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A lot of you have been asking me what camera and software I use to take and edit pictures on my blog and on instagram. Sometime last month, Naiise.com sent me a set of tableware to spruce up my hall life and cooking habits, but it was the middle of finals and I was subsisting on dry crackers and instant noodles at 4am, so… Anyway! I finally have a moment to myself in between the bustle of the semester ending and settling all the administrative nonsense I have to do for my upcoming trip to Germany (I’m bleeding money you guys TT) so I thought i’d take the opportunity to shoot an instagram BTS post with the very naiise tableware I’ve received.

*I’m no professional photographer, I just fiddle around with my camera, so this is purely personal and you’re free to disagree or figure out what works for you best.

FOOD FOR INSTAGRAM : PHOTOGRAPHY AND PLATING

Camera Information:
Canon 500D on a 50f1.8 prime lens

I also sometimes shoot on the Sony Nex 3N (example here), my fish eye iphone lens c/o Peek Singapore (example here). Sometimes Andrea takes my photos on her Nikon D3000 (example here)

Timing:
I feel like lighting makes up about 40% of your photo. Composition is another 40, and the content of the actual photo… about 20%. I mean, this is basically a tutorial about a photo of an egg.

Food photos, aka indoor still shots, I tend to take in the morning, anytime from 10am to 12noon. I dont know if this is legit but I feel it makes the lighting softer and warmer.
Outdoor shots are best done about 5-6pm because of the way the light falls.

Composition:

There are several ways to take food shots. One is straight on; observe:

Which is relatively straightforward. Or the side shot:


The one I prefer is a bit more crowded – with your subject shifted to the side a little and with a few more elements peppered around the edges for color. The only thing is it takes longer than your straight on shot because you keep having to adjust bits of the photo around to see what looks best.

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I balanced my egg plate out with some leaves from my dining room flower vase and a cup of tea I didn’t even drink much of in the end..

Background & Plating:

Which is an offshoot of composition, really. You dont want the background to look too cluttered, the ideal background should be as clean as possible in either a solid color or a slightly textured surface. I personally favor wood- I love how it gives your photos a warm and smoky vibe, and besides, everyone knows wood looks great in any instagram filter. It’s like the LBD of food or something.

I dont have any wooden tables. For this photo I basically stole my this plank of wood lying outside my neighbor’s house (I put it back later though) and used it as a backdrop on my floor.

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Ridiculous, I know. But I adored the end product. It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of wood..

The plates you use also make a huge difference to the photo because of the element of color introduced. Of course, white or glass plates work but they’re also a little bit blah. I think blue is a pretty classic color for plating, or if you have something in silver or gold accents it’d be gorgeous as well. Plates are a fantastic long term investment but can be ridiculously expensive though (im looking at you, takashimaya), like up to a hundred dollars per plate, so it’s best if you can get them at vintage stores or artsy design studios. Here I’m using Democratic Society’s Dancing Joaquim tableware set sent to me by Naiise.com. It’s retailing for 44$ for three units- big/small dish and a chopstick rest, which is pretty decent, so you can check out the rest of the designs if you’re looking to start somewhere affordable.

Tone:

Pre-instagram filter, you should probably fix up the tone of the photo you want in your camera settings first so it makes things easier later on. You can do this by mixing up the camera white balance settings: there should be a little menu for different lighting options on your camera, like AWB, sunny, shade, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, and so on. It usually comes down to a toss up between AWB and one of the other personal-choice manual lighting settings, and you can just go with which one you personally prefer. For reference, AWB means Automatic White Balance and is basically your camera trying to be a smartass and choosing what lighting it thinks is best for the photo, and in my experience this makes the picture tend to turn out a bit cooler.

Here’s the photo shot in AWB:

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And here it is shot in Sunny:

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I quite like both but I went with the Sunny shot in the end. Minor differences, really. You only need to bother with this if you’re a tight ass.

Crop:

And finally! Cropping. If you’re using instagram on the iphone like me, one problem you’re going to always face is the app shutting down on you if you try to upload a photo that’s too high resolution. It’s almost like the app can’t process how awesome sharp high def photos are and just decides to go I can’t deal, i just can’t and bloody commit suicide. There are a few ways to fix this:

1. Save your photo in a lower resolution (booooo)
2. Keep retrying till by miracle instagram lets you post it without dying (takes me like twenty plus tries sometimes, drives me mad)
3. Crop the photo to make it smaller in your computer first so it’s easier to process
or
4. Buy a HTC phone because apple sux lol.

The cropping option doesnt always work, mind you, but it’s my favorite option to date because you still get sharp photos, you can control the exact proportions of the crop better on your computer, and you’re more likely to get it posted successfully without instagram being a bitch.


And voila. The final product looking all deceptively casual and effortless, like ohai i just woke up and took this photo of my food before eating it.

Of course, by the time you actually get around to eating it, your food will probably be cold and kind of crap. But hey – the lengths we all go to for instagram, am i right.

Tada! You’re on your way to taking the perfect pretentious instagram food shot. I hope this answers all your questions about how i take my instagram photos and camera information. You can get the tableware im using here. Thank you Naiise.com / and happy instagramming, the rest of you!

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