12 Tips for food photography for F&B businesses in 2020

No F&B business can afford to underestimate the importance of food photography.

Be it for your food menu design, social media pages, F&B marketing, or anything at all- you need excellent food photography.

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Every picture of your restaurant’s food must tell a story and have the appeal that makes the viewer want to visit your restaurant and have that dish.

With that objective in mind, here are 12 tips for business owners and food photographers in Singapore.

1.  Lighting

The camera flash is a big no during food photography. Use natural light as far as possible. It helps to get the perfect still light photos. Use the filtered sunlight from windows, reflect it using a white tablecloth to the darker areas. If you must use artificial lights, you can utilize off-camera strobes. Too bright lighting can cause exposure issues and cast a harsh shadow on food- the key is to get just the right amount.

2.  Angle: Top, side, or a close-up?

The best angle for every dish is different. Depending on what is the unique element for a particular dish, you may choose a top view, a side angle, or go in for a closeup. For beverage shots, rotating the camera a little can add quite the dramatic effect to photos. This is what bars do to make their drinks look more appealing.

3.  Background

Regardless of what the purpose is- logo design, social media posts, or F&B branding– you must choose a background that does not take attention away from the product. While this may sound obvious, many photographers overlook this while decorating the background. Simple is often the best option. For instance,

  • Wooden Backgrounds: Neutral tone, goes well with almost everything
  • Light colors: Suitable for light-colored dishes
  • Dark colors: Suitable for dark-colored dishes

You can also add elements like a rug or some furniture for your store to create a subtle backdrop.

4. Food composition

A wide-angle shot may seem like a good choice for it captures the entire plate in the photo. However- this does not always bring out the best pictures. The distance between the camera and the food means you will lose the nuances and finer details of the dish. A tighter and closer shot establishes a better connection with the item. Try macro shots as well- they work great with various foods.

5. The importance of photo editing

Even with the best photography equipment, capturing 100% of what you intended may not happen. This is where photo editing comes into play.

An affordable graphic designer can help you with that. Level adjustment, spot correction, adjusting contrast, etc- all these help you to enhance and showcase the best of your food. You can also try this yourself with tools like Adobe Photoshop Express, VSCO, and Photoshop Lightroom that offers more advanced tweaking features.

6. Conveying the message

You must have an idea of the message that you want the picture to convey. Human connections are the base of any business, especially in the case of a food business. Use that to send a message or share a story. Even the addition of simple props like a laptop or a book gives your photos that ‘touch’ of a story that people want to know more about.

7. Tripod is a must-have

Do you want sharp and blur-free photos? If yes, then you must have a tripod. Apart from that, it also lets you take some amazing overhead shots with ease.

8. Depth of Field

Depth of field refers to the areas of a photo that are in and out of focus. They help to create some more ‘drama’ around the food and drive the viewer’s attention where it needs to be. For instance, in photos of a cake, you will want the viewer to notice and connect with the cake- making it your central point. Making everything around it out-of-focus is one way to do that.

9. Stylizing and props

The food must look as perfect as possible. This means a crisp and green salad, juicy and plentiful meat, beverages that look refreshing and cold. Small elements like a lemon wedge or a cloth napkin can do wonders here. Sprinkle a little salt in the carbonated beverages just before shooting- it is what will make them sparkle.

10. Know your customer/target audience

What is the purpose of the photos? Do you need a portrait or landscape orientation? Questions like these are what the photographer will need answers for. They will help decide what type of photos you need. Every photo, be it a tight close-up for logo design or a full place setting for food menu design has a separate purpose.

11. Use your staff to add life to the photos

Team members like the chef and servers can be the human element in your F&B photos. Ensure that the ‘models’ consent to their photos being taken. For realistic and professional images, the team members should be in their uniform, well-groomed, and avoid any forced/staged poses.

12. Ensure that the chef is available for the entire duration of the shoot

Food photography can often take hours. You will need the chef available for the entire duration so that he can prepare the dishes as needed. It also allows him to take his tie in carefully plating each food item to present it at its best. Provide a list of what is to be prepared for photography in advance.

Good photography and creative graphic design are the key to F&B marketing to distinguish any restaurant from its competitors. As you utilize the potential of excellent food photography for your business, the above tips will help you get the most out of every picture.