April 23

The Top 5 Food Photography Tips for Restaurants


Tempt New Customers and Increase Sales By Capturing Your Menu In An Appetizing Light. Here Are Five Simple Tips To Photograph Food Like a Pro

In today’s Instagram-obsessed world, capturing captivating images of your food can make all the difference for your business. From enticing potential customers through social media to highlighting your mouthwatering dishes on the website, knowing how to take high-quality photographs of your creations is essential for drawing in hungry patrons. 

Snapping stunning images can be done without blowing your budget on a professional photographer or equipment–but there is more to it than simply pointing and shooting. Here are some tips for restaurants looking to capture their top menu items in an appetizing light.

Shoot With Natural Light 

While dimly lit dining rooms are great for ambiance, they are not great for a good photo. Natural lighting is the single most important element in food photography. 

When it comes to capturing the essence of your dishes, nothing beats the soft, diffused light of the sun. Try to position the set up near a window to take advantage of the natural light. “Direct sunlight tends to be harsh, creating dark distracting shadows and making whites and light colors so bright that they lose any discernible texture and shape,” according to Serious Eats.

Photo: Serious Eats

The right lighting can bring attention to the freshness of the ingredients, whereas direct lighting creates harsh shadows that can make dishes look extremely unappetizing.  

Composition Is Critical

Behind lighting, the composition of a photograph is a critical element of an image. Composition is the overall arrangement of things within the frame. 

You’ll want to take extra care when arranging the plate. Consider factors like theme, color palette, balance, and the rule of thirds to create a more aesthetically appealing image.

Photo: Sweet Pea Blog

The rule of thirds is a fool-proof way to enhance the visual interest of your image. For iPhone photographers, you can enable the grid on the camera–otherwise, imagine a photo split into nine equal rectangles. By placing the subject of the photo at the intersections, you can easily create a more natural and dynamic feel to the composition.

Experiment with Angles

Angles make a huge impact on what is at the forefront of an image. When deciding on the angle, consider the shape and height of the food you’re shooting.  

Photo: Digital Photography School

Shooting from above works well for flat dishes like tacos, pizzas, and garnished cocktails–- allowing you to capture the entire dish in one frame. Conversely, a burger would not look as tempting if shot at the same angle.

For tall, stacked items like burgers, shooting from a lower vantage point can really provide a more comprehensive view. Coming down to a 45-degree angle will allow you to highlight all the textures and layers, resulting in a mouth-watering shot of the burger.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles to find the one that best highlights your menu’s coolest features.

Don’t Lose The Focus

The main focus of your image should be the food. Use a tripod if necessary to keep the camera steady and focused on the most important parts of the dish. 

By keeping the food in focus, you draw the viewer’s eye to the key elements of the dish, making it more enticing. Try different depths of field to enhance visual interest. 

Try using a wider aperture to blur the background and draw attention to the main subject. However, be mindful not to use a depth of field that is too shallow, as it may result in parts of the food being too out of focus. 

Be Authentic

Lastly, strive for authenticity in your food photography. Capturing the food as it truly appears, without overly staging it, helps to build trust with your audience. Customers appreciate honesty and transparency when it comes to how food is made and presented, and in this day and age, we all really need more of that realness.

Instead, highlight the natural beauty, freshness, and local ingredients of your creations. 

Strive for a natural and inviting look that accurately represents the dining experience at your restaurant. By keeping your vibe authentic, you can create images that resonate with your audience and make them eager to dine at your establishment.

By following these tips, you can elevate your restaurant’s food photography and entice customers with mouthwatering images of your menu. Remember, the goal of being really good at food photography is not only to spotlight the craveability of your dishes but also to connect with your guests. With enough practice, you can create stunning food photographs that leave a lasting impression and drive new customers to your dining rooms. 

About the author


Rebecca Gill began her love affair with restaurants at the ripe age of 16. Her dedication and hard work have directed her towards the administrative side of operations, where she helped train and educate team members. When not working, she enjoys cooking + eating, exploring, and cuddling her dog, Louie.


Photography, save restaurants, Social Media, Tips and Tools

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