Nothing is better than pursuing your ambition while sharing your passion through the lens. This week we catch up with Jane Ho aka @pigheadxx, a Hong Kong-based food blogger and medical student. She speaks with with us about her motives behind sharing food photography with others, as well as some of her own tips to take amazing food shots whether you’re eating out or cooking at home.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What do you do when you’re not taking photos of delicious food?
My name is Jane but I guess most of you know me by the name @pigheadxx. ‘Pighead’ is a nickname that my sister calls me in Cantonese. I found it pretty funny and catchy so I decided to use it for my foodie account.
I am a medical student but to be very honest with you I spend more time researching restaurants for my next meal than on studying (which I shouldn’t).
What role does food photography play on your IG account? Do you find your followers are more inspired by the photos or the comments you make on the dishes?
The first impression viewers have of me is through my Instagram feed. Food photography plays a crucial role in curating a good feed, which in turn helps to engage my audience. A well-photographed photo also motivates me to write a proper review with a stronger urge to share it as soon as possible.
I have had quite a few people DM-ing me and sharing how much they appreciate my honest reviews, and I think this is one of the most engaging factors of my food account. I share honest opinions and try to be as fair as possible. I understand that taste is subjective, but I do hope that people can get an idea of what to expect from a restaurant after reading my reviews.
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?
I usually document my dining experiences with my iPhone!
Can you share your favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind it?
The flat-lay of my homemade brunch! It was a spontaneous cooking session for my family and I made everything with whatever I could find in the fridge. Taking a flat-lay can be difficult but luckily there was sufficient natural lighting that day and I managed to take a pretty decent shot!
In your view, what kind of food image is the most engaging content on your blog?
To my surprise a lot of people like my #pighead_burnsthekitchen series, which is currently getting more interest than my restaurant reviews. Before the pandemic, I would say new restaurant reviews were the most engaging content on my blog. However since the outbreak began, I have been cooking quite a lot and posting some recipes online, and people LOVE THEM! This was a pleasant surprise because I like to keep my dishes as simple as possible whether I’m using leftover food or random ingredients to do my cooking.
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 enjoy editing my food photos a lot and I customise the filters and effects for every single photo. I mostly edit my photos with VSCO but when the original picture is quite poor, Lightroom is my saviour. The first image is a screencap from a video where both the resolution and lighting were pretty bad, so I used Lightroom to fix it.
VSCO has really nice filters and is perfect if you don’t have too much to fix up. Lightroom gives you much better control when it comes to giving the picture a more natural definition and sharpening. It is also a better tool for selective blurring/editing.
Ask your friends to hand model for you
A hand model can help add structure and context to your photo! So don’t forget to ask your friends to give you a ‘hand’!
Natural lighting is the key
Natural lighting is always your best friend when it comes to food photography. Find a spot that is near the window when you go to a restaurant and try to play around with shadows as they can sometimes create really cool effects!
What is your favourite type of food to shoot?
I love shooting dishes with eggs! Egg is a very simple ingredient, yet there are so many ways it can be captured in a photo. Most importantly they always look amazing in photos (especially when the egg yolk is oozing out)!
Favourite restaurant in HK?
This is a difficult question but if I have to choose, it has to be Little Cove Espresso! I’m a big fan of brunch and this cosy cafe by Sai Kung’s seaside has literally everything I like! For me, going to Sai Kung without visiting Little Cove Espresso is considered an incomplete trip!
What advice would you give to new food bloggers?
Explore your own style by experimenting and learning from others. It takes time but your audience will engage with you through the content you create. Finding a style that you’re comfortable with is very important.
Another tip is, don’t give up! I’ve had times when I wanted to give up when engagement level was low, but I’ve grown to understand that I’m doing this for myself to share my passion with my followers instead of getting likes/comments from the others.
About Dishtag: Have you heard of the Dishtag app? Can you tell us what you like about it?
Yes! It gives a simple yet concise directory of what and where to eat in this amazing city. I love how it connects foodies together and allows them to interact with each other!