4 Tips for Quick Food Photography

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Michelle Locke

Posting more on social media is imperative for many restaurants. But the idea of food photography, especially in a fast-paced restaurant where you don’t always have time for a professional set up, is overwhelming.

It’s entirely possible these days, however, to take high quality food photographs with the computer you carry around in your pocket. You know. Your smartphone.

You read that right: you can take amazing photos with just your smartphone. Many lifestyle and beauty bloggers offer tips for taking and editing photographs on their smartphones. Why shouldn’t restaurants borrow from these ideas to use on social media? Here’s a few tips to take better photos of your food, with minimal hassle.

1. Good Lighting

The number one most important part of taking good photos is lighting. Natural, filtered light is better than direct sunlight or harsh, overhead (often fluorescent) lights. If you have a table in your restaurant with great light, that’s the best place to take photos, as long as it isn’t direct sunlight. Overcast, cloudy-but-sunny days are also ideal days to take photographs because the light is perfect near every window.

One more tip: when taking photos with your phone, remember to wipe your actual camera lens on your phone well. Oils from our hands and faces can create blurry, distorted images.

2. Try different angles

There are a lot of great ways to take food photography. If you can, look at different examples of food photography: in magazines, on Instagram, on other restaurant websites (shhh, we won’t tell!). This will give you an idea of what you like and what’s achievable. Then, practice. Play around with what you have available in your restaurant. Do you have visually appealing tables? A great from above shot would be perfect. Is your restaurant clean, cute, and empty in the morning? Get a shot from the side that also shows off your restaurant’s atmosphere. Here is a great article about different angles for food photography and how to achieve them.

3. Presentation

Here’s the thing: your food is going to look as good as it looks. You can take an amazing photo, but if it’s haphazardly arranged on the plate, it’s still just going to look like it's haphazardly arranged on the plate. Focusing on how your food is presented—from the plate itself to how everything is arranged—is going to improve how your food looks. This is a great article on how to improve presentation for photography.

4. Editing

There are tons of photo editing apps out there. How do you know what’s right to choose? We have two favorites here at Waitrainer+: A Color Story and VSCO. A Color Story is particularly easy to use, with intuitive features like filters as well as manual adjustments (like contrast, lighting, and perspective). Playing around with both apps will give you a good idea of what you like when it comes to your photos: a dark, broodier appeal; or something light and bright.