There is a lot more to planning a professional food photo shoot than you might think. It takes careful planning to create the restaurant advertising that you see on billboards, flyers, social media and much more. Here are a few steps a photographer or agency should implement to help make the photo shoot more efficient.
Clarify the Message
The first step when planning a professional food photo shoot is to understand what message your client wants to send. You can do this by conducting a meeting prior to the shoot. Whether they are highlighting a new menu item or launching seasonal items, make sure you understand their goals. It is the photographer’s job to make sure the message is clear in the photos. In addition, make sure that you understand the brand’s color story. For example, we frequently photograph Papa Gyros and always use their signature blue as accents and keep their authentic Greek traditions in mind.
Add Visual Interest
Once you’ve covered the previous step, it’s time to think about props. Understanding your message will help you determine what props you’ll need. If you want to showcase a new menu item, you may just want a clean wood cutting board. If your goal is to have more customers dine in, you may want to use a clean white plate, napkin, nice flatware, and a beverage. This will help to create the feeling of the customer dining in at your restaurant. Keep in mind, it is always a good idea to have extra props and accessories to add or take away from any scene.
You understand your message, you have props, but how will you choose your background? I wanted to showcase a couple of different options that we have found work really well.
First, just a simple black background really makes your menu item pop out. The eye can fully concentrate on the details of the food as there are no competing elements to distract. This is a great idea for new menu items or menu items with a lot of visual interest. (Check out all the layers one that burger!)
Another great way to showcase a new menu item is with ingredient accents. This gives the customer a way to almost see a before and after. Visually seeing the finished product lets them feel behind the scenes and apart of the process. It also highlights the fact that you use fresh ingredients like displayed in the two examples below.
Appetizers and Entrées
This choice creates a scene and a sense of being with a group of people (or in this case, a Fiesta!). You can still highlight one menu item but adding appetizers and additional entrées burred out of focus (bokeh) in the background. This is a very visually interesting style and can be very fun and colorful depending on your food or plate ware.
Similarly, this background type relies on good bokeh! With the menu item as the main focal point, the background becomes a blurred out showcase of your restaurant. In the pictures below you can see the bar taps and some of the elements that make Roosters Canton a fun, casual place! It creates interest in the photo without distracting from the main menu item.
Last but not least, seasonal backgrounds can be really fun to create as long as they don’t stray far from your brand. In these examples, you can see some seasonal elements like pumpkins/pinecones or the plaid picnic cloth (still featuring that beautiful bokeh). They obviously are not the object of the photo but they help to convey the message that it’s the holiday season or summertime and Old Carolina Barbecue Company has a new entree for everyone to enjoy!
Which background option will work best for your business? Well, first you need to take time to nail step one and two. Or better yet…have experts, like us, do it for you! We have plenty of experience planning a professional food photo shoot. Check out our full photography portfolio, then head over to our contact page to get ahold of us today.