“Photography is more than an art to me. It transcends passion in an almost magical way.”
So says Jacquie Mwai, one of Kenya’s top food photographers and Capital Lifestyle’s Instagrammer of the Week.
For Mwai, who has a degree in International Relations, with a concentration on Conflict Resolution and Humanitarian Studies, photography began as a hobby but has now graduated to a profession.
Mwai who is usually more of a reserved person finds herself becoming more daring when behind the lens. Photography brings moments and objects to life; awakening emotions, feelings and interactions artfully frozen in time. That is what inspires Mwai and her work.
On Mwai’s Instagram feed, it’s common to see incredibly beautiful details and vibrant colours of food. From beautifully aligned wooden spoons vibrant fruit stalls to stylized plates – Mwai makes you salivate.
Capital Lifestyle hooked-up with her to find out how photography and Instagram have impacted her journey in Mobile Photography.
What cameras do you enjoy shooting with and what do you like most about them?
I shoot with a Nikon D750, with my favorite lens Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. The Nikon D750 is a beautiful full-frame camera. It offers fantastic AF performance and image quality. I just love the way it focuses and shoots in any light, especially in low light. Pictures taken at ISO 12,800 look almost identical to ISO 100.
Where do you shoot most of your photos and what sort of photos do you like to take best?
The photos I like to take best are food photos. Food photography is without a doubt my favorite genre. I shoot mostly at restaurants, hotels, food markets and events. Sometimes I do my own personal food shoots at home, next to diffused window light.
What are your top tips for taking captivating Instagram photos?
Always consider find good lighting before you start shooting. Natural light is my favorite kind of lighting, especially for most of my food shots. Find the best angle that is the most flattering for your subject and don’t be afraid to take as many shots as you wish in different angles. This way you’re able to pick the best one out of all of them. I’ve actually gotten into trouble a few times for standing on my chair at a restaurant just to take a shot of my food using the bird’s eye view. Sometime you have to do what you have to do for that shot! Try to implement the same editing style for most of your images to create a theme for your feed. Lastly, shoot what you love… what you’re most passionate about and share it with the rest of the world.
Which three Instagrammers do you recommend everyone to follow?
@food52 (I love this one because they feature food photographers and bloggers from all over the world…and don’t get me started on the food photos on their feed! They make me hungry and inspire me at the same time)
@lafrohemein (she takes the most remarkable portraits and I’m simply in love with the way she tells the African story with every photo she posts)
@josevilla (he’s one of my favorite wedding photographers. Through wedding photography you get to do portrait photography, architectural photography landscape photography, food photography and product photography all in one day)
How has Instagram influenced your profession and your business?
Through Instagram, I’ve been able to interact with the other photographers no matter where they are in the world. I can say it has been an amazing tool for me to network. It has also opened my eyes to the different kinds of photography out there which is always a source of inspiration to me.
Instagram has been my portfolio on the go. When meeting with different people who turn out to be potential clients, I’m able to use my Instagram to show them my work. As a result it has enabled me to get paying jobs.
5 Favourite Jacquie Mwai Instagram Posts