Becoming a professional photographer is a lot harder than you think and it requires more than just a good eye.Read More
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE GAP BETWEEN THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FOOD AND THE IMAGES YOU TAKE
If you own a restaurant or you are a food blogger you know how important it is to show great photos of your dishes. After all, it’s because of the images that people are drawn to your website/blog.
But how to achieve this on your own? Here are some tips to get you started.
Forget about the idea of “the more light, the better”: lighting in photography is not about quantity, but quality. We don’t want to use the yellowish kind of artificial light you have in your home or in your restaurant, because in most cases it’s really unflattering and difficult to control. What we want is pure indirect daylight: set the table near a big window, where the sun doesn’t get directly, and turn off all the other lights.
Now take a photo and see the difference.
Tell a story
To give more visual power to your food images you need to tell a story. For example, if you’re photographing a breakfast meal, include a beautiful cappuccino in your pic; if it’s a cake, include some utensils or egg shells.
Garnishing your photo will also improve your image tremendously: add some raw ingredients, like a sliced lemon or some fresh herbs.
Find some interesting backdrops
Your dish might be looking great, but if you put the plate on a plastic table your food won’t look so incredible anymore. The best surfaces for food photography are wood, stone and monochromatic, depending on the mood you want to give to your images.
Nobody says they need to be “real” wood or stone: instead of looking for expensive rustic tables, buy posters or scrapbook paper that look similar to wood or stone; you can also use cutting boards or pastry boards.
Your food will look stunning.
Invest in a good camera/lens
To take a good photo you don’t need expensive gear, true. But it helps.
Without going into complicated technicalities, a good camera with a good lens will capture better light, will sharpen the photo and will make the colors pop. It’s an investment that can really make the difference in your food photography.
Mind the angle
What is it that you’re photographing? What’s important to highlight? Not all the food is the same, and neither is the camera angle you should use.
As a general rule, in food photography you want to place your camera between 25 and 75 degrees in relation to your subject. It’s a very versatile angle and it works most of the times.
If you are taking photos of something flat, like a pizza, you might however take the photo from a 90 degree angle (the so-called “birds eye view”). The same goes with dishes where you want to show the layers or the height of the food, like burgers or cakes: in that case you want to place the camera at 0 degree, for a straight-on view.
To make your food look even better, learn how to use simple editing software. I personally use Adobe Lightroom, but anything will do: you just need some tools to enhance the photo, correct the lighting and adjust the contrast.
Personally, I believe that taking photos of food is incredibly fun. I love to play with the colors and the textures. If you don’t agree with me, then you should ask someone else to photograph your food: it takes passion to show passion.
If you were looking at a restaurant website, and saw an ordinary photo of an ordinary dish, would you consider eating there? Probably not.
It’s as simple as that: if your food and your venue look attractive on your website, it’s only natural that more people are going to come and book a table at your restaurant.
Getting the right photos is crucial for succeeding in your business: you can’t afford to have low quality photographs, because it may give the wrong impression to your customers.
But I can just use my phone!
It’s not about how pretty the plate is, and it’s not even about how powerful your camera is: if you place your food in a dark corner, or under ugly yellow light, or if you don’t consider the composition, or what can enhance the dish, or what props to use, you will never get a good photo. After all, if food photographers do this for a living, it means that not anybody can do it. It’s their job to make the most out of your food, to consider the light, the composition, the colors. They know how to enhance your dish.
It’s not easy to take gorgeous and appealing food images, but that’s why your should hire a photographer: it’s really worth it!
It’s too expensive!
One of the biggest objections when it comes to food photography is its cost, which is fairly reasonable. You think that paying a professional photographer only to get a few images is a waste of money.
This is where you are wrong: customers are attracted by great food photography, which ultimately will make you sell more and better. People look at your food on your menu, your website and social media, your online ads: show them what a delicious meal you can prepare for them, and draw them to your door. Restaurants that have invested in food photography have never regretted their decision.
Make a monthly agreement
The most successful restaurants online work with their food photographer periodically, usually once a month, to photograph new dishes and seasonal changes. This allows them to have always fresh and interesting content to use online, and also to be consistent with their style of photography.
I know, you’re still worried about the costs, but it’s not as expensive as you think, as it only takes a few hours to take enough photos to fill up your social media for a month.
Even a few great food photos can make a big difference, and professional food photography is what will help you taking your business to the next level.
There’s plenty of restaurants out there, and they all make very good food. What will make your own restaurant stand out?