Be the next Social Media Star!
Blogging is one of the very best things I’ve ever done to better myself. I started as a way to journal my boring school life 15 years ago then created this food blog 7 years ago to share my food journey. However, I never thought about how that could impact others nor make friends with people halfway across the country.
When I started using a DSLR camera, I was amazed how much I can do with food photography and styling. Readers would always ask, “What makes a great food photo?” Well, I’m not a professional food photographer and unable to give you a whole list of technical answers, my reply is simply “As long as you want to eat the photo, it’s good!”
Whenever I conduct blogging classes, I tell the participants “When you have good photos, you win half the battle.” Food blog photography is completely different from professional food photography. Most of the time, we’re working in low-light situations where we neither have the time to style the food nor the ability to set up lighting equipment. Sometimes, we will even get scolded by other diners if we have an off-camera flash. But I guess, you have to make sacrifices sometimes in order to do your job well, right?
You don’t need an expensive camera really but you need to know what you are doing. Some international food bloggers even use stunning iPhone pictures in their blogs. Here, I am going to share with you some of my experience in food photography and styling for blogging.
For beginners, I’d recommend you start shooting in Aperture Priority mode. A small F-stop (eg F3.5), you have a smaller area in focus and the rest blurry. A larger F-stop (eg F10) will have more of the photo be in focus. For food photography, F3.5 to 5 is a pretty good starting range. Once you are comfortable, you can switch to manual mode where you have more control.
Lighting is very important in good photography. I feel that best light is indirect daylight. Especially when you are in a restaurant, request to sit near the window. But during dinner, it is impossible to get good lighting. So perhaps try to grab a table under a spotlight, carry a small LED light or make use of your handphone’s spotlight! Never ever use an in camera flash because it is way too harsh.
In a restaurant, we always get an angle of about 45° on your food when sitting. It is okay, but perhaps try getting down low or a higher angle. You may get something different. Take multiple shots from different angles and at different exposure settings so that you’ll have a lot to choose from.
It is always good to know a bit of food styling to help you plan your shots, especially if you are writing a recipe blog post at home and have more flexibility when it comes to plating your dishes. Even when you are having a meal in a restaurant, it doesn’t mean you should forget to apply a little charm in the food styling department. Presentation is extremely important with food, especially when it’s going to be photographed. Keep it simple and remember, less is more. You don’t need to have a sliced mushrooms in every square inch of your food, one or two will get your point across without making the image messy.
You can add garnishes that contrast the colour of the dish. I often do this by adding fresh basil, mint, parsley or any herb that is appropriate to the food and its ingredients. It is good to know which colours contrast well and which colours complement well. Eg: a pale coloured food and plate gets a dark background where as a vibrantly coloured dish tends to be best with a simple white background.
3. Quick Tips
To make the vegetables look crisp, dip them in a bowl of ice water. To prevent apples from turning brown, soak it in a bowl of lemon water. You can read more about other tips online.
If I have motivated you in one way or another, or if you have been wanting to start a food blog, your chance is here! The third edition of Cineleisure’s Next Online Sensation is back! This social media competition is searching for social media savvy youths who are able to best represent and promote the different Food, Fashion and Leisure facets of Cathay Cineleisure Orchard!
Contestants will put their skills to the test in challenges from the various categories:
• Food & Beverage Presentation
• Fashion & Entrepreneurship
• Lifestyle & Virality
• Live Event Coverage
Together with Qiu Qiu and Sheila, we will be finding the next social media star! I will be mentoring one of the challenges. Pluck up the courage to take part if you’ve always wanted to or encourage their friends to take part if they think they’ve what it takes
The Winner will be awarded $1,000 cash, an OLYMPUS PEN Camera, a larger-than-life-size poster advertisement and a year-long supply of Cathay Cineplexes movie vouchers! There’re also three other titles to grab including the Overnight Sensation, 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up all with awesome prizes to bag as well!
Tip for the contestants of CNOS3
The most important tip I would give the contestants of CNOS3 is… SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY! Write like how you would usually talk to a friend and don’t try to be someone else if you are not. I read your blog because I want to know you and I am interested to hear some interesting stories of your life or views about an issue, so you just have to be true to yourself and the readers.
Enthusiasm is infectious, so don’t be afraid to show it. If you have something you love, share it on your blog. If there is something you really hate, share it on your blog! Remember, your blog is a shadow of yourself. Good luck!
SIGN UP HERE: www.cineleisure.com.sg/cnos
Registrations closes 7 March 2014. Hope to see you!