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How to Take Great Food Photos for your Restaurant

Have you ever walked past a restaurant and been surrounded by the smell of delicious food? Some people make a mental note to try the restaurant and some even walk in to get a taste right away. That’s a powerful sales tool if we’ve ever seen one.

While a website may not be able to translate the power of smell, it can captivate potential customers with stunning food visuals that make them want to experience it themselves. In the online world, consumers “eat with their eyes” and having quality food photography can make a huge difference when someone is browsing through websites trying to determine where they want to eat. 

Why Website Photography Matters

As a restaurant owner, you’ve worked hard to make food that tastes great, and your website should accurately represent the dishes you’ve created. The best way to do that is through great photography. You don’t have to have a fancy camera, a smartphone is enough, but you do need to be a good photographer. The key is to be thoughtful about the photos, including the dishes you choose, lighting and angles that best represent them. 

Your website is the most important place for your restaurant and food photography to live since it’s usually where online visitors are deciding to order from you. Think of it as your argument to an online visitor for why they should eat at your restaurant over your competition. 

The photos should highlight your different menu items, but should also capture your storefront, restaurant interior, and even your team! All of these visuals are important in building your brand and enticing someone to eat at your restaurant. Together they help tell a story of what your restaurant has to offer. 

Tips for Taking Great Photos 

Now that we understand why website photography is so important, how do you make it happen? 

The first step is making sure your camera or smartphone isn’t damaged and can capture clear photos. You don’t need the latest or most expensive gear, just a high-quality camera, and good taste.

If you're not confident in your abilities, get a relative or friend or someone local to help out. One option is to look for local food bloggers and Instagrammers that post restaurant photos. They may be a perfect fit to come to take photos and may even do it in exchange for free food. Once your photographer is set, here are Fisherman’s top tips for capturing that mouth-watering feel:

  • Lighting is key, and natural light always looks best. Try shooting photos near the window during the daytime
  • Make sure to take a variety of shots and angles of your restaurant, showcasing what the dining experience will be
  • Focus on the food when capturing your dishes, try not to have distracting backgrounds, the food should be the center of the shot
  • Mix up your angles, overhead shots look great but mix up the positioning for a more interesting set of photos
  • Be thoughtful about what’s in the photo’s background, if it doesn’t add to the overall dish you don’t need it! 
  • Avoid people in the photos unless it’s a team shot
  • Avoid strong shadows
  • Add a bit of water or oil to the dish before taking the photo to make it glisten to trigger that mouth-watering effect 
  • Avoid adding text to the photo itself, label the dish on the website itself 
  • Repost your content on social platforms

Getting Your Photos Online 

So you have great photos, now what? Capturing great images is the most important step, but uploading incorrect sizes or file types can undo all that hard work. Here are some things to keep in mind when editing or uploading your photos:

  • Make sure you are saving the jpg or png. Almost all photos taken with a smartphone or digital camera are already in these formats.
  • Don’t exceed the max of 10 MB size to ensure a faster load time
  • The minimum photo size for main profile photos should be 1280w x 720h pixels
  • The minimum photo size for gallery photos should be 512w x 512h pixels

If you view the photo on your computer, make sure you can expand the size of the image with the resolution being preserved. This is a trick to know how it will look good when uploaded onto websites. 

While we believe that any business owner is more than capable of going through these steps themselves, we also know time is money. That’s why we help connect our clients to local photographers that can take great photos and edit them to be website optimized. 

If you need a website to get started, or want to upgrade to a website style that is as polished as your photography, submit your contact info below and we’ll build a preview website for you for free! Now that’s a deal worth drooling over.

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