Apart from serving delicious food, offering promotions and good customer service, another important step to running a successful online food business is the ability to showcase attractive photos of your food that can entice customers to place an order. If your digital menu is not outstanding enough, there is a lower chance of conversion – relevant for new customers who have yet to try your food.
Hence, food photography is an important aspect of running an online food business, and getting it right during the initial phase can help your food business tremendously. This is because aside from using high-quality photos of your dishes to spice up the appeal of your food, these food pictures can be part of your marketing collateral such as posting it on social media, or incorporating it into flyers. So it’s a win-win for the business.
6 Basic Food Photography Tips
Of course, most professional food photographers would have gone through courses and have a wealth of experience in this field. And to reach that level requires a lot of time and practice, but there are six basic fundamentals to food photography that all food business owners should know for a start:
- Use natural light
Natural light is perfect for food photography as it gives your dish a natural look, which is best to portray freshness.
Tip: Take your photos near a window at an indoor setting, and in a shaded area on a sunny day if taken outdoors. Try to avoid using flash because it creates harsh shadows that can make your dish look less appealing.
- Use natural light
- Experiment with different angles
Different angles give a different mood to your food dishes, which can have an impact on the final outcome. Try capturing your food from different angles to find one that best suits your food dishes and style.
Tip: Try shooting from above to show the entire dish (flay lay format), or capturing it from the side, that can be a close up shot of your dish, which can better present the texture of it.
- Choose the right background
Backgrounds can either enhance or form a distraction from the food itself. Try to select backgrounds that are simple and uncluttered, without having too many elements like graphic icons that can steal the attention away from your food.
Tip: Using a plain background like white or light-coloured background tends to work better as your food dishes will be the focus of the photo.
- Edit your photos for enhancement
Adjusting your photos can improve its overall quality, making them look more appealing. Use a photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop that allows you to adjust the photo’s lighting, colour, and composition.
Tip: Do not over edit your food pictures because it can turn out looking fake and unappealing.
- Develop your own unique style
Having a unique style can help to set your online food business apart from competitors who are in the same niche.
Tip: Experiment with different techniques and approaches to develop your own style, and what aligns best with your online food business branding.
- Food styling
Apart from finding the right angle, it is also important to know how to style your food by arranging it in the most appealing way.
Tip: Learn how to style food for photography through conducting research by reading food photography books, watch food styling video tutorials, and apply the learnings through practice and experiments.
By mastering the above six food photography tips, you should become a fairly decent food photographer in no time. And who knows, with a combination of creativity, a good eye for detail and composition, you might become a professional food photographer as a side hustle!
What Camera do Food Photographers Use?
Now that you learnt about food photography tips, the next step is to find out more about equipment. Generally, food photographers use a variety of cameras, ranging from DSLR cameras, compact cameras and mirrorless cameras, depending on the specific requirements of the shoot.
But the number one rule of thumb is that all cameras should offer a high resolution coupled with a good low-light performance. Additionally, the choice of camera should allow you to set precise adjustments on its settings like white balance and exposure.
In terms of lens, typically there are two types to consider based on the experimentation of different angles that was discussed above:
Macro lens – Close-up shots of your subject (food or ingredients, etc.)
Wide-angle lens – Capture the full subject (e.g. flat lay photography)
How Do You Take Professional Food Pictures with Your Phone?
Using mobile phones for food photography can be an alternative to traditional cameras, considering how smartphone technology has advanced over the years. While performance is not 100% comparable, it might be good enough for a start if you are just embarking on your food business journey and there is a budget constraint.
Similar to the six tips shared above, taking a professional-looking picture for your food business will also require the right lighting, experimenting with angles and potentially requiring some editing. And one advantage of mobile food photography is that all of it can be achieved on the phone since there are also photo editing applications for mobile.
How Important is Food Styling?
Food styling is one of the six basic food photography tips shared above. So, food styling is definitely important if you want to achieve the best outcome for your food pictures.
With food styling, it is all about presenting your food in the best way possible to make it visually appealing since the way how it is presented can have an impact on the perceived taste and quality of it.
Understanding the angle with your camera is one thing, knowing the techniques and tricks to make food look at its best is also another skill. For example, using food-safe glues to prevent your food subject from moving or using a particular lighting to showcase the food’s best textures or features.
You should consider using props to add a spin to your food photos. Some examples like placemats, garnishes, or utensils, can enhance the visual interest in your food photos or help to tell a story about your food dish.
Food photography can be considered an art that requires certain skills and understanding of both camera functionalities and food compositions. With practice, it can definitely be a key element of your online food business since it is able to best portray your dishes in the most appealing manner.
Once you have your food pictures ready, be sure to check out both Shopboxo’s restaurant page for inspirations and its online store builder to create your online food store. Choose a theme that best suits your brand identity. Update your food listings with photos and price, set up your payment and delivery methods and your online food store is ready to go live!
Frequently Asked Questions About Food Photography
What makes a good food image?
To be considered as a good image, it not only has to be visually appealing, but also be able to accurately represent the food. A good food image should capture the essence of it, enticing customers to want to taste it.
What should you not do in food photography?
There are several things to avoid in food photography:
- Avoid using poor lighting
- Not taking background or backdrop into consideration
- Poor food styling
- Doing the photoshoot hastily and not willing to experiment with angles, lighting, etc.
What is the best filter for food photos?
There is no particular filter that is considered best for food photography. The choice of filter largely depends on how you want to showcase your food dishes and the mood you are going after. However, there are some filters specifically for food in photo editing apps that you can test it out for a start.