We cover information about the importance of visual storytelling, lighting, angles, and consistency in creating compelling narratives that engage and retain the viewer’s attention. 

Listen on the player in this post or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with My Food Lens
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Dyutima is an architect-turned commercial & editorial food photographer & podcaster based in Singapore. She is the first South Asian woman to host a food photography podcast, My Food Lens.

After 15 years as an architect, designing healthcare facilities around the world, she found her passion in food styling & photography.
Today, she has a successful business working with clients around the world and teaching other photographers how to do so as well.

Her work has been featured in a range of food & photography magazines like Thrive magazine, Whalebone magazine etc. & she has worked with several prestigious clients like The Intercontinental Hotel Singapore, McCormick etc.


  • Plan Food Photo Shoots in Advance: Use a storyboard to stay focused creatively and save time during a photo shoot.
  • Think of Your Recipe as a Story: Like a movie, there’s a plot, hero, theme and genre. Use these elements to tell your story.
  • Bring Readers into Your Story Through the First Image: Improve first impressions with powerful opening photos that hook readers emotionally or visually 
  • Activate the Viewer’s Imagination: Create a sequence of events and narrate this through your photos using ingredients, movement and context.
  • Readers Disengage with Technically Weak Photos: Check lighting, camera angles, storytelling cohesion, and color editing in photos.
  • Readers Disengage with Disconnected Visuals: Do your photos match with the vibe, colors and branding of your website? Do they match the specific type of recipe?
  • Show Readers the Bigger Picture: As a final photo, include the context of where they might enjoy the recipe; use props to narrate this visually. 
  • Make Dull Food Look Appetizing: By adding contrasting colors using herbs or flowers and by using macro shots, you can make unappealing food look great.

Resources Mentioned

The 10-step photoshoot guide

The 5-step guide to visual storytelling


Click for full script.

EBT540 – Dyutima Jha

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth, and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported. 

Megan Porta  00:38

I am probably the laziest food photographer on the planet. So for me, this conversation was particularly enlightening and helpful Dyutima Jha from My Food Lens joined me in this amazing interview to talk about how to keep readers on your page by bringing powerful storytelling to food photography. It feels like as bloggers, we’re really caught up right now in storytelling through our words, considering all of the changes that are going on with Google, and the focus the hyper focus on SEO and, and what we should be writing about inside of our posts. So it was really compelling to me to talk through storytelling in our visuals, particularly food photography. This was a really inspiring conversation and made me think through taking food photos in an entirely different way, due to my talks about what storytelling is for food photography, and for food bloggers, why food bloggers should even care about storytelling in their food photos. She talks about some common mistakes as we try to storytell through our food photography. And then the last part of our conversation talks about food photography mistakes that might be hurting your blog and your page views. Things like lighting angle, and she even talks about the topic of what to do with that, “ugly food” that a lot of us don’t know what to do with. She has some really great insights about that. This is one of my favorite conversations I’ve had in a while. I hope you love this as much as I did. It is episode number 540 sponsored by RankIQ. 

Sponsor  02:25

Hello, their food blogger friends, I want to take a really quick break from this episode to chat about a few ways Eat Blog Talk can help you to feel connected as well as to get your hands on relevant, valuable information in 2024. It has been a bit of a tumultuous year so far do you agree? But you have come too far to stop now. This time is a minor blip in the journey. So buckle up and let’s do this journey together and come out on the other side stronger than ever. Eat Blog Talk now has a Facebook group. Go join the BlogTalk community Facebook group to get in on some great discussions. Once you’re inside, you will gain access to a free job postings shared document whether you’re offering a service or looking for a service. There’s also the new-ish accountability group that you BlogTalk offers. This group is a low investment membership for anyone looking to connect with peers and grow your business. This is for newer bloggers, intermediate bloggers and experienced bloggers we offer robust calls in Slack discussions and so much more in this group for the low cost of $34 a month. The Eat Blog Talk Mini Minds and mastermind groups are still being offered in 2024 and beyond. Mini minds groups start up again in October and we will start filling the 2025 mastermind group in late summer of 24. Join the waitlist for one of these groups and you will not be disappointed. And last but not least join us at an in person retreat. If you are ready to learn, grow and build relationships in person. Join me and a handful of your fellow food bloggers and an upcoming Eat Blog Talk retreat. This is such a great opportunity to convene in an intimate setting. So you can learn collaborate and connect. These retreats involve mastermind style peer to peer collaborating, and they’re incredibly powerful, delicious, so much good food and fun. For all the offerings mentioned head to eatblogtalk.com and you will be directed in the appropriate way. We are more than just a podcast go explore some of these other offerings as your time and budget allows can’t wait to see you in some of those other places. Now back to the episode.

Megan Porta  04:39

Dyutima is an architect-turned commercial and editorial food photographer and podcaster based in Singapore. She is the first South Asian woman to host a food photography podcast, My Food Lens. After 15 years as an architect, designing healthcare facilities around the world, she found her passion in food styling and photography. Today, she has a successful business working with clients around the world and teaching other photographers how to do so as well. Her work has been featured in a range of food & photography magazines like Thrive magazine, Whalebone magazine etc. and she has worked with several prestigious clients like The Intercontinental Hotel Singapore, McCormick etc.

Megan Porta  05:21

Dyutima, welcome to Eat BlogTalk. It’s such a pleasure to have you here. How are you today?

Dyutima Jha  05:26

Thank you so much for having me. Megan. The pleasure is all mine. I’m super excited starting my day and super happy to be starting this way.

Megan Porta  05:34

Yes, well, we’re across the world from each other, I’m ending my day, you’re starting your day. So we both mentioned before recording that we’re both, you know, like, just you’re getting into it, I’m getting out of it. So have grace if we stumble a little bit, this is going to be an amazing chat. We’re going to talk today about that power of storytelling, we all are not only food bloggers, but we’re food photographers. So telling stories through our food photos is a super important piece of that. And you’re going to give us all of your expertise on that Dyutima. And then also we’re going to talk about food photography mistakes that might be hurting your blog and your page views. So we’ll get on into all of that juicy stuff. But first, I think it would be really valuable. If you shared a little bit about My Food Lens, just like when you started, what it is, tell us any information you would like to. 

Dyutima Jha  06:29

Thanks Megan. Sure. So my food lens is actually a photography company. I’m commercial and editorial food photographer, and I’m based in Singapore. And I also host a podcast called my food lens, which is all about food photography and business. I started about five years ago, and my transition has been kind of fun, crazy wild, because I used to be an architect. And I just decided to start a food photography business because there was something in my gut that said, go for it. I’d actually taken a break from my architecture job. And I was cooking a lot because I loved cooking a lot at that time. And that led me to Instagram and Instagram, let me do a job offer. Somebody wanted to pay me for a photo. And those photos were not even nice. So I was like, what, what is this? You know, what is this a sign? I was looking for a sign and I was like, maybe this is something? What if I give it a chance. And so I just at the drop of a hat decided to start a food photography business and see where it leads me. I gave myself a year’s time to gauge whether it had potential or not. It’s been five years there’s been no looking back. It’s been a wild ride. I’m still here. So yeah, I say it’s gone pretty well. 

Megan Porta  07:47

Yeah. And then when did you start your podcast?

Dyutima Jha  07:50

The podcast started two years ago. Yeah. And it’s been a wild ride as well. It was a morning of me looking outside, early morning outside my window. At the sunrise. My husband walked into the room and he said, What are you thinking? I said, I think I’m going to start a podcast. He said why? I said because I think I need to. He said why? He said, You know photography is visual, right? I said yes. He said, You know what podcast is an audio thing. I said, Yes. He said, So how are you going to do it? I said, I don’t know. He said, When are you going to do it? I said I don’t know. And he said great. Sounds like a plan. So it’s been two years we’ve been podcasting. It’s a weekly podcast. It’s all about photography technique. It’s a lot lot lot about business. But it’s so much embedded in mindset, which is a huge part of our creative world. 

Megan Porta  08:39

I love your story. I love that you never looked back. Once you made that decision to go from architect to photography, business. And yeah, it is a wild ride being an entrepreneur, isn’t it, it’s like something that you would never replace. But when you look back over time, it’s like up and down and all over the place. And so much fun. And I just really appreciate you sharing that all with us. And then talking about like, the fact that I’m on the end of my day and you’re on the beginning of yours, I forgot to ask you for your fun fat. So we framed it now let’s just go back there really quick. Do you have a fun fact to share? 

Dyutima Jha  09:14

My fun fact is actually quite related to this. And that is that I actually switch to food photography after 15 years of being in architecture. So it was a switch and it wasn’t just like I didn’t like something I was there for more than a decade. And when I did decide to start a food photography business, I had no idea how to use a camera. I had never used a DSLR camera in my life. I had no idea how to take a professional photo and yet I decided, okay, that’s my stable career. I’m going to move on and jump into completely unchartered waters. So that’s something fun.

Megan Porta  09:54

That is fun and so relevant. I think it’s so brave that you did that. Just following your gut and having this idea that you just believed in and following it and doing it despite yeah, I’m so impressed with your bravery. I think a lot of people would have shoved that doubt or made excuses or thought, you know, it’s, it’s not worth the trouble. I don’t, I’m not gonna go there, that sort of thing. So nice work. And I’m really glad that you push through. Okay, let’s talk about storytelling. Because as you know, food bloggers take a lot of food photography, oh, my goodness, the camera, the photos that we have stored in our cameras and on our computers are extensive, so many photographs. And you believe Dyutima that that storytelling piece is really important when we are taking the food photos and we’re not just quickly snapping quick pictures of the food. So do you want to talk through what storytelling even is. How would you define that?

Dyutima Jha  10:55

I love it. Storytelling is so deeply embedded in any creatives life, like any artwork is storytelling, you know, you look at songs, music, poems, everything is storytelling. So before I get into what it is for food photography, I just want us to kind of step back, and I love to explain storytelling in this way. And that is, you know, imagine storytelling in a movie. Imagine storytelling in a traditional sense. So if we just go back to that storytelling is actually what it’s like, you know, you you’re narrating a sequence of events, and you’re narrating it in a very like flowing style in a way that the person who’s listening who’s viewing, it activates their imagination. And the thing is that when they are listening, when they are reading when they are watching, they’re interpreting it in their own way, you know, it’s based on their own experiences based on their own knowledge. And whatever is the completed story is actually very unique to them. So the thing about storytelling is that the listener, or the viewer is very, very important, is as important as the storyteller unit. That is, I think, something that we just kind of have to keep in mind as we go through this conversation today. That is definitely the way I look at storytelling that I’m always keeping my viewer in mind. Now let’s translate this into food photography, what would storytelling look like if we had to convert this traditional concept into our world? What it means is that, you know, we are communicating powerful, beautiful photos that stimulate our viewers’ imagination. So we are communicating our vision, we are communicating our emotion, but what we want is that the viewer should feel really transported into the frame, it should make them feel like they are part of the story. So that is the intention. And because food, you know, we’re talking about food here, I think some of the ways that we really can bring people into the frame and transport them is number one, by making them drool so create a droolworthy photo that looks very, very tasty, or create a magnificent photo that makes the jaw drop. So that is another way to kind of, you know, grip them. The other way is to inspire them create a photo that inspires them to go into the kitchen and cook or create a photo that actually straps a little piece of their heart, where they can literally imagine how it would be to serve that dish to the loved ones at a dinner party at an occasion. So there are different ways that we can transport a viewer just by communicating our own vision or emotion. But the idea the underlying idea of storytelling and food photography is that we have to activate the viewers imagination so that they can create their own version of your story.

Megan Porta  13:53

That was so well said I can tell that you just are so good with the words oh my gosh, I wrote all of these amazing descriptors down emotion, vision, activate imagination, droolworthy, magnificent, inspire. And I think that’s all those are all things that we want to induce in our user so that they click over, not just give us you know, the clicks, but also are drawn into our content. Maybe they connect more easily with us as content creators. What are some other reasons why we should even care about this? Why we should focus on storytelling and our food photos. 

Dyutima Jha  14:28

Because at the end of the day, like bloggers, photographers, we are all creative people. We are artists and you know, I believe that every creative work in every artwork has a story, you just need to tell it. So imagine that, you know, okay, let’s take an example. So let’s say you walk into an art gallery, and you’re seeing a painting and it’s beautiful. It’s great. You move on, but then you stop at a painting that’s made you think you’re looking at it and you can kind of feel like there’s a story the artist is trying to tell you something, you’re drawn into it. Not every painting is like that. But there are paintings that would make you feel like that. And immediately when you stop, when you’re into that unit into your world of imagination, you’re connecting the dots, suddenly, the painting becomes even more meaningful to you, it’s memorable to you, you kind of value it a little bit more, when you walk out of the gallery, you remember it, that’s what we want, we want to be memorable, we want you know, that connection, like you said, so the best and the most effective way I feel to create that connection with the viewer is through storytelling, because, you know, we don’t just want them to come back for one recipe, you to take a look at our recipe and go back, we want them to be there for who we are, what we do, and how we do it. Food bloggers put in so much time and effort, we want it to bring those returns, right. So when storytelling is done, right, it can be you know, emotional, it can be visually stimulating, it can be inspiring, it can be immersive, and it can create a connection at such a deep level, that it creates a bond between the viewer and the blogger. And without anybody doing the work, you end up putting in the effort, you’re really creating the recipe, you’re testing it, you’re taking the photo, you’re creating a blog post, you’re writing it. So if you just put in this underlying idea of conveying that story, you know, that sequence of events, taking the viewer on the journey, you can actually double the impact of your photos and have bigger results just by bringing in that small element into the work that you’re already doing. So I feel like it’s really important as part of any creative work. 

Megan Porta  16:39

I feel like there’s so much creative opportunity there for us. Because as you’re talking through that, I was thinking, well, we write out stories, too. But that doesn’t lend for as much creativity when people are reading it, right? Like you’re telling a story. And you’re kind of telling people how to interpret what you’re saying. But with visuals, I love that you use the art galleries visual because I am an art major. I was an art major in college, I like interpreted all of like literally every piece of art ever in existence. And that activated my imagination. And like you said, you go in and you’re like, Oh, I kind of sense that there’s something going on here like the artists was trying to convey something now what is it and then you dig deeper, and you just, you feel more involved in the process of creating whatever it is that the artist is was trying to create, right? And as opposed to just reading words on paper. So I feel like that visual story is so much more powerful. Does that make sense?

Dyutima Jha  17:42

Absolutely, Megan. I mean, there’s a reason they say that a picture is worth 1000 words. So you can write 1000 words, but there’s no guarantee somebody would look at it. But if you put one visual that can communicate it, there’s a higher chance for somebody to want to read your 1000 words, you know, so I truly believe that visuals are so powerful. And that storytelling element is it can really hit hit the spot for a viewer.

Megan Porta  18:10

Yeah, I love that so much. So how do we do this? How do we put together a one single visual image taken by our camera that tells a story? 

Dyutima Jha  18:20

Well, it’s usually so storytelling is hard to be done in one single image if you’re creating it for a recipe, however, there are different aspects that you can incorporate and, and for bloggers, there are different steps that they can think about. During the recipe creation, there are different steps. And they can think about what kind of story they can tell at each step to be able to make that connection. I personally feel that one photo to make an impression should be a first photo. And that should be a really powerful, beautiful photo that induces some kind of an emotion. But if you are really trying to create a story on your blog post on your recipe page, then you have to create that sequence of events that we talked about in our traditional story. So you have to take the viewer on a journey, and it has to take them from one to the other step. kind of intriguing them making them want to explore more. So if you really want to know what would be a good opening image, I always feel that a good opening image is showcasing the richness of the ingredients that you’re using, because that immediately puts your recipe into context. So let’s say that you’re creating something like a chocolate cake or you are creating like wild garlic soup, let’s say wild garlic soup. For the chocolate cake you can literally have cubes of frozen butter which are kept on the kitchen counter and you can have some condensation on it and take a close up shot of it. And suddenly the viewer is like oh my god that butter it looks beautiful but also I want to see what they did with it. Or at similarly if you have something like a wild garlic soup and you’re growing wild garlic in your garden, go to garden, snap a shot of you picking out the wild garlic from your garden and take the photo of that wild garlic in the mud in that context. So immediately the viewer is drawn. Number one, it’s something different. They’ve never seen this before. And secondly, they’re thinking, wow, it’s earthy, they connected to it, maybe it’s something that they can relate to. And they immediately want to know that Oh, wow, what did she do with that? Or what did he do with that? So if you’re just talking about an opening snapshot that tells a story and intrigues, the viewer, I would say, showcasing the richness of the ingredients would be a great place to start.

Megan Porta  20:38

So interesting. Okay, so you’re saying not just focusing on the single photograph, but using your post as a way to showcase the story through visual images? 

Dyutima Jha  20:49

Oh, 100%, I feel like actually, so here’s here are two rules, my two rules of storytelling and food photography. Number one is that the listener is the boss or the viewer is the king. And you can never ever, you know, have only your idea put into it, you have to also see how they would interpret it or how you want them to interpret it. So you have to create the storyline in that way. That’s number one. The second rule is that you don’t ever give out too much. You see, even when you’re watching a play on in a theater, or you’re watching a movie, you don’t every scene is not a step by step by step, you kind of connect the dots as you go. So don’t give out too much. Don’t just put out your best shot and just don’t just do one shot. And that’s it. You know, there are so many opportunities, like you said, you could showcase the richness of ingredients. The second is process, your chopping, cutting, washing the so many things you’re doing. And that is a real place where people start connecting emotionally. So pick something that has a high emotion pick a step that has high emotional value, or a very unique step in the process. For example, a high emotional value scene would be something like, if you’re boiling pasta, you know that steam of boiling pasta or your drying pasture. Now those photos we see quite often on social media, and they do really well. And that is because they have very high emotional value. The other thing during the process that you can think about is showcasing something very unique about your food. Let’s say you have a purple sweet potato mash, you’re mashing the potatoes, so shoot case the color, immediately the interest is drawn. So that is part of the story as well. The other step is cooking. So once you have done your process you’re into cooking, don’t show the finished product so quickly show the half cooked food show the half cook curry with the veggies kind of draw your hand in the frame with a spatula, maybe the fire upon the stove or something that gives them the viewer the anticipation. So you’re taking them through the sequence right from the ingredients to the process to the cooking, then you come to the finished product, you show the Molalla you know, this is what it’s going to turn out to be like this is what you’re going to get in the end. So right from picking that wild garlic from your garden, he has that beautiful vibrant soup that you’re going to, you know, put on the table. 

Dyutima Jha  23:12

And I actually have a secret weapon, I feel like one of the most powerful ways of storytelling is to finish it, you, you give that finishing touch. And for me that finishing touch is transporting the viewer into a scene on how they can eat that food, how they will devour it. So for example, if it is wild garlic soup, then maybe it’s a rustic table with their family candlelight, some pieces of sourdough, and making that effort to create that large storytelling where they can really feel transported. And again, it triggers that emotion of how they would serve that food or that ambition to serve that food for their loved one. So that is really a secret weapon. If you have the time and you have the you know, resources, then do go ahead and create that visual treat. That ends the story on a high note for your viewer. The other thing, Megan that we have been talking about is mostly photography, but I feel like videos are so powerful as a starting point. I know you asked me this question before and and I feel like having a short video as a starting to your recipe blog post can also be extremely gripping, just a GIF, you know something that you can even take on your phone, just a GIF of you pulling out that wild garlic from the garden. And having that as a starting point of your blog post its movement and movement has a different kind of an impact on a viewer. So tap into the power of videos, gifs very, very short videos and play around with stills and movement to create that storytelling and take that viewer on that journey. You know so there are so many so many opportunities in that recipe post because food is so powerful by itself in emotions.

Megan Porta  24:59

Oh gosh. You’re so right. And I feel like we’re also focused right now on the writing piece of it because of changes with Google and SEO strategies and how we should write how we shouldn’t write blah, blah, blah. So that is a main focus right now. But I just love this opportunity to tell a story. Additionally, not just through the words, but through your photos and images, videos too love that you mentioned videos. And as you’re talking, I was imagining a poem. I don’t even I’m not even looking at anything right now. But just your words were so compelling. I was thinking through just creating that intrigue, setting the stage for the story, you’re about to tell visually, starting a story with maybe an image that really draws people in. And then yeah, just continuing to create that intrigue to pull people through as you’re making the recipe or telling the story about, you know, the ingredients, the process, etc. So I think this could be a really powerful way to add complexity to our posts right now. Because like I said, we’re really focused on the words at the current moment.

Dyutima Jha  26:14

And I think complexity but also a bit of relief. 

Megan Porta  26:17

Relief. Yes, yes, 

Dyutima Jha  26:19

Yes. Just in the design of your page, just in the sense of, you know, giving someone a little bit of relief from those words to visual and giving a bit of relief from the visuals into the words so that segue is also a large part of taking them through that journey. 

Megan Porta  26:35

Ah, so well said. 

Sponsor  26:36

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Megan Porta  28:07

I was also thinking about a lot of my posts. So this is something that I’ve done wrong a lot. I have not told stories I’ve just gotten in the habit of taking hero shots putting them in maybe they look a little bit different, but they kind of look the same. Putting like four four of the same-ish hero shots in the same post. That is not story storytelling, would you consider that a huge mistake of mine?

Dyutima Jha  28:34

Not just yours, I just say I didn’t say no, but I completely agree with you that you know, you put the same version of the same photo, people see two, and they feel like they’ve seen everything yeah, they don’t want to look any further. So that’s just one actually, I feel like that’s just one miss in the opportunity of tapping into storytelling. That’s one miss of, you know, putting one shot or one or five versions of the same shot, where you’re just completely losing onto opportunity. There are other there are definitely other misses that we can have. And I think the number one miss that I see is the disconnect. So basically, you know storytelling is all about being cohesive, you are taking the viewer on the journey, they are connecting the dots. But if your dots are not connecting properly, they are not going to be able to do it. And what I mean by that is, let’s say that you’re creating a rustic soup. Don’t go ahead and use props and settings which are very lush, fancy. Don’t use kind of colors that don’t connect back to that rustic nests of the food. So connect your mood, connect your props, connect your photo in every single aspect to the hero to the subject. So that disconnect the moment the viewer sees that disconnect. They have lost the faith or they have lost that connection that they without having to your food. So that could be another miss. That makes sure that if you’re rustic, then your photo is rustic. If you’re creating something lush, then your photo looks lush. The other ones could be, you know, too long, like you said, Megan, like you’re putting in too many words. But also, you know, photographers are passionate, or maybe you’ve put in a lot of work in taking photos, and you’re putting all your life’s work into that one post, you’re putting 20 photos so that the viewer can just enjoy it’s like a photo album of you know, everything that you’ve done in that recipe. Not okay. Lost the interest too long is also a problem. The other one is too short. So what if you’re not telling the complete story, you have something so important, you’ve you’ve said something so compelling in a such a compelling way in the beginning, but you’ve not finished it. So you know, and that is partly tying into what you said Megan, of putting one photo in five different ways, that’s just too short, you have not given them the dots to connect. 

Dyutima Jha  31:01

And the last one, I would say is a big mistake. And a big one big misconception about storytelling. And that is that a lot of us feel that storytelling, photos mean, large compositions, it means so much time, it means lots of props. But that is not true. Storytelling is about putting one piece of a wild garlic stem on a table with some mud on it and a rustic wood and telling the story that you have just pulled it out of your garden. So storytelling is not about large compositions. So don’t make it that the let’s be efficient, you know, and with staying efficient, we can make a larger impact. So that is a misconception that we don’t need too much time to be able to bring in storytelling into our photos. 

Megan Porta  31:48

So many things you touched on there. Almost all of them I’ve done wrong at some point. I have enough posts that I can say yes, yes, yes to most. The one I thought that was most interesting was the disconnect, and how how the viewer can see disconnection within a scene or within a post even. It’s like if you’re watching a movie, and something just doesn’t align with kind of the vibe of the movie. And you’re like, Wait a second. Something is weird here. And you just Yeah. And I want to turn it off. It’s that same thing, right?

Dyutima Jha  32:20

Absolutely. It’s like a college student wearing Gucci to school, you know? So you don’t want to show that that’s not that’s just absolutely like, Oh, totally disconnected. 

Megan Porta  32:32

Yeah. So when you’re preparing to tell a story about a recipe, you’re not a food blogger. But if you were a food blogger, and you were putting a post together in this way, would you think all of this through ahead of time? Would you map it out? Would you write like storyboards? Or would you just use your intuition? And dive in that way?

Dyutima Jha  32:52

For sure not use my intuition and wing it. Not at all. And that is because I feel like you know, whether it’s food photographers or food bloggers, we have so much to think about when we have to put out that one post right from creating the recipe to cooking the food, buying the ingredients, testing it, taking the photo, creating the blog post, there are so many steps that are involved. And this is just the bigger picture. But if you just look at photography, and even if I have to buy food, and have ready made food in front of me to be able to shoot it, I would not wing it at all. I have a proper system. And I have like a storyboard, I have steps that are things that I must must decide before the photo shoot, so that when I’m doing the photo shoot, all my energy is going into making it better, more creative, and I’m not taking decisions at that time and losing on to all my creative energy. I feel like prepping ahead, planning ahead. And knowing exactly where you’re going to start your photoshoot is so critical to be able to actually create a good product. 

Megan Porta  34:04

Yeah, and making sure that everything is connected. So that means food props vibe seen. Every component is pieced together well.

Dyutima Jha  34:13

100%, I’ve actually created a document it’s called the 10 step photo shoot where I take photographers and bloggers through the 10 steps that they must have in place before they even get in front of the camera what they do before what they do during and what they do after. I am a huge planner. And that is because I know how it feels when you spend so much time cooking something you put it in front of the camera and you are tired. When you’re tired. You’re not going to be creative. When you’re tired. You’re not going to want to do your best when you’re tired. You get two hoots about storytelling, right so right. So that tiredness is just so such a such a big part of how much work we have on our plate and so planning is key.

Megan Porta  34:59

I like that work. and people that can people find that do tima? Is that something that you share with people? 

Dyutima Jha  35:04

Yeah, it’s a free resource. So they’re more than welcome to download it. I’ll send you the link. Yeah.

Megan Porta  35:09

Amazing. Yeah, I think a lot of people would be interested in that. Especially since you’re making such a great case for thinking through things ahead of time. I’ve never done this, I had a videographer come to my house for a couple of years, a couple of years ago, pretty consistently. And one of the things that she did that was amazing, was she would put these storyboards together for her videos. And I remember thinking, Who in the world plans that much ahead before they do things, but I was so impressed by it. And it really helped her stay on track. And like you said, it just helped her to connect all the pieces. We have the same vibe going on, we knew which props to grab that sort of thing. But my mind was blown by that the fact that somebody would think through that, but it’s incredible. 

Dyutima Jha  35:58

It’s a powerful practice, it takes time, upfront, you need to spend, you know, maybe 30 minutes, 40 minutes upfront. But if you’re willing to spend that time, it’s going to save you hours the next day when you’re at your photo shoot.

Megan Porta  36:10

Yeah, totally. All right. Anything else you want to mention about storytelling, why it’s important for food bloggers, I do want to ask you about some food photography mistakes, but I want to make sure we’ve touched everything that you want to in the realm of storytelling for food photography.

Dyutima Jha  36:26

I think the only one thing that I would like to add is that, you know, I feel like this is something I struggled with. And that is just understanding what is storytelling, you know, because storytelling is very subjective. It’s a very broad term. And I feel like it’s really hard for a person who is scientific, logical for their brains to kind of process this very open ended. So I struggled a lot. When I would take photos, I would be like, I don’t even know if I’m telling a story. I can’t if someone asked me, What’s your story, I could never express it, there was no way that I could put it into words and tell somebody, here’s my story, it is really hard. And I feel like someone who’s not into that habit, it will be difficult in the beginning. So I just want to leave a little fun thing about storytelling, something that helped me a lot. And hopefully, anyone who’s struggling, will be able to kind of relate to this kind of model that I created for myself to be able to wrap my head around it. And that is, you know, we talked about movies, novels, we talked about everyone likes to watch TV or read a book. So if you’re ever stuck with storytelling, think of your favorite movie, think of your favorite novel, think of what are the things that go into a novel or movie. So you have a plot, which might be a storyline, you have a hero, you have supporting characters, you have a scene where the movie is set, you have a genre for the movie, right? So now think of your recipe as the movie or think of your recipe as the book, The plot is actually your recipe. So your journey, the journey you’re going to give is the plot that you need to unravel through your photos. Alright, then there is a hero, which is your main subject that are supporting actors. So those would be your ingredients, your garnishes. And then there is a theme. So the theme could be a dinner table, it could be Christmas, it could be an occasion that you’re for the you know, creating the recipe for and then there’s the genre. So in movies, we would say comedy thrill. But in storytelling, we would say baking, grill, you know, all those kinds of things. So I feel like just unraveling your entire recipe as a movie. Think of it as people plot theme occasion. Take those elements, weave them into a visual, and just unravel your recipe so that the viewer can connect your dots. If this is something that can help you understand and wrap your head around the idea of storytelling. Well, then it definitely helped me so I just wanted to share this.

Megan Porta  38:55

Yeah, that’s so helpful. Instead of just having your main character like turn a quarter inch, take another picture, turn the other way, a quarter inch take another it’s like the same hero shot taking over and over, involving that whole movie concept is so cool. And I can see where people would, you know, think through it in advance and create just this beautiful movie and a well developed scene that people want to look through and and experience, right?

Dyutima Jha  39:28


Megan Porta  39:29

Yeah. That’s so cool. Okay, so let’s talk about food photography mistakes. I’ve mentioned a few of mine that I’ve made. Do you feel like there are things that you see on a page when you’re looking at, let’s say, a blog post for you know, I don’t know. What have you mentioned soup, you said garlic soup. That makes people just click away and they see the photos and maybe they’re just done? What are some of those things?

Dyutima Jha  39:57

Yeah, definitely. I think We have all been there, we’ve all been that viewer who clicks away and bounces off. You know, and I think the number one reason is the first impression. So making an impactful first impression is highly important. If we have not gripped someone, if we have not hooked someone with either something very powerful to say, or something very powerful to see, then we have lost that opportunity. So when I say that we have not made an impactful first impression visually, I would say that your photo is maybe technically weak, or you don’t have enough of a storytelling to have connected to them emotionally. And so that’s a gap and they’ve gone, and they’ve bounced off. And they’re like, oh, no, you know, let me just see if someone else has this recipe, where else can I find it? They don’t want to read any more. So the first impression is definitely one reason why they would bounce off. But when we would you like me to like kind of talk about from a photography point of view, what are some things that make people kind of bounce off and not stay on the page? 

Megan Porta  41:04

Sure. So like a single photograph, if you see a photograph and just makes you kind of turn away from that, yes,

Dyutima Jha  41:09

single photograph, but also the mistakes in the photograph. You’re also you can definitely most definitely have 10, amazing 10 photos of you know, which you think are great, which tell the story of your recipe, you might think that oh, I’ve put in the step by step kind of photos in my blog post. But my blog post is not doing well. Well, maybe because your photos are not doing justice to your recipe, you could have the most magnificent recipe in the world. But if your photo is not delivering the richness of it, then that’s a lost opportunity. No one wants to see that. So I think the number one thing that you would want to correct or kind of take note in your photography is lighting. I feel like a lot of food bloggers work in a rush. And so for them, the main idea is how can I get this recipe out. And it’s you know, it’s such a great recipe, they’ve spent all the time writing, like you said, they’ve spent all the time creating the blog post. And so when it comes to photography, it’s kind of like a quick thing. So they might use lighting, which is in the kitchen lighting in the dining room, they’ve not really paid much attention to it. And you know, or even considered whether there is enough light work, how are they showcasing the food. And so when you’re not using the right light, or you’re not using light powerfully, you’ve lost the opportunity to convey texture and the deliciousness of your food. So your recipe might be great, but you have not made the viewer drool. And so they’re like, oh, that doesn’t look very tasty, I’m just gonna go and find the next recipe. So that could be something you know that all photographers say that lighting would be key. The other one is camera angle, whatever, you have taken all these photos, and you’ve shown your food, but you’ve not tapped into the most photogenic side of your foot. So if you’re creating a soup, a soup, and how and the angle at which it looks, the best is very different from the angle at which a cake would look its best. So are you just like, I don’t have much time, I’m just going to take a photo of top down, or I’m just gonna, you know, shoot like this. And that’s how I take all my food photos, and I’m just going to put them up. But the thing is, you’ve not really considered that your food might not be looking its best in that particular camera angle. Maybe it saved you time, maybe it was convenient, but it’s not conveyed the utmost physical appealing form of your food to the viewer and off bounce. They’re like, that doesn’t look great. I’m gonna go off. Alright, so that could be another reason. 

Dyutima Jha  41:10

The other one is storytelling, for sure that we talked about that you are not conveying the story, you’re not giving them enough, or you’re giving them too much, or you’re not tying it, it’s not cohesive, that underlying thought is just missing. So they are just not buying into this recipe that like it just looks disjointed. Or I don’t know, you know, where is this? It looks a bit random or, okay, you know, they see a parallel recipe on another parallel bloggers. website. And they’re like, oh, wow, yes, that’s the one oh, I have that table as well. Maybe I can serve it like this. Maybe I can do that. And immediately they can draw that connection. So storytelling is another part that you might be missing in your photography. And the last one which is quite your I feel like which is something that is highly highly overlooked is colors. What is your brand color? What is your photography color? What is your food color? How are you cohesively tying them all into your posts? Or, you know, when someone comes onto your page, how do they feel about colors so a lot of bloggers actually have a very distinct style of photography which actually ties into their branding, their personal philosophies or you know, the way that they just generally see art. One of the ways that I feel like viewers don’t connect to the colors on your page is when your colors begin to look fake. And that is a point of disconnect as well. So our editing is as important as our photo taking. So sometimes we tend to over saturate green color. You know, I’ve seen that, especially in soups and salads, that the green just does not look real, that can kill it, that can really kill it for a viewer, because you might have made all the effort in creating all these photos and your recipe. But when your colors are not right, it immediately stands out as not authentic to the viewer. And they are not buying into what you are trying to tell them. It just makes them here pull back a little bit and off they go. So I feel like color is another thing that’s a bit overlooked you know, in this.

Megan Porta  45:55

I absolutely love everything you said, the color thing, I can relate to that seeing a photograph of some sort of food that just has like too bright of colors, or maybe it’s like to contrasty?

Dyutima Jha  46:11


Megan Porta  46:12

You know, like the whites are way too light. And the darks are way too dark. And you know, it’s not natural, you know, it was really edited. Yes, that is kind of a turnoff for me. 

Dyutima Jha  46:23

Correct. And I feel like especially like as a photographer, maybe that’s my artistic style. But as a blogger, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m not creating artwork, I’m creating something that is very relatable. And we are drawing that connection. So this is a point of disconnect. When you say that, you know, doesn’t look natural, the person feels that they can’t create it. This is not what they can achieve. This is not what they can do. So maybe this is not for them.

Megan Porta  46:51

Yeah, I have a question for you about kind of ugly food that brown like maybe a brown casserole that’s just looks like a lump on a plate. And it’s really hard to tell a story about something that just kind of looks unappealing? Do you have any recommendations for how to tell a better story with food that isn’t naturally appealing?

Dyutima Jha  47:14

Uh, for sure that are at the top of my head, I can at least come up with three different ways of you know, making brown food look beautiful. Number one would be to really go up and close. Because the thing about brown food is that it’s usually very tasty. If you think of any brown food, you know, like a casserole. It’s really tasty. 

Megan Porta  47:35


Dyutima Jha  47:37

Exactly. So when you go up and close, and maybe you can show the layers, you can show that the crust or the color of the crust, or nice macro shot, using some good lighting can be a very powerful way to showcase ugly food. Because when does it look ugly, when you’re seeing it in totality when you’re seeing the full thing and you’re like, ah, it just looks lackluster. But when you’re really going up and close and you have those beautiful highlights falling on it, it can look classy, it can look shiny, it can show you a lot of the texture and the food. And that could be one way of going up close and doing a macro shot. The other way that you can make something look very appealing is using the secret weapon that I talked about. And that is creating a large composition. Ugly food is ugly, because you’re looking at that from that perspective. You put a casserole on a table, you put a glass of wine next to it, you have a hand coming in that is slicing, you know a bit of that casserole, you have a plate on which one slice is already served. Immediately. The focus is not on the ugliness of the food, the focus is on the experience of the food. And we all know that food, you know, brown food especially is so tasty that the viewer is not even paying attention to how it what it looks like it did just thinking that wow, I wish I could make this I wish I can serve this oh my god that must be so delicious. There’s a family sitting you know, there’s all these emotions that are being triggered and evoked by that image. So that would be the second one that creates a larger composition tell the story about the experience of having the food rather than focusing on the ugliness of the food. And the third one that I would say is tap into the power of color. So a brown casserole or brown food can immediately pop with the power of a beautiful garnish. Think of edible flowers, think of green herbs. Think of maybe even just browning the crust or getting a bit of cheese for the texture, just something on top. What that does is it immediately creates a contrast between your brown and especially brown with green. I feel like that’s a color we see nature. It is such a powerful combination for somebody to connect to emotionally so if you’re ever stuck with brown food, I do that a lot for my clients. I have ugly brown food that I have to photograph for food packaging, so you can imagine how tough my job is. And we have, we can’t create large compositions, we have to go very up close, because we have to show exactly what the food looks like. And my go to is a beautiful green garnish. And the moment you hit it with light, and you make sure that your editing is right with color, the brown and the green looks beautiful. So yeah, those would be three. 

Megan Porta  50:21

Oh, I love those suggestions. And these were not in our notes. So you came up with that off the top of your head. Amazing. My favorite of those was just using storytelling as kind of a way to distract from the fact that it might not be appealing visually. And focusing on the story, the scene, the fact that there’s a hand reaching in and maybe breaking a loaf of bread open or something like that. That’s what’s appealing. So yeah, something I’ve really never thought through. But I love that suggestion. And if

Dyutima Jha  50:53

I may make an I would say not distract. But that is what I would feel about food, you know that? What is the power of your food? So when we’re talking about the movie and the hero, what is the power that we are tapping into? Is it the visual appeal? Or is it the taste and the flavor, when it is the taste and the flavor? That is the main focus of the food? That is the point where I would create a composition or a photo that highlights the experience of eating that food. So it wouldn’t be a distraction. I would say that maybe it’s the power or the strength of that food that I would like to highlight in my photo. 

Megan Porta  51:30

So knowing what to highlight, exact not distracting from absolutely right. Okay. Love it. Is there anything else along any of the topics that we’ve discussed you Dyutima that you would want to cover before we start saying goodbye? Whether it’s a food photography, game, steak or something about storytelling? 

Dyutima Jha  51:47

I think we’ve covered a lot I think I’m sure everyone’s ears are buzzing.

Megan Porta  51:52

Yes, I just looked at my clock and I can’t believe 47 minutes have passed since we started. This was so fast and so fun. Thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing so much value.

Dyutima Jha  52:03

Absolutely. What a pleasure. I love talking about this. So thank you for having me. 

Megan Porta  52:07

Yes, you can tell it’s definitely a passion of yours, which makes it even more exciting. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today? Do you

Dyutima Jha  52:17

have most definitely it’s not earth shattering though. It’s quite a but I find that it is very helpful, especially for us creatives. It’s a quote. I don’t know who said it first. I heard it from Jamie Kern Lima. She’s the founder of IT Cosmetics, and she’s one of the world’s first billionaires. And I love it ever since I’ve heard it. It’s kind of embedded in my heart. It says, “Rejection is God’s protection”. For me, these words just give me so much strength whenever I’m in a situation that doesn’t work out. Which in the creative world is so so so common. And I always feel that if something’s not working out it’s because the universe is kind of protecting me. And whenever there is a no that is a client who saying no a project that doesn’t come through a situation that doesn’t turn out the way I want. I just always remember that rejection is God’s protection.

Megan Porta  53:12

Not earth shattering but so powerful. How often do we look back and say thank goodness that didn’t work out because dot dot dot right? Absolutely. I love that. Well, we will put together show notes for you Dyutima. And if you want to go look at those you can head to eat blog talk.com forward slash my food lens. Tell everyone where they can find you talk about your podcast and anything else you want to mention right now.

Dyutima Jha  53:37

For sure you can come hang out with me on Instagram where I present a lot. I’m at dyutima_myfoodlens. You can also go check out all our free resources, our blog posts or podcasts on our website, My Food Lens. Of course, our podcast is also called My Food Lens and you can tune in on all major platforms. If food photography, business or creative talks are your jam then definitely tune in. I also have two free resources. I think one of them is what Megan mentioned, the 10 step photo shoots so I’ll make sure that they have the links in the show notes. The other one is called the five steps to storytelling. It’s five steps that can take you to create powerful visual stories for any food that you have on your table. So come check us out at My Food Lens.

Megan Porta  54:31

Everyone go check out Dyutima’s beautiful food photography, photography, her amazing podcast, all of her offerings. So happy to have you here and thank you for offering those great valuable resources as well. And yeah, thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro  54:50

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.

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