Author of My Cooking Hut, Leemei Tan, has combined her two passions – food, and photography – to create one of the most beautiful food blogs on the web. Focusing on Asian and French cooking, My Cooking Hut distinguishes itself through it’s beautiful photography; one of the reasons for its popularity. We caught up with Leemei to discuss her passion for photography.
What inspired you to start your blog?
After moving to London a few years ago, I cooked more than I used to back home. One day, it struck me that I should start recording down the recipes that I had learnt from my mother. She is a great cook but a lot of her delicious recipes are without proper measurements. So, as a way to be able to pass down the recipes to the next generation, I thought it would be a great idea to have it recorded and that’s how my blog was born.
So do you do all of your own photography? How long have you been interested in photography?
Yes. I have been interested in photography when I was a teenager. I was a member of photography club at school. That time, not only did I like to take photos of my friends and people around me but also myself!
Why food photography?
I love food as much as I love photography, so I thought both together are just great combo!
What do you like to photograph the most?
I photograph both savoury and sweet dishes. I have to say that I love photographing savoury dishes the most as there are usually a lot of elements and ingredients in a dish. Sometimes it can be quite a challenge as you have to use your imagination to make the dish look as nice as desserts as they already look pretty and cute even before being styled.
What camera equipment do you use?
I own a Nikon D90 and Fuji X100. I am impatient to be upgraded to a new gear!
Do you have a favourite lens?
My favourite has to be 50mm 1.4 and 18-200mm.
How long do you take setting up the picture when you photograph the food?
I usually like to spend 5-10 minutes to mentally imagine the ambience that I want to portray, which could be something minimalist, modern and elegant, home-cooked, party, special occasion, etc. Then I will think of the props that would be suitable to create such feel. I would think of the direction of the light that would create and affect the ambience that I want to achieve. Not to forget the depth of field, which is really important to give the overall look and feel of the photo. So, I would say overall it take me about 20-25 minutes to have everything setup ready to shoot.
Many people think that food is one of the least interesting subjects to photograph. What is your advice to them?
Well, not at all. It probably wasn’t an area of interest many years ago – not as popular as landscape, portrait, or other still life photography – but, I think in the recent years, food photography has become an area that many photographers start to have interests in. With the increasing number of cookbooks that we have in the market, beautiful food photography plays a very important role, which a lot of times can affect the decision of a person purchasing a cookbook. A lot of people usually like to know how a dish looks like before attempting in the kitchen.
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