seen our updates from the past few days, across several visits to Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, where we have been ironing out all the last details before the event. You probably have an inkling of what to expect -- pops of colour, quirky cheerful decor, foot tapping music and an arty ambience quite unlike a run-of-the-mill hotel.

Today, when you visit the hotel you are going to be wowed by the colour, the odd airplane suspended here and there, the self-service kiosks, the lively music and the general upbeat and young, enthusiastic vibe the hotel has. It's hard to miss! And here's a unique proposition. This is your chance to not only experience this hotel over the next two days, but also win STAY VOUCHERS from Aloft/Sheraton/Four Points Hotels.

1 stay voucher for the most active Instagrammer who posts the most pictures with the geo-tags AloftCessnaPark. Also, stand a chance to be featured on the Aloft hotel website if you geo-tag the most interesting shots of the hotel. 

1 stay voucher for the Twitter handle that sends out the most number of tweets containing the hash tag #AloftCessnaPark and tagging @Aloftcessnapark.

1 stay voucher for the most active Facebook User who uses the hash tag #aloftbengalurucbp or #aloftcessnapark

Just outside the venue, we have set up two spot-blogging stations. At various points through the days proceedings, you will be given themes around which to post quick, short posts on your blogs.

These posts will need to be between 50-100 words, with or without pictures, but related to the theme that has been announced. The best spot blog post of the day, will take away 1 stay voucher!

Important social-media handles: