A look at the start to finish process of creating a new recipe to post.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a recipe post or what a food blogger’s life looks like? Well, I’m about to fill you in.
In addition to creating and making the recipe, I’m the shopper, food stylist, photographer, graphic designer, photo editor, writer, social media manager, dishwasher and so much more. It’s pretty much a one person show around here (of course, my hubby “helps” by taste testing).
My post first starts with a recipe idea. Inspiration for a new recipe may come to me while reading a magazine or one of my many cookbooks. Sometimes I see a new food product in the store and start thinking how it could be used in a recipe. Then there are times where a recipe idea just comes to me out of the blue.
Next up is going through my stash of food to see if I have what I need for the recipe. If not, it goes on the grocery list to pick up on my next trip. I may have to go to more than one store if I can’t find a specific ingredient at my regular grocery store .
About the time I’m ready to make the recipe, I’ll come up with a rough draft or print a recipe I already have to write notes on if it’s a combination of a previously made recipe and something new.
Now comes the fun part…in the kitchen! Time to prepare, mix, measure, adjust as necessary (a little more of this or that), bake or cook, cool, glaze, drizzle, remove from pan, cut and more. In the middle of all this, I’m usually taking pictures with my phone to share on Instagram and writing notes about proportions, changes, something I decided to add at the last minute, etc.
Time for washing all the dishes now and cleaning up the mess I’ve made (this is sometimes not done until after the photos are taken). You sure wouldn’t want to see my kitchen on these days with everything all over the place!
Once I’ve finished making the recipe, I go through my photo props and select a few to use. My props are stored in a few rooms of the house as there’s no room in the kitchen for my growing collection (you can bet other food bloggers have them all over the house too).
After I bring the props to the kitchen, I start styling the food a number of different ways on the props I brought out to use. I might be break cookies in half or add a few extras on the plate that might be inside a cookie (like chocolate chips or kisses, marshmallows, crumbs, etc). I sometimes bring out Q-tips, tissue or paper towels to keep the plates clean from food particles.
Now it’s time to take the photos. Trying to find the right light for the photos is a little challenging at times. I might move from the dining room to the living room and back again as they have the best light during the day. I’ll start shooting a styled plate in different modes at different angles and then do it again with a different styled plate. Before you know it, I’ve taken 100 or more pictures and spent an hour or so moving everything back and forth. If you really want to know, this is my LEAST favorite part of being a food blogger. I’m not a great photographer; nor do I pretend to be. Some people are just better at some things than others. My photography has improved since I first started blogging, but it’s not where I want it to be.
Once all the photos have been taken, I upload them to the computer (sometimes from two different cameras). Then I quickly view them all to see if I got a few good shots. Every now and then, I’m not happy with any of them and head back to take more. Next comes the editing process. I take my time going through the photos and make notes of which ones I want to edit. I’ll open those in Photoshop to edit and crop. Some may be too dark, too light, not sharp enough, need more color, etc. Some need more editing than others. Once the final photos are ready, I label and resize them for the blog post.
It’s time to work on the blog post next. This involves writing the recipe and instructions in the proper format (making sure the ingredient list is written in the order used in the instructions). Along with that, the intro story is written. Sometimes I’ve got more to say than others on a certain recipe. There might be a funny story to go along with it or it was just plain good and I remark how much others liked it. I write my blog posts in Word and copy and paste into the publishing platform, whereas some bloggers may type right into the draft post itself.
This is now the point where I’m ready to bring everything together into the blog post. I create a draft post in WordPress and start pulling in a few final photos to choose from. I like seeing how they look on the post before deciding on the final one or two to use. I delete the ones from the draft post I’m not using and rename the photos for the post. The written post is then added along with all areas to be filled in (featured image, links, tags, search terms, SEO). After I’ve made changes and am happy with the post, it’s time to hit the publish button or schedule it to go out at another time.
Whew! It’s published. Wait. I’m not done yet. There’s more.
It’s now time to promote the post on social media – Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and the ever-changing Facebook. If you follow Simply Southern Baking on Facebook, you may or may not see my posts as they don’t seem to want to show it to many followers any more without paying, which I’m NOT going to do! Along with posting on my page, I post in different groups I’m part of (even in groups that others share) and STILL don’t get a lot of views. Soooo frustrating! Someone come up with another social media platform please that doesn’t throttle posts. Once you “Like” a page, you should be able to see ALL posts on that page, not what Facebook thinks you should see. Good grief, you don’t go to a restaurant and have the server select what they “think” you should have. OK…off my Facebook soapbox now. But, all bloggers know what I’m talking about. Can I get an Amen?
All in all, I could spend 8 to 10 or more hours on one post. This process could all take place over a few days. I might make the recipe one day, photograph the next, edit photos another day, and…well, you get the picture. Sometimes a recipe doesn’t turn out quite as planned either and I’m back to square one or just scrap it all together.
The life of a recipe post doesn’t actually end. It continues to be shared on social media by me and others for months or even years. I still share posts occasionally from when I first started blogging.
There you have it. That’s my behind the scenes story of the recipe post process. Other types of posts may not take as long, but a lot of the same steps are involved.
With all this being said, it’s no wonder why I don’t post more recipes than I do. I admire those food bloggers who post several times a week. I wish I could just create and make the recipes and then have someone do everything else! Wouldn’t that be the life? You’d sure see more recipes then.