Restaurant Food Photography

Including a photo can increase sales of that menu item by up to 30 percent. Snap picture perfect shots of your dishes with these food photography tips.

Tips for Staging Photos of Menu Items

Bowls

  • Use a slightly higher angle so diners can see all contents of the bowl and see portion size.

Plates

  • Include props, such as utensils or salt and pepper shakers, to show portion size.

Sandwiches

  • Use a lower angle so the diner can see the contents of the sandwich.

Platters

  • Use a variety of angles to keep menu images diverse.

Baskets

  • Place sauces in small containers inside or outside the basket to show scale and portion size.

Smoothies

  • Use a clear container to showcase color and texture, and place the fruit and vegetables used around the container.

Depicting Cuisine vs. Menu Items

Restaurant food photography differs depending on whether you’re taking pictures representing your cuisine or specific menu items.

Cuisine

  • — A diner is asking, “What kind of food do I want?” (ex. Italian, Thai, Sushi)
  • — Cuisine photos are close up, artistically cropped and more abstract

Menu Items

  • — A diner is thinking about a specific dish (ex. Fettucine Alfredo, Pad Thai, California Roll)
  • — Menu item photos are zoomed out, hint at portion size and have the perspective of “about to eat”

Do’s and Don’ts

Do

Make sure food looks fresh and colorful, use soft/natural lighting, take photos as soon as the food is ready, arrange food in strong geometric shapes, add garnishes

Don’t

Wait long after the food has been prepared to take photos, shoot from a 90-degree angle (top-down), let props overpower the photo, use plastic containers, include hands in the shots

Most importantly, be authentic with all food photography. Diners prefer images that are realistic, rather than staged because they can imagine your restaurant’s food has just been placed in front of them.

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