Ramp up your social media marketing with better restaurant food photography

Read TableCheck's quick guide on how to improve your photos to make your restaurant brand stand out on social media



Jun 15, 2022 - 3 min read

Ramp up your social media marketing with better restaurant food photography

When it comes to food, it's not just the fragrance and taste that matters; it's also the visual aesthetic. 

How a dish looks on a restaurant's menu impacts the choices made by the guests. The food's colors, texture, and overall presentation pique their interest and appeal to their senses. Besides, in the age of social media, the visual aesthetic of food has taken on a new meaning. 

A recent survey shows that an unbelievable one-third of social media users have admitted to ordering food just to take pictures. Picking on this trend of posting food pictures to social media, even restaurants now focus a big chunk of their marketing efforts online. It is well-known that when a piece of information is paired with an image, a person will remember 65% of the information. So it makes sense for a restaurant to invest in a more visual advertising medium. 

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Hire a professional photographer

To get on the social media bandwagon, a restaurant would need to invest in professional food photography. Food photography, like food presentation, is an art form in and of itself. A professional photographer would know which angles, lighting, and backgrounds would produce the most appealing images, prompting hungry customers to book a table or order food from delivery apps. 

However, if a restaurant has some budget constraints and cannot hire a professional photographer, it must invest in a high-quality camera. Of course, every phone nowadays has a built-in camera, so why not use a personal phone? However, the quality of pictures taken with a phone and a camera may differ noticeably. For mobile phone photos, there are also other filters and photo editing apps that they can use to make their photos better.

If however, the hospitality operator decides to go for a high-quality camera, they can still use some tips and tricks to obtain stylish, fancy, and tempting food photographs.

Food lighting

1. Natural light is your ally

In natural light, the colors and textures of food come to life. It is tough to take good photographs if the lighting is not flattering, and harsh artificial lighting tends to detract from the natural texture of the food. The food should be placed in a well-lit corner, perhaps next to a window. The eateries could also use a cloudy day to click pictures. The soft light will highlight the stunning colors of the chow, making them look mouth-watering and fresh.

Look at the example of the breakfast fare shot in the open-air section of Ayana Resorts and Spa in Bali, Indonesia.

2. Declutter the stage

The stage in this context obviously refers to the table where the restaurant will place the plates of delicious-looking food. The camera's focus should be solely on the food, not the cutlery or the glossy finish of the teak table. The pictures should be appealing enough to entice foodies into bookmarking the restaurant for their next dinner plans.

3. Choose dishes that photograph well

When photographing for social media, select dishes that are Instagram-able and use angles that highlight the best features of the dish. For example, when photographing a stack of pancakes, place some berries on top and drizzle maple syrup to make the picture more appealing.

4. Choose the right plates

The smallest details make all the difference in food photography. For the pictures to turn out beautifully, use cream or white plates and bowls to hold the food so that the focus is on the food. A restaurant may feel tempted to display its exquisite cutlery, but it should let the food be the focal point.

5. Food triangle

If the restaurant wants to shoot multiple dishes in the same frame, three dishes in a triangle shape are the most harmonious arrangement. The triangle is visually appealing and photographs perfectly.

Triangle photography

Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin sure knows how to place these three delectable treats in proper composition.

6. Freshen up

It is essential that the food in the photographs look freshly cooked or prepared in order for them to appear appetizing. For example, when photographing a sizzler, highlight the smoke in the image or drizzle a little vegetable oil on lobsters to make them look freshly cooked and delicious.

7. Find the right angle

Some foods require just the right angle to bring out their most delectable aspects. For example, if a burger is being clicked, make the big meat patty with melting cheese the focal point. The pictures should make the viewer want the burger right away. 

Another photography trick that many restaurants use when clicking spaghetti bolognese is rolling strands of spaghetti around the fork to make it look more inviting. 

When clicked at the right angle, these food items entice people to reach for them through their phone screens!

Hands carrying food

8. Use hands to make the pictures alive

While the food is the focus of these images, including hands, can make them more realistic and interactive. The human element adds interest to the images, and viewers feel as if they are a part of the experience. However, ensure that the model's hands are washed and moisturized before handling the food.

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