Jennie Tai

About Jennie

I’m always humbled by people’s interest in my blog so I compiled a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What kind of camera do you use? I used to use a Canon Rebel XTI, but I now use a Canon m50 (mirrorless). I have a few different lenses, including a 50mm 1.4 USM prime lens, and a 22mm 1.2 wide angle lens.

Who takes the pictures of you? My friends takes the pictures of me (I take all of the other shots that include food, travel, beauty, home decor, etc).

May I use your photographs on my site? Of course!  Please just make sure to link back to my blog as my images are all copyrighted.

What program do you use to edit your photos? Just Adobe Lightroom.

On what platform do you host your blog? I initially started my blog on Blogger, then moved over to WordPress, and am hosted on GoDaddy.

What do you do for a living? I was a former Food Writer and Food Photographer for a few print publications around the Northern Virginia and DC area. I currently work full-time as a Product Manager at a startup I helped build in 2013.

How’d you get your start? I started to narrow down the field that I wanted to work in (publishing/photography/coding) my sophomore year in college. In order to gain some exposure in the industry, I got an internship at Northern Virginia Magazine, and became the Food Editor at DC Life Magazine. I started my blog as a way to document the things I loved, and over time it turned into a part-time career. Shortly after, I joined a startup during its infancy stage, and helped build a product that was eventually bought by IAC in 2015.

How should I go about getting my writing or photography published in print? When I first started writing and taking photos, the social media world was not as pervasive as it is today. blogging, print magazines and newspapers were the only places where you could go and read about or see a photo of something worth experiencing.  Back then, Facebook didn’t have any public pages, twitter had just launched into the world out, and instagram didn’t even exist. My advice today would be to find your voice, decide what you want to write about, and build your presence in social media to reach the audience you want to send your message to. Get as much experience as you can; whether it involves an internship at a magazine or newspaper, and gain a following.

What’s your policy on working with brands? I’m extremely selective about the brands I work with and only partner with companies that are a natural fit for The Hungry Muse. The amount of partnership requests I accepted that resulted in rifts over miscommunicated expectations was overwhelming and ultimately led me to take a very long pause on blogging. I never want to experience that again, and now decline about 95% of the offers that come my way, as I only showcase things on my site that I truly love and would normally buy or eat on my own. In the case that something has been given to me, I always include that it’s courtesy of that brand (c/o). Unless clearly marked as a “Sponsored” post, I am not compensated by any of the brands featured on the site.

I want to start a blog.  Any tips? Write often.  Provide compelling content and high quality photographs.  Make sure your site is clean and easy to read.  Find other blogs that you admire and take note of what it is you like about their sites.  The most important piece of advice is to write about things that bring you joy and that you’re truly passionate about!

What do you do in your spare time? I devote almost all of my spare time to my son, Colt and daughter, Brooklyn. When I free time, I still enjoy trying new restaurants, traveling, taking photos, cooking, and hiking.

How do you make a living writing your blog? I spent a lot of time working on my blog full-time to generate revenue through the following: display advertisements, selective affiliate links, marketing consultations and collaborations; however – my blog was initially a way for me to simply share the things I loved. When I tried to monetize it, it felt a lot more like work than an outlet I loved, and currently do not depend on it financially. I also feel it allows me to genuinely share things I truly want my readers to see.

How did you build a following on your blog? There’s no exact formula for garnering an audience, but in the beginning – I wrote often, and cared a lot about the quality of content and photos that I posted. I also read a lot of books and articles on social media (specifically facebook and twitter), and learned about SEO to reach my audience.

What did you study in college? I went to George Mason University to pursue a Computer Science degree.

 

Why was my comment removed/not published? I appreciate constructively critical feedback, but my goal is to keep the discussion positive and if the tone of your comment is rude, angry, or in poor taste, it won’t be published.

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