“Do what you love, love what you do”. This week we catch up with Myra Choi AKA @f00dforlife_, a Hong Kong student currently studying public relations and social media in London, as well as an early adopter of the Dishtag app. Myra tells us about journey as a food blogger and some useful tips on how to create dynamic ‘artwork’ through the lens.
Hi Myra, thanks for taking the time to chat! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Myra and I’m currently a student studying PR and social media in London. When I first started my food account in 2017, it was just an account shared between my close friends. I was still studying in boarding school at the time and I had to deal with various limitations. For example, I could rarely dine out and I wasn’t able to post photos on a regular basis. After taking a long break, I recently decided to reactivate my account to share my passion for food. I’ve used @f00dforlife_ as my account name mainly because ‘oo’ was already taken and it frustrated me when my friends struggled to find my account! When I’m not studying or talking about food, I enjoy painting and Thai boxing. It helps me not only to maintain peace of mind, but also to release stress.
How do you see the role of food photography on your IG account? Do you find your followers are more inspired by the photos or by the comments you make on the dishes?
Food photography definitely plays a crucial role when running a food account. A captivating photo gives the audience a greater incentive to tap onto a particular food post before reading the caption. I think the engagement of the photo mainly depends on the audience’s interests and the amount of time they spend on a particular photo. Some may sit down and look for honest reviews. And others may just be looking for the next ‘IG-worthy restaurant’. To me, I would say a genuine review is just as important as the image. Taste is subjective, but I try to provide honest and accurate comments.
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?
I usually use an iPhone 11 Pro to document my dining experience!
Can you share your very favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind it?
These are my two favourites and they were both taken at a Saturday brunch at Écriture. I truly appreciate the artistic elements that Chef Maxime Gilbert brings into the dishes. I was completely mesmerised by the colour palette on the Yayoi Kusama inspired (I guess?) Japanese egg.
The other photo is a flat lay of a steak that they offer since I don’t eat lamb. I really enjoyed how we got to choose our own knives for this particular course. And the beautiful irregularity of the plate just adds that extra layer of structure to the photo.
In your view, what kind of images are the most engaging content on your blog?
I find close-up photos seem to be the most engaging. It makes the food more appetising!
Could you give us a few tips on how to take great food photos even when dining out in non-optimal situations?
1) Shoot using portrait mode
I normally use portrait mode while taking food photos on my iPhone. I find it results in a more professional looking photo, and with minimum effort required!
Shot in Standard Mode
Shot in Portrait Mode
2) Your hands are the best props
Our hand can be used as a prop to hold the food up so as to show more details of the image. You could also imagine yourself pouring an onsen tamago into the bowl of sukiyaki. This helps to create your own dynamic piece of ‘artwork’!
3) Take advantage of natural lighting
I really like taking photos with natural lighting where possible. Especially from a side angle that gives a more authentic appearance of the food.
Favourite restaurant in HK?
I’ve mostly been in London for the past 9 years so I haven’t really got a favourite in HK just yet. But if I had to choose, I would say L’Envol at St Regis. Love the food, ambience, service! Just everything!
What advice would you give to new food bloggers?
Passion is the key! “Do what you love, love what you do”! This is one of my biggest drives to keep my food account going. Many people might think food bloggers simply like to eat and post pictures of food, but it actually requires an immense amount of time and dedication. The whole process from deciding where to eat next, booking the restaurant, thinking about how to capture the best photos, carefully selecting my favourite 5 images out of 30, editing the photos, writing reviews and finally posting… These days it appears to be fashionable to start a food blog. But if your love is solely driven by finding fame or status, you will never find happiness or fulfillment in your work. Instead, you’ll see as an obligation and that will become stressful.
As an early adopter of the Dishtag app, what do you like most about it?
Yes! It’s a really nice platform where food lovers can search for a specific dish they’re craving for and a list of restaurants will pop up. I particularly like the fact that you can search for a restaurant and find beautifully delicious photos of their dishes.