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Restaurant Marketing: 15 tips to take your food photos to the next level

Your restaurant reviews are more popular than ever, and your online presence is another way to build brand recognition and loyalty. Keep your brand sharp and focus on the right things – from color choices to photography.

Did you know that the right food photography can make or break a restaurant's image?

Here's what you need to know to get your photos to boost your restaurant marketing and brand:

  1. Edit your photos

  2. Color theme choice

  3. Spend the time to get your photos right

  4. Landscape orientation

  5. Get a food photographer

  6. Take your time to set the right lighting and timing for your food

  7. Give your food a little flair

  8. Take photos on a tripod

  9. Shoot during the day

  10. Find the right camera for your needs

  11. Cycle through all of the photos you've taken

  12. Shoot on manual

  13. Be confident

  14. Start a food photo contest

  15. Let customers help you

Edit your photos

Photography is your opportunity to make a good first impression. By taking the right photos, you can appeal to your customers and retain them. But it all starts with your initial "footprint" – the initial impression of your restaurant's brand.

Your initial impression is also where your company identity starts to develop and is just as critical to your long-term brand.

Once you've taken your initial photos, upload them to your website. But don't forget your social media presence, either.

If you have a particularly unique item on your menu, then make sure that the photos of that item are also included on your website or social media, to help customers decide what's available.

Color theme choice

Color theme choice can tell a lot about a restaurant. Not only are colors used in the image itself, but they are also used in the descriptions on your website and your advertising.

Try to create a theme within your photos that match your restaurant theme and overall brand.

Spend the time to get your photos right

The most critical issues affecting photos are the positioning of the food, lighting, and the variety of colors (how the color in the background influences the colors of the foods).

If you decide to use red, then make sure you get the lighting right and that you use it strategically, especially in a dark restaurant. In general, food that is closer to its natural state looks better in the photos.

Landscape orientation

Landscape orientation makes the food look a bit smaller and takes away the bite of being presented in a square format. Instead, this method puts the food against a background that's a little larger and makes the food seem larger and more intriguing.

Get a food photographer

It's never a bad idea to hire a professional food photographer to capture an ideal, beautiful, and vibrant image of your food and make it look appetizing.

Your family, friends, employees, or even a good friend are also another great option - with today's phones and cameras, it's not hard to find someone with a great eye for photography.

Take your time to set the right lighting and timing for your food

Food looks more appetizing in natural light. For those who don't know, the longer your food is left exposed to the elements, the harder it will be to take its picture. So set your food up in an area where you can naturally achieve the desired lighting and backgrounds for your food.

Give your food a little flair

Even the blandest item can make for a stunning food shot. If you're dealing with a bland dish, like a bowl of soup, try adding a colorful garnish. Use a pickle spear or a wedge of orange to liven things up.

If you want to take it up a notch, then you can try a few drops of olive oil to bring out the flavor of your soup, or a sprinkle of lemon to give it a bit of shine.

Take photos on a tripod

Taking photos on a tripod allows you to adjust the angle of the dish when necessary, and you'll also be able to get a steady shot.

Taking photos of food is great, but you still need people in the pictures. Adding people adds the personal touch, and they show customers what your restaurant is all about.

Shoot during the day

Most people are hungry when they are out during the day, which is why you should be there too. If your photoshoot doesn't happen during the day, then try to come back later on in the evening when it's more social and people will be there.

You don't want to take your photo right at 6 pm when your customers are starving, but rather at night when your customers are craving a bite to eat.

Find the right camera for your needs

You don't need to invest in a large-format camera for your restaurant. Consider a compact digital camera that you can carry around with you to be able to shoot your food. You'll also want to keep it easily accessible.

Cycle through all of the photos you've taken

You can never take too many photos, so it's important to take as many photos as needed when planning your photoshoot. See which images work best, and then review all of them.

You want to be sure you have images of customers, plus details of your dishes, so make sure you list all the different shots and angles you want to take.

Shoot on manual

When you're trying to shoot a food shot, use the manual setting so that you can have more control over your photo. If you need to zoom in or adjust the focus, then manually adjust them.

Be confident

While you may be nervous about taking a food photo, no one expects you to be a professional. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and take a lot of pictures to ensure that you have the best shots possible with a wide variety of angles and styles.

Start a food photo contest

If you're having a special event, such as a wedding, have a food photo contest. Try to get a group of people together, and hold a contest in which you have a specific number of people in each image.

A good prize can encourage your customers to get involved in the competition and work together to make the best food shots.

If you don't have a food photography contest, then try hosting a group event or catering shot that includes your food and some great photos.

Put together a scavenger hunt where everyone is trying to take the best shot of their favorite dish.

Let customers help you

Customers love to be able to see their food before eating it which is why it's so important to have a presence on social media and your website.

When you ask customers to share photos of your food and tag your restaurant on social media or review sites, you can quickly build a large network of followers online who become interested in trying your food for themselves.


You don't have to be a professional to take pictures of your food. Use these tips to help you shoot food in an engaging way that will help promote your business online naturally.

Have questions? Let us know and we would be happy to help!


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