Behind the lens with @chufooddiaries

Posted on January 22, 2021 by Alexandra Leung

This week, we go ‘Behind the Lens’ with Venus, aka @chufooddiaries, who is currently studying fashion design in New York but back home in Hong Kong during the pandemic. Venus shared with us her favourite food to shoot and also gave us some useful food photography tips. As a top user of the Dishtag app, with 8 places and 74 dishes “tagged”, Venus also shared her impressions our fast growing app.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? 

My name is Venus and I am a fashion design student studying at the Parsons School of Design in New York. I loved food my whole life, and I love trying out new cuisines and dishes. Moreover, I like photography and I like to record the food I eat, so I decided to start a food blog!

How do you see the role of food photography on your social media accounts? Do you find your followers more inspired by the photos or by the comments?

I started my Instagram profile dedicated to food because I wanted to explore my other passions, other than fashion. I believe that food photography is crucial because it is essentially like my food diary, as I post photos of the food I eat. I also like to give honest reviews for the restaurants I visit in the captions. I’ve noticed that nice photos are more engaging and make my followers want to read my reviews, so I think that it’s super important to have a clear and appealing photo of a dish!

Shot at Between Coffee, Tai Kwun
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?

I use my iPhone 11 Pro and then I usually edit my photos a bit on the iPhone “Photos” app.

Can you share your favourite food shot on your social media profile? What’s the story behind it?

My favourite food shot on my Instagram is probably this photo I took of my lunch at Sip Song. I love it when restaurants have cool decorations (floral tablecloths, square tiles, funky colours, etc.) because it makes the photo more artistic. The colour of the tablecloths at Sip Song make it so fun to take photo and the dishes themselves are all very photogenic too! I love this image because of the geometric shapes on the table in contrast with the organic shape of the plate. Furthermore, even though there is such a wide range of colours in this photo, they all complement each other and make the dish pop!

‘Don’t tell mom’ Roti Pancake at Sip Song
Mango Sticky Rice at Sip Song
In your point of view, what kind of food image is the most engaging content on your blog? 

As my shots are pretty consistent and I tend to capture most dishes with a similar angle, the range of engagement I get varies depending on the kind of food or dish I post. I’d say that the most engaging content on my profile are photos of more unique dishes or of food that is plated very beautifully. That’s great for me because I love trying innovative and creative dishes!

Rainbow Cake at C’est la B
A5 wagyu beef at Hiyama
Your photos on the Dishtag app also look great. As a frequent user of the Dishtag app, what do you like most about it?

I like to post photos on the Dishtag app and look for photos of specific dishes! It makes it very easy to search for photos of specific dishes at restaurants (something I always google when I’m figuring out what I want to order), and it’s just nice to look through the app because there are so many photos of good food! Also, on the blog the Dishtag team give you tips on food photography and show you various table setups which is great when you don’t know how to capture a dish!

Your photos look so yummy and inspiring! Could you give us a few tips on how to take great food photos even when dining out in non-optimal situations?

I usually use either the flash on my phone or I ask other people to turn their flash on for me, so the lighting is better, and the photo is clearer. I rarely use props in my food photos because I like the dish itself be the focal point, and so I usually have the dish in the centre with a clean background. Also, I usually edit my photos (I always make them a lot brighter and turn up the contrast and detail) to make the colours pop and it makes the food look even more delicious!

Abalone Teppanyaki dish at TA-KE
Shot at Kaiyō
What is your favourite type of food to shoot? 

I really enjoy taking photos of (and eating) fine dining food. I think fine dining is so intricate and chefs pay so much attention to the presentation and flavour of the food – it is like a form of art. So I really like to capture its beauty! From the way the different elements on the plate interact with each other, to how the chef highlights the main ingredient in each course, and even the dish they used to plate the food.

Caviar Man Tou at VEA
Favourite restaurant in HK?

There are so many restaurants I love in Hong Kong but if I had to pick, it would either be Petrus or VEA. I love restaurants with nice views and I also love fusion fine dining!

What advice would you give to new food bloggers?

Follow and interact with other food bloggers and people with similar interests. Keep the style of the photos consistent: having a nice feed plays a significant role in capturing people’s attention. Lastly, make sure you enjoy the process, that is what matters at the end!

Discover more ‘behind the lens’ photography tips from fellow foodies:

Behind the lens with @conyjapjapjap

Behind the lens with @sylfeedah

Behind the Lens with @fm.feed

Alexandra Leung
Author: Alexandra Leung