Posting pictures of your wares on social media is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants and cafes. Potential customers will scroll through your feed and make a decision whether they want to visit your establishment or not based on what they see.
You don’t need fancy photography equipment and a huge amount of time to create irresistible food photos for your feeds. With just a smartphone and a few tips and tricks for how to create mouthwatering social media posts, no one will be able to scroll past your restaurant without wanting to try your food IRL.
Here are the top tips for creating those deliciously mouthwatering food photos.
Use Natural Light
Artificial lights cast an unappealing yellow or orange tone over your photos. Taking a photo under a lamp or artificial light will give an inaccurate colour to your subjects – your white table cloths, crockery, or rice can appear orange.
Natural daylight is the best lighting for food photos as the neutral light accurately represents colours. Try shooting images of your dishes at a table by a window, or even outside.
Overcast days are the ultimate in perfect lighting for photos, as you get the natural light without the dramatic shadows. If you’re taking a picture in bright sun you can diffuse the light with a white napkin.
And If You Can’t, Use a Filter
If you’re taking a picture at night or there’s not decent natural light to work with, use a filter to make the picture more appealing. Try not to use your flash – the light is way too harsh as are the shadows it creates. Once again, bust out the white napkin as a reflector to fill out dark areas and to soften any strong artificial light.
Use a photo processing app or even just the default filters on Instagram to choose a filter which adjusts the colour of the photo to be more appealing.
Take the Picture As Soon As the Dish is Plated
Don’t give your dish time to breathe, sag, or sweat. Take the photo as soon as you can so that all elements are still fresh and vibrant looking.
Choose the Right Dishes to be Featured
Not all food are photogenic. Your tastiest dish may not look great on camera, and you don’t want to be posting anything that looks less than appetising. Choose to post pictures of the food that look the best, not taste the best.
Soups tend not to photograph well, or anything with particularly “glistening” sauces. The reflections from the sauces and the oil in the soup aren’t very attractive. Dishes which are primarily brown or white also tend not to translate well into photos.
Select an Excellent Backdrop
The best backgrounds for food photography are either light, dark, or wooden backgrounds. In general light food look best on a light background, dark food look great on a dark background, and anything looks good on a wooden background.
Get creative finding something that works well as a background. It could be a wooden chopping board, a nice wallpaper, a tea towel, or even baking paper.
Choose the Best Angle
If in doubt, shoot from above. You can rarely go wrong taking a food photo from bird’s eye view. It allows you to arrange the subjects how you want, eliminates distracting backgrounds, and is best for displaying food in bowls or mugs.
Food with layers or in glasses looks great when shot directly from the side. Diagonal angles are best for showing food from both side and top angles, like a tray of cupcakes for example.
Arrange Your Food with Thought
Give the dish some space – don’t crowd the frame. Negative space in a food photo makes it more impactful. Try positioning the food in the centre of the frame, then give it a go off-centred. See what works best.
Consider Using Some Decorations
This could be some ingredients, cutlery, table centrepieces, anything really! Use colours which either complement or contrast. Green and red colours look great in food photos together.
Flowers or autumn leaves are great for bringing some nature to the photo and conjuring a sense of season.