High quality photographs are crucial for the success of a restaurant/cafe. I’m presuming that if you’ve come across this post you own or work in a restaurant/cafe and you want better exposure on social media or want to take captivating shots for your marketing material? If so, or even if we’re wrong and you’re a beginner food blogger who just wants to pick up some food photography tips.. Keep reading. Below we’ve put together a few tips, tricks and techniques for food photography beginners.
1. Natural light, natural light, natural light
What more is there to say, natural lighting is the key to a high quality food photography picture. Particularly so if you do not have any high quality lighting setups in your restaurant, cafe or premise like professional photographers do. Sometimes you can get lucky in creating high quality pictures in low light situations with lamps or torches. However, with these, majority of the time you’ll get weird flickering effects on the images. That’s why we recommend just sticking to natural lighting.
With natural lighting you’re best off shooting on overcast days. The reason for this is because the clouds act like natural light diffusers, making the shadows in your image softer and making the shot evenly exposed. If you shoot in direct sunlight you will get very contrasty images that can appear harsh and unappealing (so basically, they won’t be #instaworthy!).
2. Food Styling and Composition
Take the time to scroll through an image site, like Instagram or Pinterest and pick out a couple of different food photography shots that you like for inspiration. These images can act as a guideline when setting up your own food photo. Have fun with adding props into your shot, whether you’re incorporating the classics such as linen, cutlery or your menu, or you’re incorporating something more unique, like flowers or a particular prop that is the feature of your business. Props help eliminate empty (negative) space and add more character to the image. Props can also help reinforce your branding. That’s why we’ve started incorporating more props within our food photos.
With the composition of your shot, don’t be afraid to not have your food centered. Using the theory of the rule of thirds (yes the 9 rectangle thing!) you can achieve more balanced shots, the human eye predominantly goes to the points of intersection or can go along the guidelines. This makes your images feel more natural and less “awkward”. Or if you’re up for it, have a look into the Fibonacci spiral (side note, Wehan wrote this blog, and right now I (Lydia) am editing it and I had to Google what a Fibonacci Spiral was, so please don’t feel overwhelmed by the technical professional photographer jargon, you’re not alone!).
3. If you have a phone or tablet, download Lightroom… It’s free on mobile so why not right?
Adobe lightroom is an extremely powerful tool that can take your photos to the next level. Lightroom is relatively easy to use and pick up. We recommend just taking the time to play around with it, so that you can learn about all of the features it has. By using Lightroom you can very easily take a dull image and turn it into something completely different. Rather than you just believing our word we’ve decided to show you. Below we’ve attached one of our images prior to editing, then the same image after editing.
4. If you have a camera, learn how to use it.
If you have a camera that cost you more than $600 chances are that it’ll probably take better pictures than your smartphone. If your camera has the ability to take more megapixels than your smartphone and allows you to make changes to the iso/shutter speed as well as the f stop then you can achieve higher quality images that achieve more of an impact.
If you want to draw more attention to the food and want a “blurry background” (this is known as the bokeh effect) then open up the f-stop (by lowering the f stop number). This can create a better separation from the background and the food.
If you want to get a beautiful pour picture then turn down the shutter speed (1/200 is a good start – if the pour is still blurry turn it down even more).
NOTE: in order to get everything well exposed you need to make sure that you find a good balance between the iso, shutter speed and f-stop so if you’re struggling and your image is still too dark after adjusting all three of these then you will need some artificial lighting. Artificial lighting can be expensive so if you’re not achieving the look that you want, then consider the next tip.
5. Don’t know how to do it or don’t have the equipment yourself? Hire someone!
Hiring a food photographer is probably the greatest investment a restaurant owner can make. A photographer will have the right setups and will know exactly what to do to achieve the pictures that you want, helping you attract and engage with your audience. As food photographers ourselves we love to work to your vision and will go above and beyond to achieve the results that you’re after. With our food photography services we provide all of the equipment required for the food photography shoot and do all of the photo editing, all within a short turnaround time.
And that’s it, it’s really that simple! We hope our food photography tips, tricks and techniques have helped you out. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us.