Name: Kelly Neil
Blog name and URL: Kelly Neil photographer : food stylist – www.kellyneil.com
Where were you born? Halifax, Nova Scotia, raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Where are you living now? Hubley, Nova Scotia, about 25km west of the Halifax waterfront
Why did you start your blog?
I was looking for a way to showcase my photography. At the time, I was shooting mostly weddings.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I couldn’t come up with a name that I liked as much as my own and kellyneil.com had a nice ring to it. My social media accounts are a different story. I didn’t want to be @kellyneil56748 so I thought about things that I really really like. Bacon and Baileys sounded good together and they’re two of my favourite things.
What do you blog about?
Mostly I post recipes I’ve written, or have been written by people I admire, and accompany them with my evolving photography.
What post are you most proud of and why?
I would say ‘Strawberry Vanilla Curd and The Summer Everything Changed’. It’s the first blog post where, not only did I feel like I was hitting my stride with pretty photography, but I had also challenged myself to write something meaningful to go with it. I had readers writing in, telling me that reading my Strawberry Curd post made them cry. I fell in love with the feeling of creating something from scratch that could evoke such a strong response in a stranger.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
First because it’s delicious! and second because I feel the picture is a good indication of the direction I am taking my photography. It’s a little grittier and more contrasty than most of my other work. I’ve been working really hard to create and develop my own style and I feel like this is the closest I’ve gotten to what I see in my mind’s eye.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
I call this my ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ post. Van Morrison has a ton of amazing songs but the one you hear played over and over is ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. And don’t get me wrong – it’s a great song! The Nanny Burke’s Buttercream post is kind of like Brown Eyed Girl in that sense. In the last year I’ve had over 100,000 unique visitors from Pinterest alone coming straight for that one blog post and all because I documented this weird little fluke I experienced in cupcake baking times. I’m thankful for all the attention the post has received but sometimes I wish those thousands of visitors would focus on the other tasty stuff I have going on.
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without?
I have three - my Canon 5D Mark II camera, my Canon 100mm 2.8 L-series macro lens and my iPhone. These three items are the core of my business.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?
Tongs. They are useful for so many tasks!
Favourite food, care to share a recipe?
Spaghetti Carbonara. I don’t eat it very often because the key to a great Carbonara is that you must leave in all of the bacon fat. My friend Carlo is from San Fiorano, about 70kn south of Milan. He taught me how to make it correctly.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I have a university degree in history with a minor in religious studies. I thought I was going to be a teacher. Turns out I was wrong.
What makes your blog unique?
I didn’t go to school for photography. Two years ago I was asked to do some food styling for The Nova Scotia Liquor Commission’s quarterly magazine ‘Occasions’. I was scared to death but there was no way I was saying no! My blog is my chronological evolution as a photographer, a food stylist and an entrepreneur. Every blog post is another lesson I’ve taught myself whether it be lighting, piping frosting or styling with props.