• Group 8590

3 tips for diy food photography for your restaurant.

There are two kinds of photo shoot for restaurants, the first is an advertising shoot and the second is a content shoot. The first is way more expensive than the second and the second can still cost a few thousand dollars if done right.

Food Algorithm has decided to put together the 3 essential tips you need to know to produce some good quality content and images for your restaurant using food photography.


Lighting is everything in photos and video (think about all the lighting that goes into shooting a movie), as such, that is why you will often see multiple light stands and light boxes at these professional food photoshoots in order to recreate the perfect mood and effects.

The best DIY solution for food photography is quite easy, shoot your food in natural daylight. Wait for a nice, clear and bright day and shoot the items you need next to a window that gets plenty of light while avoiding shadows.

Here are some examples of what NOT to do for lighting in food photography:

This picture was taken under a heat lamp which makes everything look yellow and burnt. Don't shoot items on the pass and avoid any colored lighting.

This image was taken with a high flash causing over exposure. Don't shoot with a flash and if you need to, don't take the picture, wait for a time where you can use proper daylight.

Two things are wrong here, the lighting is bad as it is artificial lighting that makes everything look bland and you can see the shadow of the phone which ruins the picture.

The angle used to shoot this photo was not thought out, do not shoot against the source of light as everything you will capture will be within a shadow. Shoot with the source of light or complimentary to it.

You will notice that the plate is covered by a large shadow, blocking the source of light which makes the food look somber.

Here are a few examples of great shots of food photography taken with phones and without lighting rigs. These pictures were not edited neither. (pictures taken by Food Algorithm)

Plating and Ingredients

Many restaurant owners would say that this goes without saying but this happens in food photography way too often to be overlooked. It is the basis of the end result, without executing this properly, the final product will look terrible. Here are some quick tips on what to shoot and how to plate it during a food photoshoot:

  • Use fresh, high quality ingredients

  • Use additional ingredients that will make the photo pop with color

  • Place the ingredients on the plate in a way that they compliment each other

  • Place the ingredients on the plate in a way that they compliment the lighting source

  • Make the plate look mouth watering without being overdone.

  • Think about what you want the photo to look like before you start shooting. Create a shot list for each item.

  • Make the plate and photos look natural, compliment the plate with things you would normally see at the restaurant table.

  • Shoot from many angles and from different distances.

  • Take more pictures than you need, that way, you will not feel bad about deleting all the bad ones. You really need to delete the bad ones - DON'T USE THEM!

  • Take your time and be a perfectionist.

Here are some examples of what NOT to do in food photography followed with a comparative image that Food Algorithm took :

As you can see from the picture, it does not invite the viewer to a wonderful culinary experience. Omitting the background and that the two cups are on the main plate, the issues with this picture is quality control. Look at the lemon wedge, the fries look soggy and cold, the sauce is not full and the slaw looks like it was compacted in there and then sprinkled with what looks like carrots.

As you can see in this picture, the fries are golden, properly laid out and all the same size, the sauce is glistening, the setting is inviting, the colors are bright and the overall feel is mouth watering.

As you can see, these Jalapeno Poppers are overcooked, cracked and laid out in a way that makes them look like they are poor quality.

An interesting way to shoot fried finger foods is to break it down and shoot it as people would eat it with the rest of the plate as a background. This picture shows the item clearly, it is inviting and mouth watering as well as showcases how it should be eaten.

The main issue with this food photo is the plating used, it makes the food look drab, low quality and low quantity. The table could also be cleaned.

A photo of a salad should be colorful, light and bright. It should be bountiful while making people think of freshness and beautiful aromas.

Photo Quality

This part of food photography is fairly easy as it is about how you setup your mobile to shoot properly. Most new smart phones now have a "pro" photography version which lets you shoot in really high-res. That also allows you to edit the photo if you need to. With the tips from above, you don't necessarily need that but you should definitely shoot in hi-res so you can get photos that are 3mb-5mb. This will allow the photo to be used on all digital platforms without becoming distorted or blurry. The platforms will resize accordingly so don't worry about being "too big". This will give you a final product that is crisp, clean and provides the look and feel you want.

Here are some pictures that were not taken properly:

You will notice that the picture is not quite clear and that some elements are stretched out. That is because the photo is too small.

Here is another example of a photo that is not crisp and clean. The photo was taken in low-res and as such cannot be used without losing its quality.

You can see the difference here using the same items and phones but shot with the proper resolution (lighting and plating is also improved):

Now you know it is possible to shoot good quality photos of your restaurant food and menu without compromising, high expenses or additional equipment. You can also drop us a line and we can do the food photography for you. Good Luck!

9 views0 comments
  • Social Media For Restaurants
  • Black Instagram Icon

Office : 416-548-4262

  • Social Media For Restaurants
  • Social Media For Restaurants