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photography
Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

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.  

Background Elements

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.  

Standout

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!)

Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

Ingredient Accents

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.

Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

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.

Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

Restaurant Environment

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.  

Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

Seasonal

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!

Planning a Professional Food Photo Shoot

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.

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networking, sales
How to welcome new clients

I have recently been discussing networking your business to get referrals and new business. Once those turn into a business deal, do you know how to welcome new clients?


In-Person Meeting

Meeting in person still holds so much value in the business world. Many things can be confused over email and it doesn’t make for an easy business partnership if your client feels confused. Your first step should be to schedule a meeting with them to go over the basics and really explain how your process will work. This takes out any surprises because you’ll explain your business’s process and have the ability to answer their questions right then and there. You can have this meeting at your favorite local coffee shop, lunch spot or even at their office. Doesn’t matter as long as you meet in person. Don’t forget to discuss your overall goals. Let’s say you are assisting in one aspect of their business, it does not hurt to know what their big goals are. This will help keep your goals aligned with theirs.


Follow up with the Details

After your meeting, you should send a follow-up email. It should thank them for their time along with an overview of the items discussed and what the next step will be. This way they have something to reference as the process of your client relationship begins.


Be Ready and Willing to Answer Questions

Sure you had your initial meeting to answer their questions but that doesn’t mean more won’t come up along the way. You should always let them know you would be happy to answer any questions. This may seem silly but I don’t think you can ever express your willingness to answer questions enough. For example, if I send artwork to a client for approval, I almost always end with “please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.” This seems a little more welcoming than just saying “here is the draft of your artwork.”


Handwritten Thank You’s

After your first project is complete, a handwritten thank you note is a nice touch. This is something that most people don’t expect but are pleasantly surprised when they received it. You could send an email saying thank you but it really doesn’t express your true appreciation like sitting down to handwrite a card.


The most important thing to remember is you can’t be too thorough. These may seem like simple, no-brainer points but people tend to overlook the basics. You want your new client to feel like they are aware of what is happening during every part of the process and if they are unsure, you’ll be there to help. This process leads to successful on-going business relationships.

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SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The goal of SEO is to improve your ranking on platforms like Google. Helping you to rank higher in organic (non-paid) searches that are most relevant to your industry (see pictured example below). Google uses algorithms to first determine the relevance of your site and then determine the trustworthiness.

The relevance of your site is determined through the content on your site, such as text and visuals as well as the coding on your site. For example, are you answering questions people are searching for in your industry or showing images that are useful? The trustworthiness of your site comes with the popularity of your site. How many visitors are your getting and how long do they stick around to read your content?

Don’t be intimidated. Here are two things you can do today.

Be User-Friendly

First, make sure you always put your user first. If a user visits your page and it’s too slow or not functional they’ll probably leave. Which will hurt your bounce rate and could ultimately affect your SEO. Create a user-friendly site with engaging content by creating a clear hierarchy and easily understandable navigation.

Utilize ALT Attributes and Titles Tags

All of your images should have an ALT attribute which can be easily edited in the media library on a WordPress site. This will help your SEO while more importantly, helping someone understand your page content better.  As stated by Google, “ALT text improves accessibility for people who can’t see images on web pages, including users who use screen readers or have low-bandwidth connections.”

Things you Might not Know About SEO


Not interested in learning SEO? Here are two alternative options.


Use Google Ads

Remember when we talked about paid and organic reach? You can pay to come up first when people search for a particular sentence or phrase. In the example mentioned earlier, when I searched SEO these ads came up. They are in a way bypassing SEO to show first in Google’s search results.  
Things you Might not Know About SEO

Hire a Professional

Were you reading along and not comprehending a word? That’s okay. You understandably have a million other things on your plate. Hire someone that is an SEO professional. It’s their job to understand everything about SEO and how it can help you. Google is constantly changing their algorithm and a professional is going to be keeping up with these changes too.


Regardless of which option you choose, SEO is an important factor in reaching your potential audience and shouldn’t be ignored.

 

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networking

Networking for your Business
A great way to get new business is referrals. To get referrals, you need to have a network of people that know who you are and what you do. Here are a few things I have found to help when networking for your business.

Perception is everything.

If you are going to an event, you have to think about how your actions are being perceived. Show up late and people may make assumptions about your punctuality when it comes to doing business with you. It is appropriate to match your clothes to an event and most of the time, business casual is the safest option. If someone can’t tell if you are running an errand or going to a networking event, you may not be taken as seriously. If you sit on your phone through the event, you are basically saying you’re too important for what is going on.

Have business cards and use them.

Don’t be afraid to hand out your business cards to make sure people will have a way to follow up with you. Something I have always found helpful is writing a few words on someone’s card after we’re done talking. You can meet a lot of people during one event and it’s hard to remember them all. If you write a few words down from the conversation you had, there is a better chance you’ll remember what they do and most importantly, their name.

Know your product/service.

There is nothing worse than someone asking you questions about your product or service and you answer “I don’t know”. Networking is a way to share about who you are and what you do. You want to make sure you have those details covered so you are prepared to have productive conversations. These are conversations that will hopefully lead to doing business with someone.

Review your promotions, products, and sales materials before attending an event. It never hurts to be too prepared.

Be confident.

Is walking into a room full of strangers scary? Absolutely. That is why confidence is key. You are the expert of your product or service. You know how you can help people best. Remind yourself of these things before going in. It may sound silly but you will be much better at holding a good conversation with someone if you feel like the expert. It is more uncomfortable to stumble through a conversation when you keep contradicting yourself because of nerves.

When networking for your business, keep these tips in mind to help you get the most out of your experience. It’s not as scary if you do it right!

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photography

Restaurants owners have more on their plate than ever before. The “to-do” list is never-ending to ensure your business is successful. But when was the last time you crossed off a list item that will help you long term and not just right now.  The benefits of professional food photography are one of those long-term list items and let me tell you why.

Highlight Items

High-quality professional photos of your menu items allow you to showcase your food and make customers crave what you’re selling. Its common practice in the restaurant industry to draw the eye of customers to dishes that are best known, most delicious or are most profitable. To do this you must use the benefits of professional food photography.

Professional photography
Professional photography

Whether you want to highlight a signature menu item or a new offering, you need to use photos that will drive traffic to your establishment. Have you ever launched a new menu item that you thought everyone would love but it didn’t sell as well as you expected? If you didn’t use professional photography, the way your item was presented may not have been appetizing enough. Photos of deliciously styled food encourage customers to step out of their go-to orders and try new things. When you hire a professional food photographer, you are also hiring a food stylist. Together they know how to position your food to make it most appealing to your clients while also maintaining your brand integrity.

Marketing Material

Speaking of brand integrity, you will want a professional photographer to keep the photo style consistent with your brand so it seamlessly fits into your marketing material. Including photos on marketing material such as menus, table signs, billboard, etc. elevates your business quality. Showing your guest that you value the quality of the photos you market your restaurant with translates that you also value the little details. The ingredients that you source and the way you prepare menu items.

Graphic & web design

Online

Not only print marketing benefits from professional food photography but online marketing as well.  Your website should be the first thing that comes to mind with the use of your photos online. For example, a site we created for Los Girasoles (pictured below) displays large bright and colorful photos when you land on the page. These photos fit Los Girarasoles brand as well as enticing the viewer and making them hungry for a Mexican Fiesta.

Graphic & web design

But don’t stop there, use the benefits of professional food photography on your social media platforms. Stay top of mind with your fan base by posting regularly but also make them crave your food more frequently.  Delicious food photos make people hungry for what you’re offering. Have daily specials? Get people talking about them with posts that engage the viewer with delicious photos. Make them stop in their tracks and think about ordering dinner from your restaurant.

Benefits of Professional Food Photography

Now that we’ve made you sufficiently hungry are you ready to book your session with us? Head on over to our contact page and get in touch. Not ready yet? We’d love to hear what’s holding you back.

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