Mango Lassi with Coconut Milk and Coconut Palm Sugar (and thoughts on my photogenic resolutions)

Vegan Mango Lassi with Coconut Palm Sugar. Photo attempt #1, 7 pm, light dwindling.

Ah, BlogHer Food. Font of information, inspiration, and oh so many good intentions. It’s always such a whirlwind of making new connections and reconnecting with existing ones, and I’m sure I’m far from the only one who left with a list of resolutions to rival the New Year’s.  The Vintage Food panel got my creative wheels spinning (post forthcoming), the social media panel re-energized my virtual networking, and the conference as a whole organized and revitalized our plans. I walked away with renewed confidence and full of ideas . . .

Except for one area, where my woeful inadequacy seems – to me –  magnified, if anything, by the experience. Yes, I am talking about my photography.

I am keenly aware that my skills and resources pale (literally!) in comparison not only to the scores of incredible food artists out there, but even in comparison to my own beloved blog partner. It’s not for a lack of understanding of the importance of good photographs – I know how an accepted submission to Foodgawker or Tastespotting can drive traffic, and I know what gets you pinned on Pinterest. And it’s certainly not for a lack of appreciation of others’ creations, believe me. I drool and admire and Pin right along with the rest of the foodie world. When I let my insecurities get the best of me, I sometimes feel a little like the talented but homely actor, fully capable of performing complex roles, yet lacking the undeniably necessary good looks required to land the lead. It’s purely the logistics and financial constraints of my life as a single mom who doesn’t have equipment outside her Nikon Coolpix and sometimes usually almost always doesn’t get a recipe finished until well after sundown.

Take this post for example, a delicious, dairy-free mango lassi, made using coconut palm sugar from Wholesome Sweeteners (sample product supplied at the conference, but not sponsored or pain in any other way). For once, I managed to get this finished while there was still some daylight left, and also for once, it wasn’t rainy or cloudy. My first attempt was above.

Yeaaaah, not so great. How can it look so much tastier in person than it does on (my) camera? Let’s try one indoors, maybe in a different glass:


Coconut Milk Mango Lassi, come home.  Photo setup attempt #1, not any better.

Yep. That one’s even worse. I know it, trust me. And believe it or not, these are the best of the sets.

HOWEVER, lest you think this whole post is just a big pity party, I have a Plan.  Thanks to info gleaned from fellow BlogHer-ers, I have a list of affordable tools I have resolved to obtain:

  • Small tripod (ordered)
  • Flooring samples from home improvement store (purchased)
  • Foam board to reflect light
  • An assortment of plates and bowls from Goodwill and discount stores (purchased)
  • Single yards of fabrics from fabric supply

This plan feels manageable. bite-sized. It works within my life and my means as they stand. It will be a work in progress, of course, but see if you don’t notice some baby-step improvement in my contributions over the next few months. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about competing with the big guns, but I’d like to at least work towards not feeling embarrassed about my posts, especially since I generally feel pretty darn good about the content and the recipes themselves.

Oh! And the recipe. I promise, it’s better than it looks (and I also promise that this will be the last time I sheepishly apologize for my work in a post; I just decided I have nothing to lose by posting honestly, and hope maybe some others can relate):


1 large ripe mango
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
juice of 1/2 large lemon
3-4 ice cubes

Blend. The end.

Feel free to take your own photograph!

— posted by Anne


  1. says

    Learning to take good photos is one of the most fun and most difficult parts of blogging. I feel like I know *maybe* 25% of what I wish I knew about it. I do think having a good editing program like Adobe Lightroom makes a huge difference. And it sounds like you’re on the way to more photo fun!

    I was intrigued by that coconut palm sugar too!

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