Tara Whiteman, best known as @taramilktea, has a seriously appetising Instagram feed. Many rely on it to map out must-visit places to dine, stay and take enviable photos at around the world. The Australian-Singaporean blogger lets us in on her favourites
How did @taramilktea begin?
My interest in photography began in my early teens; I got my first “real” camera when I was 12 and took photos of everything. Naturally, when I was introduced to Instagram five years ago, it was a fun, creative outlet for me. But when I was approached for my first paid job, I was blown away that I could make a living doing what I love through an app. After a few months of steady freelance work, I quit my part-time jobs whilst finishing my university degree and haven’t looked back since.
I used to drink taro milk tea a lot in high school, to the point that a friend started calling me Taro. Then, it became Tara Milk Tea, and it stuck. I started using it as all my online usernames and I’ve never once regretted it—a good milk tea can fix anything.
Has the way you create content evolved?
The “way” is the same: If I see something I like, I take a photo. But paid work for clients requires a lot more planning from idea to shoot, so that’s what’s changed. Perhaps there is a lack of spontaneity now? But when I’m travelling, every day is a surprise and I’m ever ready to capture the moment.
What are your five commandments to styling a shot?
Set a theme or purpose; use natural light; find a nice background; always frame your flat lay by starting with one item at each corner first; then use accessories and smaller items to complete your flat lay and make it detailed.
Sometimes the most scrumptious dish is the least photogenic. What do you do then?
Eat! It’ll then be in my stomach before the cameras come out.
What would you say is your blog and Instagram’s recipe for success?
It’s hard to say, but perhaps keeping on top of trends (food-wise) and always changing my style to keep things fresh for my audience.
What are your top food destinations?
Japan, for sure. However, I may be biased as Japanese cuisine is my favourite. Also—I may be biased on this too—but Sydney really does have the best brunches, so I love coming home as I know a good brunch always awaits.
What are your five must-eat dishes around the world?
Kobe beef in Tokyo; The Loop churros in Orange County, California (get them hot!); takoyaki or okonomiyaki from the streets of Osaka; poke bowls in Hawaii; and the matcha croissant from Top Impression Bakery Cafe in Sydney— make sure to eat it fresh out of the oven.