Tandoori style chicken with pilaf rice

The dilemma of photographing food

Tandoori style chicken with pilaf rice

This image looks a lot more obscure now than when I took the picture, mostly because of the angle. Maybe it would look a whole lot more appetising if it was taken at a 30º angle rather than 90º.

That’s the thing with photographing something food related everyday – it’s pretty hard. I’m trying that out for a little while. I really wanted to improve my photography skills and I kept on telling myself “this is easy, you’re eating something everyday so you’ve got something to photograph everyday”. But it’s not.

Finding interesting foods has already become an endless challenge. It’s surprising how easy it is to slip into a food routine of having the same foods on a cycle every few weeks. At least this will challenge me to be more creative with what I’m eating and get out of the rut. It’s also amazing how many things are eaten without any thoughts given to them. I’ve found myself eating small snacks during the day and suddenly thinking “Hey! Is this good enough to photograph?” when normally I would happily eat without concern.

And then there’s the technical details. On the one hand, I’m eager to tuck in, on the other I want the photograph to look at least ok. If I spend ages perfecting the shot and styling, my food will go cold. Diner’s Journal from the New York Times did a brilliant series of features on food photography (this can be found here). It has been very helpful for reference but at the end of the day, it involves holding back on the eating to spending more time on the practicing.

When I took this shot, though, I already started eating before I remembered that I was meant to photograph it, hence the slightly hastily arranged plate. But I guess really, I just need to make a separate plate for photographing.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.


  1. Tandoori Chicken one of the yum and popular dishes. i just crave for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.