Lifestyle

How to take better food photos with your phone

5 tips from food stylists and photographers

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Taking photos is more than just about getting likes on Instagram or filling up your feed with a certain aesthetic; it’s about telling a story in a visual way. It may be inanimate, but there are many ways you can capture and show happy memories from foodstagrams.

A slice of cake can transport you back in time when your friends surprised you on your 22nd birthday, the same way your family’s Chinese New Year spread can remind you of the time everyone gathered around during the festivities.


Here are five easy tips from professional food stylists and photographers Diona Lee and Sean Ashley on how you can take better food photos using an iPhone.

1. Create a narrative

Shot on an iPhone XS

Good photos are able communicate beyond what’s obvious and the same applies to food. A photo of char siew can be just that — a sumptuous plate of pork — but it can be so much more. If styled and captured with intent, it can convey a festive celebration, an emotional homecoming, or even a set of parents’ labor of love.

2. Add a human element

Shot on an iPhone XS

One way to help create a narrative is by adding a human element or two. A hand with chopsticks reaching out for a piece of roast duck can make a world of difference. Human elements add emotions and warmth to photos and make them feel more real.

3. Inject color

There’s a reason chefs garnish their food after plating. Dishes in a food spread sometimes tend to look alike, so adding props or even adding different colored food to the table can help break the monotony and bring your photo to life. Just make sure to not overdo props; styling is done best within the context of a narrative.

4. Angle your food

Here’s a quick one most of us don’t normally do: You can use napkins to prop up your food and add depth to your photo. This especially works for round items like fruits.

5. Find soft lighting

Shot on an iPhone XS with Portrait Mode

Food is always best captured with natural light, but if that’s not available, your next best option is to find soft lighting and take the photo away from harsh kitchen lights. Most people’s tendency is to put the food right under harsh light fixtures, but if you haven’t noticed by now, that actually adds unnecessary shadows to your photo and some areas may simply end up overexposed.

Need more inspiration? Watch our food photography tips made specifically for iPhones here.

WATCH: 5 iPhone Food Photography Tips

Lifestyle

Vaping supposedly linked to mysterious lung disease, investigations ongoing

More than 150 cases reported in the US

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If you’ve gone out within the past few years, you’ve probably ended up in a dense mist of vape smoke. In fact, you might have tried the smoking alternative yourself. Since its invention, vaping has prided itself as the safer bet compared to tar-riddled cigarettes. Further, vaping is supposedly less addictive and cooler in today’s standards. Case in point, vaping bars have popped up all over the world. The fairly new technology became a cultural sensation.

Unsurprisingly, vaping’s clean reputation owes to its recency. So far, scientists haven’t finished conducting more rigorous tests confirming the technology’s safety. Naturally, science will eventually catch up.


In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating more than a hundred pulmonary cases linked to vaping. Across the States, 153 people have succumbed to “severe lung illness” from June 28 to August 20 of this year. All cases involved some sort of vaping usage.

The unnamed illness includes “breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization.” In some cases, the illness further developed “mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea.” Thankfully, none of the cases have caused death.

So far, the CDC has not pinpointed a definitive compound or product causing the illness. Investigations are still ongoing. Further, health officials are also investigating a potential link with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, the same compound found in marijuana. As of late, vapers have started vaping with THC oil. Several of the existing patients used such products prior to the illness.

In any case, the CDC is still finalizing its investigation, indefinitely extending vaping’s clean slate. If anything, the phenomenon is now under the microscope. Is it still as safe as it claims to be?

SEE ALSO: Fitbit and Singapore are teaming up for a healthier nation

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Lifestyle

Fitbit and Singapore are teaming up for a healthier nation

Could include more than a million subscribers

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Governments everywhere are trying to leverage modern technology in their public healthcare programs, but the process has been slow. Adopting new technology is difficult because of the wide scale and costs. In a first, Fitbit and Singapore have teamed up to build a healthier country.

Singapore launched the Smart Nation initiative five years ago to modernize the city-state with state-of-the-art technology, as well as proactively improve citizens’ health. Fitbit has been signed onto Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) to undertake a project.


Starting next month, residents of Singapore can register for the Fitbit Inspire, which the company launched earlier this year specifically for employers and health plans. Citizens won’t pay anything for the device, but will commit to spending SG$ 10 a month for a year of premium service, which includes guidance and one-on-one coaching.

Fitbit Premium provides personalized coaching and nudges subscribers to drive behavior and lifestyle changes to live healthier. Apple, Fitbit’s arch-rival, had also competed for the Singapore contract, but Fitbit’s bid ultimately won out.

As part of the partnership, Fitbit’s digital health platform and wearable devices will integrate with Singapore’s public health program. It’ll be called Live Healthy SG and will be available to people of “all ages and levels of health.”

Singaporeans will be able to pre-register for Live Healthy SG around mid-September, Fitbit said, with the program set to launch sometime in October.

This project can be a inspiring stepping stone for other countries as well. Singapore is a very small country and hence ideal for a pilot run. The same setup can be replicated elsewhere and scaled.

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Entertainment

YouTube Original Series to feature TWICE

First K-Pop girl group to be featured

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Image from JYPNation at Naver

K-Pop continues to be more popular than ever and it’s now making its way to YouTube Originals. TWICE, who constantly tops Korean charts, will be featured in a YouTube Original Series. They are the first K-Pop girl group to star in the award-winning series.

The series will feature the North American leg of their 2019 World Tour called TWICELIGHTS. This might prove to be an emotionally charged content from the group as one of the members — Mina — took a leave in the middle of the tour due to anxiety.


According to Billboard, the series is “unlike anything released by TWICE before. The series will showcase exclusives, in-depth interviews, as well as an “intimate and personal portrayal of all of TWICE’s members.” It will also dabble into the group’s four-year journey so far. The series will launch in the first half of 2020.

TWICE debuted in 2015 with nine members namely Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group first hit their stride following their first comeback Cheer Up. The group has consistently released hit songs since and have been tapped as endorsers by multiple brands including tech-related ones like LG.

YouTube Originals and YouTube Premium

YouTube Originals had previously worked with K-Pop boy groups, most notably the one with BTS called BTS: Burn The Stage. It features various shows produced by YouTube itself. The show series was launched alongside YouTube Premium — a subscription based entertainment platform akin to Netflix, Hulu, et al.

YouTube Originals are currently only available to YouTube Premium subscribers but the content will soon be accessible for free but with ads starting September 24.

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