These are just some of the most instagrammable sweet treats in Singapore, from watermelon softserve, unicorn cake, matcha salted egg toast, to character café desserts.

Great for Instagram, but sometimes do you find that we let photographing our food gets in the way of eating it? Sad, but it’s true.

After those 500 – 100 shots to get that perfect one shot, the food would have already turned cold, or worse, melted in the case of ice cream. You may lose some friends (or their patience) in the process.

At the end of the day, we are there to eat, not to create a centerspread. So here’s sharing of some quick and simple smartphone photography tips, so that you can also go #nofilter.

10 Instagrammable Desserts In Singapore, and 10 Instagram Tips To Take Your #FoodPorn Shots To The Next Level:

Brother Bird
32 Bali Lane, Singapore 189868
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon), 6pm – 10pm (Tue), 12pm – 10pm (Wed-Sun)

Watermelon Softserve
Venture into Level 2 of Stateland Café, and you will find the nest of Brother Bird. Do not leave without getting the beautiful poop-like (opps) swirl softserve, with rotating flavours every fortnightly.

This is a Watermelon Softserve top mochi donut, drizzled with rose scented white chocolate sauce. As cool and refreshing as it sounds.

Instagram tip: Let there be light
Lighting is EVERYTHING in photography. When I enter a café with natural lighting, I always pick the window seat if available.

This will provide for soft, directional lighting on your food. Also, try not to sit directly under the sun or strong light as the photos would likely look washed-out.

The OPPO R9S is also equipped with a f/1.7 lens, which means more light can enter the lens, suitable in low light situation (as in the case at Brother Bird).

Bojio Cafe
Westgate Mall, 3 Gateway Dr, #02-28, Singapore 608532
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

OTT Bojio Thick Lava Toast
Don’t bojio your friends ah! The Raclette Cheese Toasts and Over-The-Top milkshakes from Bojio Café have made their rounds on social media.

These highly instagrammable Lava Toast comes with 12 different types of fillings, from Mentaiko, Thai Milk Tea, Green Milk Tea, Salted Egg, Earl Grey to Peanut Butter.

Instagram tip: Borrow light
Okay, so what happens if you are a café with NO natural lighting, quite common in Singapore as many shops are located within malls.

A way you can try is ‘borrow’ an angled environmental light (rather than direct down). Further tips are to use the built-in HDR mode; shoot just 1 or 2 shots with steady hands (instead of firing away); and avoid digital zooming (which will amplify noise in photos).

The OPPO R9S will also save the day with an all-new Sony IMX398 back-illuminated 1/2.8 inch CMOS sensor. Loads of technical jargon. In short, the sensor allows you to capture more light and details to get that prized instagram shot.

Non Entrée Desserts
204 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218451
Opening Hours: 2pm – 10pm (Tue-Thu), 2pm – 11pm (Fri), 12pm – 11pm (Sat), 12pm – 10pm (Sun), Closed Mon

Matcha Lava Avalanche Cake
Warm Matcha Green Tea Lava Cake ($13.90) with Azuki Beans flowing onto smokey roasted green tea gelato, crunchy almond nougatine and chocolate soil.

While it did seem gimmicky initially, the combination of various textures and taste worked.

Instagram tip: Try different angles
You often see overhead (pizza, noodles, latte art) and straight-on (drinks, cakes, burgers, tall food items) shots for food. An overhead shot for cakes and pizza may not work as well, if there are little details from a top-angle shot.

Know which angle works best for the food you order – a pictorial menu can be good reference. Also, try shooting from other angles to get a new perspective.

When you are getting the straight-on lava flow, the OPPO R9S uses dual PDAF (phase detection autofocus) with 40% faster focusing speed compared to the usual single phase detection found in cameras. In short, moving objects will come into focus faster and you can get a sharper image.

Gudetama Cafe Singapore
Suntec City Mall #01-361/362/363/364 (West Wing), 3 Temasek Boulevard Singapore 038983
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun) Last Order 9:30pm

“Shoyu Ramen”
Gudetama Café at Suntec City has most of its food created and inspired by the popular lazy egg Sanrio Character Gudetama. What you can expect include “I’m Cold” Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Gudetama Lobster Onsen, “Are You Busy” Burger and “Shoyu Ramen” Set.

The “Ramen” is actually a dessert made with chocolate and feuilletine cake topped with layers of chestnut Mont Blanc and earl grey jelly, served with a side of panna cotta and sweetened rose tea.

Instagram tip: The flatlay
The flatlay is the IN-thing for Instagram, as it is a simple, straight-forward way to show the entire menu of food, or what you ordered in a single frame (some people use it to display their latest purchase such as watch, wallet, shades, handphone etc).

For the flatlay, choose a basic uncomplicated background; leave space between the different dishes and objects; and balance out larger food with smaller items such as saucers and utensils.

The in-built electronic image stabilization in the OPPO R9S increases stability trying to stand at an awkward angle while taking the top-down shot.

The Cold Pantry
88 Rangoon Road, #01-01, Singapore 218374
Opening Hours: 4pm – 10pm (Mon-Fri), 12pm – 10pm (Sat-Sun)

Rootbeer Chocolate Waffle
The Cold Pantry’s signature is a awesomely sounding (with a touch of nostalgia) Chocolatey Waffle with a hint of Root Beer topped with freshly churned charcoal vanilla ice cream drizzled with… chocolate Root Beer sauce.

Instagram tip: Use contrasting background
Ever arrived with a situation when the food looks like it is shades of the same colour? For example, with Charcoal softserve with Rootbeer Waffle, everything may turn out dark or one-dimensional.

Use a different colour background for contrast, and switch to a HD mode for more clarity and details.

The Oppo R9S has an Ultra HD mode that combines 6 photos to produce a (OMG) 36 megapixels image, so that you are able to see all the extra details, even for dark-coloured food.

The Bakery Chef
Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central Singapore 150161
Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Mon-Thu), 10am – 8pm (Fri-Sun)

Matcha Salted Egg Lava Toast
Yes, this could be two of your favourite things together – matcha and salted egg. Get a choice of toast (charcoal, brioche or matcha), fillings (salted egg, Nutella or matcha) and a non-optional topup of chocolate, vanilla or matcha ice cream.

The winning element was the filling of matcha sauce with an additional layer of saltiness.

Instagram tip: Use the manual mode
Finding it hard to capture fast, moving shots, such as flowing lava?

Newer smartphone cameras come with built-in manual controls, which can be similar to a DSLR control by adjusting the various settings. It allows you to capture more creative images as well.

For example, the Expert mode on the OPPO R9S can provide full control of white balance, ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, manual focus just like DSLR/ mirrorless camera.

You can also shoot ‘flows’ by using time-lapse or slow-motion on the video, whichever effect you would like to achieve.

Hvala Singapore
313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Road #B3-50, Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)

Matcha Hojicha Softserve
Previously known for their Puffle “Egglets”, Hvala has revamped their menu to include several matcha items such as Soft serve (Cup/ Cone), Latte, Ice Blend and Creama aka foamed drinks.

There are fans of matcha, there are fans of hojicha. Now how about having both together? Combining the smooth bitterness of matcha, and roasted aroma of hojicha.

Instagram tip: Take a deep breath
Shooting softserve can be one of the hardest in Singapore as they melt extremely fast in the hot weather. When your hands are shaky, the photos would turn out blurry too.

So shoot them fast and steady. Get ready your ‘background’ already (a square plain frame is sufficient), and take a deep breath before shooting so that your body AND camera do not shift.

Thankfully, the lightweight body (147g) and thin frame (6.58mm) of OPPO R9S allows a steady handheld shot while holding the softserve in another hand. I can do this alone!

308 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park #01-01, Singapore 247974
Opening Hours: 8am – 7pm (Mon-Sun)

Unicorn Cake
Originated from two words: BOUtique and caFÉ, Boufe has all the pretty desserts here. Think Unicorn Cake, Milky Way Cake (that’s a galaxy cake), Emerald Cake that captures our attention immediately on the display shelf.

The ultra-cute Unicorn Cake contains coconut mousse, mango cremeux, vanilla sponge, white milk glaze, complete with horn and ears made of white chocolate.

Instagram tip: Bring in the tissue
When the surrounding is too dark to shoot due to dark skies or cast-shadows, use the in-build flash to brighten up the space.

Get ready a thin ply of tissue paper, and place it over the flash to reduce the harshness for a softer look.

Kumoya Café
8 Jalan Klapa Singapore 199320
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 9:30pm (Tue – Fri, Sun), 12:00pm – 10.30pm (Sat), Closed Mon

Fantasy Parfait
Singapore’s Halal-certified Japanese-French dessert café Kumoya has offered different character themed pop-ups from Cinnamoroll to the current Miffy.

The current special Parfait is a Yuzu Mango Parfait Merriment of special duo swirl mango Hokkaido soft serve and limited-edition duo-coloured macaron, buttery Miffy cookies, fluffy cotton candy, pudding, fresh fruits, vanilla sable and mango sauce.

Instagram tip: Use the beauty function
If you find your food photos too harsh, and would love a dreamy effect for character cafes like this, use a “Beauty App” or “In-Built Beauty Mode” for extra softness and smoothness on the details.

The OPPO R9S comes with 16 megapixels (MP) for all that clarity, and in-built Beauty mode to make your food / skin smooth when using the front camera.

Pompompurin Café

Strawberry Pudding Parfait
It was photo heaven at Pompompurin Café. From the ‘garden city’ theme, the signature Pompompurin Gate at the entrance, to the Pompompurin and Friends Tree.

Opps, Pompompurin Café has just announced its closure, just after we went down. Oh well… (but here’s an Instagram tip)

Instagram tip: Borrow props
If you find the background plain, find a prop which can range from a plushie, plant, magazines or café decoration (do ask for permission before you move things around), to add some context to your cafe café shot.

Hit the focus on the food, so that the subject is clear, while the background remains slightly blur. You do not need everything to be clear.

The f/1.7 lens on the OPPO R9S allows you to capture both the food and the background (cue Pompompurin plushies) with a smooth bokeh – blurred background for subject isolation.

All food photos in this entry were taken with the OPPO R9S, without further image editing.

The OPPO R9S presents a wonderful primary camera, with functions of a DSLR such as full manual control, 4K video recording and a f/1.7 lens. It is supported by an all-new Sony IMX398 sensor and a customized 1/28 sensor that Sony developed exclusively for OPPO.

I also liked that it was big and flat, yet light-weight.

For those concerned about battery life, while usage has been relatively intensive due to shooting of photos and videos, the battery was able to last more than 2 days. (In review testing, it clocked in at just under 16 hours of continuous video playback.)

You can get the OPPO R9s Plus from OPPO’s online store.

* This entry is brought to you in partnership with OPPO R9s. All photos by Nicholas Tan @stormscape. Written by Nicholas Tan and Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary



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