Behind the Lens with @eatswithkally

Posted on July 14, 2020 by Alexandra Leung

Food photography is always interesting with a twist of your own character. This week we caught up with Kally (@eatswithkally), a London born and raised food blogger,  and an early adopter of the Dishtag app. She shared her food photography tips and how to create visual balance in her food lifestyle shots.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What do you do besides your passion for food?

My name is Kally and I was born and bred in London. Having travelled around Asia I decided to take the plunge and move to Hong Kong this year. By day I am a Recruitment Consultant working with top Law firms in Hong Kong to find them the best talents. Prior to that in London I have always worked in Sales and Recruitment since graduating from university. 

How do you see the role of food photography on your IG account? Do you find your followers more inspired by the photos or by the comments you make on the dishes?

For me food photography is key!!! It’s all about captivating your audience with a gorgeous shot. I am still learning and I actually only use my iPhone to take photos at the moment. I definitely feel like to up my photography game I need to use a professional camera. This will allow me to truly portray the beauty of each dish and produce great mouth-watering, high quality images. In terms of captions I also find that when people are on the move they hardly read long comments on dishes – so best to keep it short and sweet and focus on the shot!!

What gear do you use to document your dining experiences? 

iPhone XR and iPhone 8, plus my handy Food light which I can’t go anywhere without!! 

Can you share your very favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind? 
Kally’s picnic shot at Cyberport
Kally’s picnic shot at Cyberport

My favourite photo has to be from a cute picnic in the park I had at Cyberport. Your audience only see the end shot but they don’t see the hard work and effort you put in to creating the photo. Content creation really does take time!!! I remember this day so clearly because it was a hot summers day in Hong Kong with temperatures reaching 32 degrees. After spending time in the supermarket picking up all our goodies, we chose a non shaded area to get the best lighting. I remember sweating so much while setting up this shot and we spent so long making sure it was perfect. It got to the point where the cheese started to melt and the ham was turning brown from the heat. We couldn’t eat some of the food once we had finally finished but really happy how the photo came out. 

What kind of food image is the most engaging on your blog? 
Lifestyle shot @aqua
Lifestyle shot @aqua

I love showing my personality on my page so over time I have incorporated lifestyle shots on my feed too. These mainly include me diving for something from a great spread or holding up a dish. I find that my followers love seeing photos of me on my page and these are the most engaging.

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? For example lack of lighting, lack of props, dishes that may look dull, etc…

My Top tips for great shots are:

1) Use lighting if you are in a dark restaurant. You can purchase a handy light from Amazon or you could even use your friends flashlight on their phone. Natural lighting however is always best so I try to choose a table next to the window during the day. 

Action shot with flashlight at The Chicken Bar
Action shot with flashlight at The Chicken Bar

2) iPhone camera quality is still great. If you don’t want to pull out a big professional camera then use your iPhone to shoot your food photos. I typically use “portrait mode” when shooting as it provides the perfect blur to the background and zooms into dishes so that other things on table are not distracting the shot. 

Image shot with iPhone portrait mode

3) I love using props!!! Props don’t need to be big – a prop could be a chopstick or knife and fork. I also love using hands as props, use someone’s hands to pick up a food or take a shot of them holding cutlery. This allows you to portray a natural dining photo. 

Action shot @Duddell’s

4) Don’t be embarrassed to get those great angles!!! Sometimes you might need to move a chair or position yourself in a certain way to get a shot. As long as it’s not disturbing other guests then just go for it. I don’t get embarrassed anymore because I love taking photos of food. 

What is your favourite type of food to shoot? 

I actually love shooting noodles and pasta dishes. Everyone loves a noodle pull and the pasta works as the perfect prop to make your photo stand out!

Action shot @208 Duecento Otto
Action shot @208 Duecento Otto
Favourite restaurant in HK?  

So far my favourite restaurant is Aqua! I am a sucker for views and Aqua sure provides some of the best. They offer some great dinner and brunch packages and this restaurant is definitely for the fancier dining experience  in Hong Kong 

What advice would you give to new food bloggers?

My advice would be to always have fun with it and find your own style. I think that most food bloggers start because they have a passion for food. For me I grew up around food and cooking because my dad is a chef. I took my love for eating and aesthetics to my page which I still consider a hobby today. Consistency is also very important so ensure you post regularly to keep your audience engaged and to grow. 

As you are one of the earlier adopters of our newly-launched Dishtag app, can you tell us what you like about it? 

Dishtag was the first foodie app I actually downloaded when I moved to Hong Kong. I found them on Instagram and attended a food photography event with them which was great. The app really helps people at all levels of photography because it provides a tutorial on angles and how to take a great photo.

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

Behind the Lens with @clai_eats

Behind the Lens with HK food blogger Joyce To

Behind the Lens with @nothingbutfoodies

Alexandra Leung
Author: Alexandra Leung