We’ve learnt a lot about food photography over the years, working with a huge variety of restaurants and hotels as well as some incredibly talented chefs.
Starting out in the hospitality industry as a chef or a restaurant owner isn’t easy and we know it’s not always possible to hire a professional food photographer when you’re just getting started, so here are our top tips to help you improve your restaurant’s food photography:
1. Use natural light
Aside from the food itself, light is probably the most important factor when it comes to good food photography. The light you use can make or break your image so it’s important to know how and when to use certain lighting.
Natural light is always the best option when it comes to food photography, it’s also the most affordable. If you have it available, use it. Set your dishes up next to a window and shoot so the window is lighting your scene from the side.
If you have direct sunlight coming through the window it can cause quite harsh shadows – this is not always a bad thing, it depends on your brand’s style – but you can use stick on frosting or thin white paper on the window to diffuse the light and give your shots a softer finish.
Cloudy days are perfect if you’re going to shoot outside, the clouds act like a giant diffuser and helps to reduce harsh shadows and avoid over exposure.
2. Think about colour
Always think about colour when you’re shooting food, certain colours will complement each other whereas others may clash. Think about which dishes you’re going to photograph and what sort of background they should be on to avoid colour clashes.
If your restaurant/branding already has a colour scheme try to incorporate that into your food photography.
3. Keep it simple
There’s nothing worse than over complicating when it comes to food photography. You’ve probably seen lifestyle magazines where the dishes are beautifully shot and surrounded by lifestyle props and ingredients, this works when done properly but there’s A LOT of work involved.
If you’re working on a budget, let your food do the talking. Keep your background simple and props to a minimum.
4. Choose the right angle
If you want to get your food photography done, but your interiors aren’t quite ready, why not shoot your dishes from above? This means you don’t need to worry about where you shoot (what will be in the background) and it will be much easier to achieve a uniform look throughout your imagery.
If you’re interiors are ready and look amazing, make the most of them! If you’re shooting for social media it makes sense to use a mixture of food and interior shots to give potential customers a better idea of the atmosphere.
5. Add a human element
Food photography without people can sometimes feel a little inhuman or stark. Adding a human element can help bring your food to life. This could be as simple as a hand holding a wine glass next to the dish or a close up of hands using cutlery. Experiment and get creative, there is no right or wrong.
6. Tell a story
A lot of work goes into creating delicious recipes that your guests will keep coming back for, so why hide that part of the story?
Behind the scenes shots help to bring your story to life, show the people behind your recipes, the farms behind your ingredients and the mixologist behind your cocktails.
Food photography plays a vital role in your restaurant marketing, it’s important to get it right. Remember that according to research by Zizzi, 18 – 35 years olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% of them would avoid a restaurant if its Instagram presence was weak.
We hope these 6 tips will help you get started and if you need further help, don’t hesitate in reaching out, we’re here to help.
If you have no idea where to start when it comes to photography, perhaps we can help.
Tell us about your delicious food and beautiful venue and let’s find a creative way to tell the world!