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  • Writer's pictureDavid B Townsend

Great Food Photos-Tips for Social Media Marketing

Updated: Apr 19

 In today's food-service business, a robust marketing plan with frequent updates on social media is crucial. If you're using a phone or point-n-shoot camera and just shooting in natural or overhead light, you're likely not making a lasting impression on anyone scrolling through an Instagram search. To truly stand out, you need high-quality photos and a well-thought-out styling plan that gives your restaurant a 'branded look'. This will not only distinguish and sell your food service concept but also elevate your branding and marketing from average to extraordinary. Professional food photography is the key to achieving this. It tells a story, motivates potential guests, and introduces regulars to new menu items. Here are a few Tips for Social Media Marketing you can implement quickly and with professional results 

1] Set up a permanent light box or shoot area in your restaurant. The key light, side light, and backlight need to be preset for the food to pop.

2] Use a close-up lens to get close and show off your entree—some photographers, however, like the compressed look of a long-lens shot from a distance. 

3] Focus on the front of the item on the plate and blur out the background. To do this, use a tripod to get a very narrow depth of field (f22) at a slower shutter speed; that's why you need a tripod! Anything below 1/60th shutter speed means you can not hold a camera still without the picture coming out blurred. 

[story continues below picture]

4] It is helpful to set up a scenario in the background, mainly if you are showcasing a particular dish- a heap of fries in a basket at the back, but not the focal point — a Japanese teapot and cup at the end of a Tofu Miso soup or Asian green salad. It helps tell a story about your cuisine and creates intrigue. 

5] Use a plain white background- as you progress, you may want to up the ante with darker or all-black backgrounds and plates for dramatic effects and innovative plate presentations

Lastly, always remember that plate presentations are a crucial part of food styling. The way you present your food on the plate can significantly enhance the overall dining experience for your guests. So, always strive to make your food look as appealing as it tastes. 


[Compare the two steak shots. The left is one that shows off the Niman Ranch, New York, with simple yet colorful contrasts. The one on the right has too much similar color and texture, too much stacking going on, and is dull and not great

The Steak & Lobster- although a bit over the top, it was done to prove a point- "Tell A Story". It evokes a bit of the beach-side BBQ of seafood and meat, if you catch my wave.

(sorry for the Pun)

story update: April 19, 2024

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