Food is always better shared, more so when it’s also a passion. This week Behind the Lens we catch up with Alice, one half of the foodie couple behind @hungryhoneyhk. She shares with us some great tips for documenting dining experiences through creative and stunning food photography.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What do you do besides your passion for food?
I am a creative content and social media manager in a luxury shoe company based in London. Having worked in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Singapore and London, I’m lucky to have had the chance to taste flavours from all around the world.
My partner Yannick is French/Swiss/British born in the Caribbean, but he grew up in Hong Kong. He is a chef working at the Mandarin Oriental in London, so food revolves around our life. We started the Instagram page together with the pure passion of me eating and his cooking.
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?
Food photography is really important as it captivates your audience for the few seconds that they are scrolling through their feeds. Stopping them in their tracks to see your beautiful photo or read the caption is the goal. Captions are important, but you also do not want to make it super long as people are always on the move!
Both photos and comments are equally important when it comes to Instagram post performance. We usually share reviews on restaurants that we’ve been to or some original homemade recipes. It is essential to assess the kind of content your audience wants to see more of. Hence, we’ve done an Instagram poll asking for our followers’ preferences. A lot of our followers reflected that they would like to see more homemade recipes.
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?
We are using an iPhone 11 pro and an Olympus E-M10 Mark II camera.
Can you share your very favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind it?
This Char Siu Rice made by Yannick is one of our favourite food shots. Char Siu is such a typical Hong Kong dish that everyone can get in the any of the cha chan tangs in Hong Kong. During lockdown, we prepared our own barbecued Char Siu sauce and baked the pork shoulders in the oven. Not only was it fun to attempt to cook new dishes, but it also reminded us of home. The taste brought back good memories.
In your point of view, what kind of food image is the most engaging content on your blog?
Our audience love when we post about seafood dishes and beautiful delicious desserts. Apart from our giveaway contests, our most engaged photo is seared jumbo king prawns with a sweet pepper, garlic and tomato chutney over a crispy toasted tiger loaf of bread. Home cooking and original recipe content is also highly engaging as we’re able to continue our engagement with our followers beyond Instagram and in their own kitchens. And for anyone that wants to recreate this jumbo king prawns dish from our feed, Yannick recommends that you “squeeze the head of the prawns when cooking to release the flavour into the sauce.”!
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?
Our photography tips:
1) We either use our iPhone or camera when we’re at home or dining out. Lighting is the most prominent factor in photography, and ideally natural day light is the best option. When dining out in the evening, Yannick will shine a light for me with his phone to get the best shot. This is definitely one of the best things about being a foodie couple! We also recently purchased a ring light with different adjustable settings, which has been a really useful and affordable prop to get the perfect shot.
2) Angles are important, find the best angle to arrange the food for it to stand out, so that people can associate with the dish. When people recognize a dish they are more likely to look at it and hence read your captions. The longer you can get your audience to stay on your photo, the more the Instagram algorithm favours you. Don’t be afraid to test out new angles and use what is around you as props.
3) We tend to use portrait mode as it blurs out the background and allows our audience to focus on the dish itself. We also like to add in hands using a fork, spoon or chopstick picking something up, as it makes the dish seem real rather than a photoshoot of uneaten food. People can better connect when it feels real.
What is your favourite type of food to shoot?
We love taking photos of pasta and noodles. Who doesn’t love a good noodle or pasta pull? It’s fun to shoot and then you get to slurp it up when the picture is finished.
Favourite restaurant in HK?
There are so many to name really. But we’d have to say our favourites are Kau Kee Restaurant, Yardbird, Okra, Pang’s Kitchen and Pici.
What advice would you give to new food bloggers?
When starting out a new food account, switch your account to a business page. You can track your performance and analyze what kind of content works the best. You can also better understand what the optimum time to post is based on your followers’ active time.
And of course, enjoy the journey! You started it because you love it. And be sure to connect with other foodies and support each other, as we’re all in it for the love of food.
As an early adopter of the Dishtag app, what do you like most about it?
It is a great app that is easy to use! What we like the most about the Dishtag app is how easily you can the best places to eat in Hong Kong from the beautiful visual menus. What’s more, it is also a great networking app for foodies to stay connected to the Hong Kong foodie world!