Louis Hansel

The Art Of Photography

How to Take Better Photos of Your Restaurant's Dishes and Attract More Customers

August 22, 2021

I don't need to go through a three thousand-word blog post to say how a good light source is crucial for photography. 

Everybody suggests it. However, there is much more to explore to get you started taking good pictures of your menu and attracting more customers to your restaurant.

The reality is that you need to know the fundamentals, and in this post, I'll show you which are they. And by the way, you don't even need to invest in a high-end professional camera. You can do a lot with your smartphone.

A girl with a smartphone taking a photo of some food dishes.

What Should You Practice to Take Better Photos of Your Menu's Dishes?

Yes, it takes practice to take good pictures automatically. A little daily effort is what you need. It can be when your customer's order goes to the table or even with your meal, during the lunch break.

The question is what to practice. As I already mentioned, the fundamentals are more than necessary, so let's cover them enough for you to get your camera ready for the next photo session.

Man with a camera taking photos.

Practice Different Angles

Many angles can be relevant at the time of your menu photoshoot. Each session can be different, so you need to develop an analytical eye for each time.

Imagine that you serve dishes on deep plates, and now you also want to serve delicious burgers in your restaurant. You take your camera and think of some photos to show them on your social media platforms.

You aim to attract more customers to try them out.

Burger and person behind it taking a photo.

For dishes on deep plates, you know a 90-degree (High angle view/top-down) angle is more appropriate, but what about your new burgers? Does the same angle apply?

A 45-degree angle is much more suitable than a 90-degree angle for burgers. My tip is to keep in mind what you want to show the most for your customers. It could be the number of ingredients, how fresh your dishes are, or even how 100% vegetarian they are.

Practice the Position of Your Components

For your menu, you want to make the chosen dish the star of the party.

There are cases where it is okay to highlight the ingredients used to prepare the dish, however, avoid shifting the focus to other parts of the frame. Many photographers don't care about the background. I take it very seriously.

Time to touch a little at angles again because, after all, everything is connected. When you use a point ranging from 0 to 75 degrees, you may be showing a lot of the background. Ask yourself what makes it up and if it makes sense to include it in the photograph.

Man taking photos of a table with dishes.

Sometimes a toilet door or someone on the phone makes me rethink the background. Trust me. You don't want to have your beautiful dish with a toilet door right there on the back like a security guard. 

Play with different angles or move the dish to another table, and try to match the background. Some trial and error, and you'll nail it.

On the table, be minimalist. Use some elements, one of them being the dish, which is our protagonist, and the rest serving as a highlight for it. For example, you could be using cutlery, spices, or human interactions.

Woman taking photos of a food table.

Practice on Different Types of Lights

We'd be nothing without light, and photography would be nothing either. But the point is, there are better lights than others when it comes to photographing your restaurant's menu.

I particularly avoid shooting with artificial light. Many photographers use it, and the photos are amazing, but I prefer natural light most of the time, and you should go near the windows too.

Your goal might be to make some quick posts on social media. If you want to take some pictures to post and don't have time, go ahead where it suits you best. Keep in mind to analyze the angles and components around.

Keep practicing...

Here we are. I just shared with you my fundamentals on taking better menu photos. The key is to take many images and have a bit of patience. You'll get there, and maybe we'll even shoot together one day.

If you don't have a professional camera, it's okay. As I said, use the camera on your phone and have some fun while exploring your delicious dishes in a new engaging way.

Cheers!