In our latest food blogger feature we.go “Behind the Lens” with Sylvia, a law student, a fencing lover and a passionate Dishtagger, aka @sylfeedah. Sylvia shared with us her favourite food to shoot and also gave us some useful food photography tips. As a super user of the Dishtag app, with 8 places and 98 dishes “tagged”, Sylvia also shared her impressions of our Dishtag app.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What do you do besides your passion for food?
My name is Sylvia, a law student at HKU. My account name @sylfeedah was the idea of one of my friends as it has a similar pronunciation as my English name. I used to post food stories on my personal account, but many of my friends encouraged me to create a food account because I really eat a lot. So I finally created this account to share my food journey! Aside from eating, I love fencing as well!
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?
To be honest, I think food photography plays a significant role on my IG account, given that most viewers are attracted by fascinating photos instead of the caption. Also, attractive food photography is essential in engaging my followers!
Despite most viewers being attracted by the eye-catching photos, I still try my best to give subjective but honest reviews. Aside from being “IG-able”, quality and service also matter, and I hope my viewers can find my genuine reviews useful! Some of my viewers even DM me to show appreciation of my honest reviews and ask for further comments, which is my motivation for writing detailed reviews.
Can you share your very favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind it?
My favourite food photos are flat lays of maine lobster spaghetti with coral emulsion and hazelnut with milk chocolate cream and lime yogurt sorbet at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. It was my first attempt at taking flat lays and turned out to be surprisingly good. Luckily the lighting there was ideal with minimal shadows.
In your point of view, what kind of food image is the most engaging content on your blog?
I think sushi and desserts are the most engaging content on my blog! HK people love sushi a lot, so close-up sushi photos are always popular among my viewers. Desserts make my viewers happy as well!
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?
1) Edit your photos
Sometimes lighting in restaurants is not optimal and your photos may look dull and unappealing. Lightroom helps! Try to adjust the white balance and light to make your photos alluring!
2) Use portrait mode
Portrait mode blurs the background and gives the dish a sharper focus as if you are using a digital camera. But only use portrait mode when there’s sufficient lighting!
3) But don’t always use portrait mode!
Portrait mode cannot capture the details of your dish and does not work when the lighting is poor. Try to take close-up photos as they can give you every detail of the dish!
4) Use your hands!
Ask your family and friends to be your hand models! Photos including ‘movement’ can make photos more realistic and better engage your viewers.
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?
I usually use my iPhone XS to document my dining experience. I seldom use my Sony a6000 as the smartphone is much more portable and convenient.
What is your favourite type of food to shoot?
My favourite type of food to shoot is sushi! As simple as it may seem, making sushi requires a lot of skills and precision. Close-up photos of sushi allow you to appreciate the fine details of every piece of sushi!
Favourite restaurant in HK?
I think this is the most difficult question for every foodie! If I were to choose, I think it would be the Racing Club at the Happy Valley Racecourse. I won’t say they are the best in HK, but their food quality, service and ambience are excellent. I have been eating there since I was a child, the staff there treat me like family and my dining experience is always pleasant and relaxing. (Most importantly, they always prepare extra food for me!)
What advice would you give to new food bloggers?
Make sure you enjoy eating and enjoy being a food blogger as your viewers can feel your passion and love for food through your photos and captions! Managing a food blog looks simple, but it requires a lot of effort and time!. Editing photos, paying attention to other blogs, and writing reviews are immensely time-consuming, but your hard work pays off! It will be frustrating when you first start your food blog, but you will soon gain recognition if you are posting genuine reviews and lovely photos. Never give up as it takes time for more people to reach your account. You can also learn from other food bloggers on how to develop your own way of managing the blog.
Just enjoy being a food blogger and you can obtain satisfaction and happiness in this journey!
About Dishtag: As an early adopter of the Dishtag app, what do you like most about it?
Yes! It provides simple templates that assist you in capturing your dishes in full-screen. It is also a platform for you to look at beautiful photos uploaded by other food bloggers and restaurants, and find the next target of your food journey!