Being able to accurately describe anything can be a challenge depending on the crowd. Sometimes it's best to skip to the photograph and let the picture speak for itself. Food photography has leaned into this heavily as even the exact same dishes can look drastically different (and more appetizing) depending on how it was made.
High-quality food photography helps position your kitchen as a professional food establishment. Your branding, marketing and lead conversions are all impacted by the photos of your food. Potential customers want to have their attention grabbed right away while receiving the same food when they visit later on.
Capture Their Love at First Sight
The restaurant and hospitality industries are extremely competitive, making it a challenge to stand out among the crowd. In order to effectively capture an audience, you must showcase what makes your establishment the one to dine at or order from.
When you open a restaurant, it takes on a personality of its own in the form of a brand. A brand encompasses the food, restaurant style, service, digital presence and anything else directly associated with the restaurant. Use this to your advantage and enhance the brand with stellar food photography.
It's no secret that more of us are looking to our phones for our next meal than ever before. But when you can't smell or taste the food, the decision on what to have for dinner falls on the photos. Winning over their stomachs with just a glance is how you become a customer's go-to choice from the start.
Food Photography Is About More Than Just Food
Granted, at the end of the day it's all about the food but there are multiple benefits gained from quality photos. Not only does it elevate your brand, but a good set of photos can increase sales quickly. It goes back to the photo being the primary selling point when customers look at a menu.
Something that may seem surprising is that you don't have to take the photos yourself or even bring in a professional. Today's customers are all equipped with near-professional cameras right in their pockets. Each photo taken and posted is additional marketing.
Potential customers will also trust the recommendations of another customer more than the kitchen itself. Social media accounts centered around sharing restaurant experiences or specific dishes are a boon for your business. They tend to produce high-quality content as it leads to their success as well when your food looks amazing on camera.
It Tells Your Story From Every Angle
Whether you've been in the food industry for a week or a decade, there's a story behind where you are today. Food photography captures the moments of triumph when a dish is successful, or a stark lesson in how certain ingredients taste together.
Your staff, customers and local residents will get to know your restaurant over time. Cataloging these pictures and posts to be accessed later builds lasting relationships. Regular customers and long-term staff will get nostalgic over these moments too, creating an even deeper connection.
5 Restaurant Photography Tips and Tricks
Since we've covered what makes food photography so integral to a restaurant's success, how about some tips to help you get started? We'll go over how to get the best shot and then, how to get the most out of the food photography ideas you come up with.
1. Always work the best angle.
There's a reason some people say they have a "good side" when it comes to photos. Just as a face's shape can change how someone looks, the type of dish being presented can look widely different from the wrong angle. Flatter your food by showing it's best features in each photo.
For stacked food such as burgers and sandwiches, shooting from the front is ideal as you get to see all of the ingredients. Dishes such as bowls and pizzas benefit more from being shot from above. Every component should be on display to not minimize any ingredients.
2. Put your best foot forward.
In order to create that love at first sight, you need to start strong directly out of the gate. The homepage of your website should be used as a main stage. Put your best-looking dish front and center to immediately establish yourself as a competent kitchen.
If you solely use third-party ordering apps, use your restaurant's featured item section instead. By making the best dishes seen first, it functions in much the same way as a homepage. You'll be able to put an image to the description as well, leading your customers through the story of each dish.
RELATED READING: Four Marketing Strategies for Every Ghost Kitchen
3. Keep the food the focus of each shot.
Digital marketing and social media have always been about adding extra flair to stand out. While this can work wonders for marketing, food photography should be about the food itself. Any extra props, backgrounds or filters should be left to the side as the captions can be used for branding and tagging.
4. Maintain the restaurant's brand.
Consistency is key in the success of a restaurant. When the food comes out tasting just as delicious as it did last time, people tend to keep coming back. The same goes for your food photography and branding. When you find a style you like, stick to it and let it become part of the experience your brand is known for.
5. Take to social media to share directly with your fans.
Social media is where you'll get the most out of photos taken by customers. They don't always match the style of your brand so it's wise to keep them off of your menu, but feel free to use them online. Giving a shoutout to a local food blogger generates positive buzz for followers of either account.
3 Examples To Guide Your Food Photography Ideas
Here is a perfect example of how to show off a bowl or salad. Everything from the veggies to the dressing can be seen.
See how the side profile of a burger is its good side? Hungry customers will gravitate towards fresh food over food that looks like it's been under a warming lamp for hours.
This particular style takes clean plating and adds the human element in by having the chef pose with the plate. A subtle change can make a huge difference.
You've now got the knowledge and some great examples needed to start taking incredible food photos. Now it's up to you to practice and find the right style. Remember, you're capturing the quality of your food as well as the spirit of your brand.