This week we go “Behind the Lens” with Helen aka @_helenslens_, a finance and computer science student with a strong passion for food photography. Read below to discover how she started her foodie journey and some tips to take some drool-worthy pictures.
Tell us more about you. What do you do?
My name is Helen and I am a finance and computer science student studying in the US. I am normally based in Philadelphia and New York but flew back to Hong Kong due to the pandemic.
How did you become a food blogger?
When I first started taking classes online, I spent a lot more time exploring Hong Kong. While eating around, I enjoyed taking pictures of good food and eventually decided to start documenting my food journey in a blog. Becoming a food blogger has also connected me to a large community of foodies, which exposed me to many more great restaurants!
When it comes to eating, do you prefer to discover new restaurants or go back to your favourite spot?
I prefer discovering new restaurants. There are so many restaurants in Hong Kong (about 15k!), assuming that 30% are worth trying out, it’d take me more than 10 years to exhaust the list, let alone the many more great restaurants around the world.
Tell us 3 food photography tips that are essential for taking good photos
(1) Angle: I try to find the optimal angle that brings out the food’s features. The portrait mode on the iPhone does a pretty good job of making the food more three-dimensional. Generally, it helps to take many shots from different angles and choose the best one afterwards.
(2) Lighting and colour: I usually try to place the food under natural lighting, and when the lighting in the room is suboptimal, I’d adjust the lighting of the picture afterwards.
(3) Find a good background: I like to position the food against a background with complementary colours that make the food stand out more. Restaurants often have beautifully decorated walls that serve as a great backdrop! I’d try to move my food in front of nice backgrounds or ask my friend to hold up my food against the wall.
What are your top 3 restaurants in Hong Kong?
(1) Shou Zen: I love their beef udon, which is utterly simple (or rather, simple-looking) yet absolutely delicious. Every piece of beef is cooked to perfection. The soup was flavourful and blended well with the rest of the ingredients.
(2) Pici: My go-to place for birthday celebrations.
(3) Fumi: Great food and ambience, and I am secretly in love with their music playlist
Tell us one thing you like and one thing you don’t like when using the Dishtag app.
I like how the dish name and price of the dish are shown in each photo – which provides more clarity beyond just the restaurant information.
The app works great for now – just thought it’d be great to have more features like filters.
Is there any features you would like us to add to the Dishtag app?
I thought it’d be great to be able to have dish filters. Since many apps allow filtering by restaurants, I think getting down to the granularity of dishes and customising features around that will differentiate the app.
Which three restaurants are on your to-go or to-try list?
(1) K11 Artus: Heard a lot of great things about its afternoon tea set!
(2) Amber: Michelin-starred restaurant in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, a must-go on my list.
(3) Shari Shari Kakigori House: I’ve been craving some good shaved ice for the summer