A little bit of everything through the lens.

Our last meal in Taipei before we head for Malaysia was in Jiu Ru Restaurant on the 4th floor of Taipei 101 Mall with my god parents and their daughter.

Don't ask me the name of these dishes because I have no idea...well...I was too busy stuffing it into my stomach hahaha... All I remember is that the food was well prepared, tasty and I was really really full after dinner.

Some food photo tips below if you are interested.

This Taiwan trip could easily qualified as the most food photos I have ever taken during a trip. It all started as an assignment to document the foods I had there for my food loving wife, who couldn't join me on this trip. Then it evolved into an obsession to capture tasty food for my own reference!

Anyway, here are few things I learned while taking food photos at restaurant:

Never Use Flash - Primary reason is due to the fact that most flash will render the photo too harsh to look pleasant. Secondary reason, it will annoy other patrons in the restaurant and why would you want that?

Use Higher ISO Setting - Use high ISO to compensate for low light condition and to prevent motion blur. Yes, high ISO will introduce noise to the photo, but these photos are not for print anyway, for me at least. Of course choose the ISO level where the noise level is acceptable based on your camera. I have used ISO as high as 1600 for some of these food photos because setting up a tripod in a restaurant is impractical and it will also invite some curious and uncomfortable stare. Btw, don't forget to brace your arm against the table to reduce motion blur.

Use Exposure Compensation - This may apply to my camera model only, Canon XTi(400D), or it could apply to all camera type. Seems to me a lot of my indoor shot were underexposed, especially when the image has a lot of white in it. My theory is that the camera is trying to achieve 18% Grey normal exposure, to achieve that for a white subject(like plate or dish) is to underexposed it. So don't be afraid to increase exposure to correct that. Both point&shoot and DSLR have this feature.

Use Rule of Third - Use it to make the photo a little more interesting but don't be afraid to break the rules too.

Does any of this make any sense? If not, please let me know. Of course I'm not a professional so take these tips with a grain of salt. Have fun!


24 Reply to "Chow Down in Taiwan - Last One...Plus Some Photo Tips"

Emile Zola@life on April 13, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Nice captured and nice food too. Thanks for the tips but I think it will not apply to my auto digital camera (mine is Canon Powershot). And I even dont know what is ISO. Earlier Bakeling taught me to use the "Flower" mode, so I'm able to capture a closer distance but still way too far to get nice pictures like yours.


Colin Woon on April 13, 2009 at 10:44 PM

Sonia - Canon Powershot is very good, we have one too! You can change your ISO by selecting setup, you will have more ISO control if you switch to manual mode. The "Flower" or "Macro" mode is very useful. Actually point&shoot can produce photo as good as DSLR if you fully utilize it. Check out your camera manual, you might learn something. Have fun!


Faye fly on April 13, 2009 at 11:59 PM

u enjoy a lot nice yummy food at taiwan ah !!! y no have tw hawker food ?!?!


TINTIN on April 14, 2009 at 1:01 AM

Nice capture...thanks for the tips!!


Shell (貝殼) on April 14, 2009 at 2:18 AM

Another nice series of photos~~
I never bring my flash to restaurant..cos too heavy ~hehe


Emile Zola@life on April 14, 2009 at 2:21 AM

Colin, the problem here is I have forgotten where I kept the manual, hahaha..


Bakeling on April 14, 2009 at 4:41 AM

Since my camera has died , I won't be taking any photographs for the time being.

Your food photo tips is very useful to the food bloggers (and me too) !

I haven't decided which camera I should buy but most probably it is Canon.

Why I torture my camera by taking a lot of photos until it "burn out "?


Colin Woon on April 14, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Faye fly - Yeah, I really wanted to try tw hawker food but we're in tw for a short time, too short to try more good food.

TINTIN - Thank you! I need some tips from you for shooting home cook goodness.

Shell - Thank you! Yup, flash could be heavy sometime.

Sonia - You can download PDF manual from Canon website.

Bakeling - You have fully utilized your camera, it should be that way. Beside, you have your camera for years, any electrical device will eventually worn off. Canon is a good choice, checkout the Powershot Pro series, it's a good alternative to DSLR at a lower price.


TINTIN on April 14, 2009 at 9:26 AM

Hi,..just finished with the bao's skin recipe..check it out!!! Do give it a try!


TINTIN on April 14, 2009 at 9:28 AM

By the way, I'm Canon member too, I'm using 350D with 50 1.8 and Canon 450D with Tamron 15-70 hahaaa...


TINTIN on April 14, 2009 at 9:28 AM's Tamron 17-50 terbalik pulak ..kekeke


Colin Woon on April 14, 2009 at 9:49 AM

TINTIN - Hi Canon kaki! 2 camera body?! Wow! Envious! Tamron 17-50 is a good lens that I wish I have.


dapan on April 14, 2009 at 1:27 PM

they look so delicious! wish they are right in front of me now!


mimid3vils on April 14, 2009 at 10:38 PM

Planning to go Taiwan this year but I pregnant liao can't go :(


little prince's mummy on April 14, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Drooling! Looks so delicious!! btw, I like the way you capture the food photo! ;)


Colin Woon on April 14, 2009 at 10:48 PM

dapan - I wish they are in front of me now too!

mimid3vils - Pregnant?! Congratulation! That's something to celebrate!

little prince's mummy - They are delicious! I'm glad that u like it!


Petite Tish on April 15, 2009 at 12:52 AM

下月我想买50mm F1.4镜头送自己过生日,耶!


Colin Woon on April 15, 2009 at 1:31 AM

Petite Tish - Now that you have a job, you can spend more when you travel, it's a good thing! I'm sure you will do wonder with the 50mm f/1.4, have fun!


Nancy on April 15, 2009 at 2:08 AM



Colin Woon on April 15, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Nancy - Hahaha...sometime the food does look better than it taste!


温馨小屋 on April 16, 2009 at 12:45 AM

好专业的摄影技术! 厉害!


米亚 on April 17, 2009 at 11:32 PM

I am using an ordinary camera like Panasonic Lumix FS3... I wonder if I could reproduce similar effects if all your tricks apply? Hm... you are so professional!


Colin Woon on April 18, 2009 at 1:07 AM

温馨小屋 - Thank you!

米亚 - Lumix FS3 is a very capable point&shoot. The setting I used for most of these shots is within the features of your FS3 so I think you maybe able to reproduce similar effects. I did use Adobe Lightroom to "enhance" my photo, you can try that too. Thanks for checking out my blog.

Thank you all for the compliments! I really appreciate it! You all made my day!


jdexign on April 25, 2009 at 7:00 PM

i love your food photography!


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