It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
And this gal could not agree more.
Have you ever been rendered speechless staring at a photo of a tropical sunset or flipped through a food magazine with countless images of baked goods, swearing you’ve gained five pounds just by looking? (Bonus if you've ever tried to actually claw your way into the shot. In that case, we could and should be friends).
The bottom line is - photos and images affect everyone differently. It’s up to you how you choose to interpret it.
This past October, FBC launched its first Photo A Day Instagram Challenge, enticing members to follow a day-to-day photo opportunity consisting of food and non-food prompts.
Instagram is not only an incredible way to share snippets of my life with family, friends and other Instagrammers, but it can also be a fantastic social networking platform, especially when challenges like these are presented. I mean, what better way to meet and interact with other amazing Canadian food bloggers than through the photography of their creations? Needless to say, this invitation was on like the 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights staple gunned to the Griswold family home at Christmastime.
The really neat part about the photo a day challenge is it does just that; it encourages one to get creative with everyday surroundings. For instance, Day 22 was Blankets. My family and I were strolling down a street in Santa Monica, California on the way to the beach, when I took notice that Nordstrom's was having a bedding sale. Bedding. Blankets. PHOTO OP. I ran inside, grabbed an associate, jumped into the display bed (which was thankfully fitted with a proper mattress, not a prop) and had him take a photo. Now I'm not saying to break the law or get someone fired, but just think outside the box and have fun doing so.
Oh, and for the record, they all thought I was a bit crazy. Imagine that. And I may or may not be banned for life. I said may.
Another great rule of thumb is downloading some really good photo and editing apps. There's nothing more frustrating than scrolling through my feed and seeing blurry, lackluster or flash blowout shots. (I’m sure you've heard about Martha Stewart’s recent food photo follies? Yeah. It’s not a good thing).
Photos speak volumes when they’re definite, crisp and clear. Don’t be afraid to use filters or tweak as needed, but for the love of everything sweet and delicious, turn. off. the. flash. Turn it off and edit manually. You’ll thank me – and so will your followers.
Clever and witty captions are a fun way to engage followers and spark conversation. They don’t have to be Second City material, per se, but they certainly don’t have to be serious either.
I was editing Day 11 – Cookbooks and a little ditty popped into my head –
“Sprinkles on cookies and frosting on cupcakes; enchiladas with hot sauce and sweet rolls with no nuts. Tikka Masala and Bhajis, macaroni and cheese, these are a few of my favourite things (and some favourite cookbooks that have made these goodies happen.”
Welcome to my brain. Humour is my way of bringing some more fun to the prompt, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do the same. Let your photos speak for themselves. That’s the whole idea.
One more little tip: The use of hashtags are very useful. Use them as often as needed. It's a great connection to other Instagrammers with similar interests.
Don’t let the worry of missing a day or two during the challenge stop you from playing along. We all lead busy lives - it happens. I completely missed Day 9 - Family altogether as well as Day 28 - Wishful Thinking, but doubled up with Day 30 - Pumpkins and added a cheeky comment to tie the two together. I also didn't have access to a pumpkin at that time, so instead of forfeiting yet again, I drew one with sidewalk chalk. Again, it's all about getting creative and having fun. No rules. No expectations.
If I took away anything from the FBC challenge, it’s this.
- How amazing it is that one prompt can be interpreted in so many ways.
- There are oodles of brilliant and talented people right in my own backyard - my 125 kajillion square foot backyard. This challenge gave me the opportunity to meet some fabulous bloggers from all over the country that I may not have had the privilege to otherwise. It really is the #BestBackyardEver.
Before I bid you adieu, just remember - everybody’s got a story; embrace yours and come along for the ride. Don’t be shy to grab your smartphone and capture life the way you see fit.
Just don’t forget to turn off the flash.
See you at the next challenge!
Editor's Note: Be sure to stop by the site on Saturday for the FBC Photo A Day Challenge shot list for December and play along with us on instagram.
Jenny Jack, a self-confessed sugar addict, is the baker, writer, and photographer behind The Brunette Baker, a blog dedicated to all things sweet. When she’s not doing any of the said above, one can usually find her catching up with a good book, eating Mexican food, and spending time with her superhero husband and two equally super awesome kids. You can follow Jenny on Instagram (of course!), Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.