It’s as if an instinct nowadays to take photos of pleasurable food before actually consuming it. In fact, a global phenomenon was already coined for this and it is called ‘camera eats first’ behavior.
Some studies claim that this is a form of ritualistic behavior similar to praying before eating meals, while others say #foodstagramming can make the food taste better and can even trick you to eat healthy food.
In line with CHiNOY TV’s support for local micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and in partnership with Fil-Chi Ho Tsia Ho Dim to present the Seng Di Feature series, here are six Chinoy photographers who are sharing tips on how to make your food pictures more tempting.
Her newfound passion started when she tried to document her quarantine food creations. With the encouragement of her family and friends, Giselle took a leap of faith and started her own studio at home, Someplace Sunny.
Her style is simple: aesthetic yet realistic. With every shoot she makes, she allots time to study proper composition, color theory, material selection, and other elements of design to elevate the style she has. Giselle also put her personal touch in terms of arranging backdrops.
Her tip: Pay attention to every detail and keep practicing despite not having a roster of clients. Giselle said all it takes to have enticing food photos is a decent camera, good lighting, and the food as your subject. She added that you should not shy away from the crowd, flaunt your work and gear up to receive criticism on a positive note.
Check out more of Giselle’s work here!
DENNIS ROBERT LO
“Creating a good image takes more than just an ‘eye,’” Dennis Robert Lo says, adding that being in the marketing and corporate setting has taught him that photography is a thorough process.
He is a multimedia arts graduate and has always been into creating images, from illustrations to graphic design, and eventually photography. What inspired him to compile his portfolio was the trust that his first boss gave him when he was tasked to shoot a food series.
From there, he dipped his hands in every step of production from conceptualization to editing the photos, as he tries to learn from his fellow photographers and stylists in the industry.
Dennis advises beginners to try to find good mentors for them to learn valuable insights and develop their skills much faster. He also asserts that having someone who will supervise your work can make you less nervous in starting out.
View Dennis’s portfolio here!
DIANNE GRACE CHUNG
Another self-taught food photographer admits she is a certified foodie, thus, the name of her page, @I_AM_CHUNGRY. Dianne Grace Chung started sharing her still life photographs of food because it has been a habit of her to treat herself and explore different restaurants.
Using just a smartphone, she captures every bite of her meals. Dianne reveals that she had friends who were not supportive and who even criticized her works. But upon seeing that her followers on Instagram are gradually increasing, and with her other friends’ encouragement, Dianne became more motivated to produce more food snaps.
She did more research and watched clips on how to further improve her photography skills. Dianne also joined several social media groups to get tips from experienced photographers.
Right now, she is eyeing to start herself a ‘skill fund’ so that she can buy a professional camera and set.
Check out Dianne’s social media page here!
This freelance event and product photographer is very equipped with skills and experience. Aside from producing professional photos, Cherisse Yao can also do videography, video editing, and graphic design. However, it was only during the pandemic season that she started venturing into food photography.
During her high school days, Cherisse attended workshops organized by a Filipino-Chinese food photographer. She chose to pursue product photography since it offered more job opportunities back when she was in college.
But her love for food is unstoppable. She finished a certificate course on baking and pastry arts.Through understanding the science behind food preparation, Cherisse learned how to take picture-perfect shots.
When the lockdown started this year, her family and friends opened their business ventures. She extended her support by taking beautiful and tempting pictures of their products. That’s when she decided to quit her 9-to-5 job in pursuit of finally being a freelance photographer.
Cherisse says one of the biggest challenges that local artists experience is the underappreciation of their craft. Clients tend to bid for lower prices, which leave artists no choice but to settle and be paid unfairly. Now, she urges her fellow artists to stop accepting this as a norm.
Check out Cherisse’s social media page here!
ABIGAIL KRISTY TAN JAVELLANA
A multimedia artist who loves to travel and eat, Abigail Kristy Tan Javellana admits she is more of a travel writer since she has been blogging for almost five years for a media website. She only took basic photography when she was studying her undergraduate degree in advertising but it later became her hobby to take food photos.
During this pandemic, her work assignments shifted to food deliveries, since the website is more well known for food reviews.Abigail felt the need to capture good photos to supplement her blogs as well as to help the restaurant owners and home cooks. This led her to discover that she has a knack for shooting and styling food.
Abigail shared her most difficult food shoot which was when she was featuring a real ice cream. Usually, photographers and stylists use fake ice cream made of mashed potatoes but if you’ll take snaps of the real one, you only have a few minutes to get the right shots before the ice cream gets ruined as it melts. After the product shoot, Abigail said it was a very fulfilling experience since it was a really hard thing to do.
She thinks of herself as the perfect example that it is never too late to learn. Abigail claims her first few shots were not enticing at all but eventually, she got the hang of it. Up until today, she is constantly surprised with the ideas and styles she comes up with every product shoot.
See more of Abigail’s work here!
MARVIN GERARD GAN
He firmly believes that travel and food go together hand-in-hand in order to tell stories. Marvin Gerard Gan is a graduate of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management but he initially planned to take multimedia arts.
He attended a few workshops on basic photography a few years back but what played a crucial role for him to transition into becoming a food photographer was his training on handling food, table setup, and doing the overall styling arrangement.
The COVID-19 pandemic made an impact on the hospitality industry with unprecedented challenges. Many establishments declared bankruptcy while numerous employees were laid off from their jobs due to the operation halt during the lockdown. But this gave Marvin an opportunity to establish a business and adapt to this ‘new normal’.
He started to do photo shoots of food products that his friend baked for her online business. From there, people started to ask him if he was willing to do collaborations or if they could buy the images that he styled and photographed.
Marvin never thought of making money out of his passion. Before the pandemic, he had different professional goals and plans but it seems that everything changed as he learns more about food photography. Marvin adds that his hobby-turned-business also serves as an avenue for him to help and inspire small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on growing their brands.
Checkout Marvin’s works here!