My 2017 New Year’s Resolution

31 Dec 2016

2016 was a fantastic year! It was the first full-year that I’ve traveled non-stop while pursuing my writing career. In the duration of 2016, I was able to visit 21 countries and have some seriously incredible experiences. 2017 is just a few hours away, and I’ve already got a game plan for what I’d like to accomplish!


1. Finish Writing and Publish My Book

Hopefully you know by now, that I’m currently writing my book. I’m working on the 6th of 9 chapters and moving along quite steadily. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a project until I began writing this. The book dives into how to continuously push out of your comfort zone, by living abroad and traveling, along with the philosophy of how to make it all possible. This book will not only teach you about how to live an exciting lifestyle, but also some really useful philosophy that I’ve learned along the way. Whether you’re going to pursue a career similar to mine, or something completely different, this book is meant to inspire and I can’t wait to release it.


2. Travel More

In 2017, I already have plans into March for Toronto, Miami, Barcelona, Marrakesh, Nice, Rome, Athens and more. What will make 2017 different from last year is that I plan to extend the duration of my stays in each destination to focus on quality experiences, over quantity. This will mean that I plan to live for multiple months in a few places. Most likely the extended stays will be in Asia, stay tuned.


3. Fine-Tune My Diet

After eating in hotels every day for a year, I returned to America to have a health checkup. The doctor told me that even after eating sweets and bacon almost every day for a year, I have the health of a marathon runner. This is probably due to the fact that I run almost every day, but I still have a few things I’d like to clean up. It’s far too easy to overindulge on sugar and processed foods while staying in hotels. Therefore, I plan to reduce this greatly in 2017. The plan is to not cut sweets completely, but instead, focus more on vegetables and protein. This will keep me leaner and reduce my chances of health risks in the future.

If you’re curious about my current diet plan, read this article.


4. More Travel Videos

In 2016, I was able to produce five travel videos for Jordan, Tokyo, Thailand, Beijing and Shanghai. These were a lot of fun, but I didn’t make them for every destination. In 2017, I plan to make a travel video for each and every place I visit! These give a much better idea of what I do by offering a real glimpse into my lifestyle. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the PIERREBLAKE YouTube channel and stay tuned for the upcoming videos in 2017.


5. Minimize Possessions

From reading my article Sell Everything and Travel the World you know that I own very few possessions. Even with all of my belongings fitting inside of a carry-on luggage and laptop bag, I still find myself taking on things as I move around the globe. In 2017, I will begin reducing some possessions like a couple hard drives, a third suit and hopefully a pair of shoes. This will make the weight that I have to lug around even more manageable!


6. Contact Family Members More

In 2016 I was fairly good about contacting my family ever week, but this didn’t include everyone. In 2017, I want to focus on my extended family and friends as well to create better relationships. This can easily be achieved, I just need to keep track of the time differences. Wink.


What are your New Year’s resolutions? Feel free to send me an email and let me know what your plans are for 2017! I really can’t wait to share all of my new content and projects! Have a great 2017 and happy travels!

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques

19 Dec 2016

Over my time as a food and travel blogger, I’ve picked up many expert photo techniques. You may recall, that I’ve released a guide for taking orgasmic food photos but I would like to add to your repertoire of techniques. Without further ado, I give to you my 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques.


1. Rule of Thirds

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

This is one of the most important food photography tips. Actually, it’s one of the most important concepts in all photography. When you’re looking through your lens, imagine that it’s separated into nine equal boxes. This will create grid lines. You’ll notice that there will be a box in the center. The whole concept is making sure that your subject is lined up where the grid lines intersect. There are only four intersection points to consider. I generally stick to the top left or the top right for food photos.


2. Expert Editing Technique

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

There are tons of techniques for editing photos. However, once you find the correct composition, you’ll want to edit your photo to bring out the subject. Whether this is a piece of fried chicken or a bowl of Japanese Ramen, you’ll want to lighten the subject and darken the background. In photography terms, this is known as burning and dodging. Burning is obviously darkening and dodging is brightening. This will make your photos pop!


3. Shoot the Front

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, every single dish has a front side that you should be shooting. From my experience shooting thousands of food photos, I will always rotate the dish until I find the optimum angle. By finding this, you make the food look as attractive as possible. Generally, I like to put the main part of the dish on one of the intersection points for rules of thirds. The secondary items on the plate will be slightly out of focus due to the depth of field, giving your shot that magical look we are all going for!


4. Professional Lighting

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

In the last article, I warned about on-camera flashes, I avoid them at all costs. However, a new technique that I’ve picked up, is grabbing an off-camera light. This light can be a phone or a small pocket light. Use a flashlight for all I care! The technique here is to hold the light in one hand above the food and shoot from the side with the other.


5. Camera Placement and Angle

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

A lot of people try to take food photos but just never really get where the camera should be to create the most appealing look. I generally find that you should keep the camera about a hands length away from the food. This may sound quite close, but the biggest mistake I see, is when people are too far away. When you’re close, it creates a much more intimate feel. I try to get level with the food as well, not too high and not too low. This is also how I like to shoot portraiture. I don’t want to be much taller then the subject and I don’t want to be below the subject’s face because it makes people look fat.


Bonus Food Photography Tip: Overhead Technique

Food Photography Tips: 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques Blog Lifestyle

When I first started taking food photos, I was against overhead shots completely. Little did I know, when you execute these properly you can create some truly stunning images. The way that I insure a perfect overhead shot is by using multiple techniques. The first technique I use is using a camera that has a flip out screen. This way I can hold the camera way above my head, and angle it properly. It’s important to make sure the camera is directly above the food so that the edges of the table are straight. If it’s not perfect, it’s usually an easy fix in Adobe Lightroom.

Another huge part of the overhead shot, is the composition. Generally, I like to remove the place-mats and put the plate in the center of the shot. I will then surround the plate with beverages and cutlery as desired. Side dishes do wonderfully to add color and a better feel for the photo. Typically, breakfast shots work best for overhead photos.


Conclusion

As I continue down this luxury travel, food and lifestyle photography path, I keep learning more techniques! These are some of the most useful tips that I’ve learned thus far, and I really hope they can help you improve your food photography! In the coming days, weeks and months, your photos will be looking much better, I promise. Use these techniques wisely and enjoy!

How I Started My Blog

11 Dec 2016

Without fail, every time someone learns that I’m a travel blogger, they will ask how I got started. Therefore, I thought it was only right to share with you my story, an epic journey that took me all around the globe. Currently, I spend my time traveling to distant lands, eating exotic foods and going on adventures with the interesting people I meet along the way. This story is not for the faint of heart, and if you’re interested in becoming a blogger, I would recommend you pay attention!

How I Started My Blog Blog Lifestyle

The epic tale of this luxury travel, food and lifestyle blog began in May of 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. Looking back, it was easy to see that this was a transitional period in my life. I had already been living in Thailand for a few years and my feelings were changing. Little did I know that within a year from starting the blog, I’d break up with my girlfriend and move to Korea.

One night, I was out to dinner with a friend from London at a Vietnamese restaurant that absolutely blew our minds. As we were eating, we discussed how great the food was and out of the blue, Kate suggested that I start a food blog! It was like a nuclear bomb exploded in my head! I was instantly overwhelmed with questions. How come I had never thought of it before? How did they make these shrimp rolls so delicious? Why am I so good looking? It was all quite powerful.

How I Started My Blog Blog Lifestyle

I was always crazy about food. My world revolved around where and what I would eat for as long as I could remember. However, I never thought about starting a blog. Lucky for me, I had been creating websites for about 10 years prior and thus had the skills needed to create the beautiful masterpiece that is PIERREBLAKE.com. From the idea to the conception, it only took a day! Obviously, my first article was about that very Vietnamese meal where this glorious idea came to be. What a magical and savory beginning. Wink.

For the next round of articles I focused on food that I was already eating copious amounts of in Bangkok. I got my first big break when I connected with an old classmate from Michigan State University. Lucky for me, he worked at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental hotel in Bangkok. He soon put me in touch with the marketing department and we arranged a deal for full hotel media coverage. Once I had that original Mandarin Oriental hotel article under my belt, there was nothing stopping me! From then on, I began working with very high-end hotels and restaurants alike. This snowballed and blossomed into a very hefty snowman!

How I Started My Blog Blog Lifestyle

The more content I created, the more opportunities that presented themselves. A short while later, I was invited all over the globe. One of my most memorable invitations was on a French river cruise in the South of France, summer of 2016. There were several points in my writing career where I felt like I made it and the cruise was undeniably one of them!

For me, it was never about a paycheck. It’s always been about the remarkable travel and eating adventures that I get to partake in! I’m currently working on finishing up my book that will give a much deeper glimpse of how I live my life along with the philosophy behind it. Yes, I’d be happy to mark you down for a copy or 10. Wink.

How I Started My Blog Blog Lifestyle

Maybe my story is a bit less thrilling then expected, but that’s actually the point I wanted to make. If I can do it, you can do it. Creating a new website doesn’t have to be a huge process. If you have a passion, stop thinking about doing it and just make it happen!  I’m thrilled that I discovered this amazing career path. Blogging has really led me in a fantastic direction and I’m very excited to see what the future holds! If you’re looking for any advice on starting your own, feel free to drop me a message!

For now, take care, happy travels and stay tuned for my book which is coming soon!

Shanghai Travel Video: Luxury Travel Vlog 2016

08 Dec 2016

Shanghai, China will be my final travel video from my 2016 world tour. As I mentioned last week, this was my first time visiting China. You can see my Beijing video in a separate article.

Beijing is a much more historically rich city. Shanghai on the other hand, is much more modern and international. While in Shanghai, I learned of the city’s rich historical diversity. In the past there were multiple foreign areas including French, British and American. This gave me a whole new take on the diversity of China as a whole.

As you can imagine, China is huge! Therefore, the food is very diverse from region to region. Even though Beijing and Shanghai are not super far apart, the food is very different. In Shanghai it is a bit sweeter and they use more flour. In Beijing it’s a lot spicier! Pierre approves.

In 2017, I plan to return to China and really get a taste for what the rest of the country has to offer. You can look forward to that content coming next year!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaTsrNXgRAk[/youtube]