Basics: food photography

Social media is here to stay, and your customers are expecting to find photos of your menu offerings. Give them what they're looking for without spending a fortune on a professional photographer by following these simple tips.

Setting: Pick a simple, plain background or tablecloth. Use plates whose color contrasts with or harmonizes with your food, but not ones that are the same color.

Light: The ideal set-up is next to a large window, with a white curtain to diffuse the light. Don’t be tempted to use your flash.

Color balance: Especially in situations where natural light is unavailable, your photos can have a yellow or blue cast that makes food look terrible. Use the white balance setting on your camera, or adjust the color digitally later on.

Don’t move: Hold still. In low-light situations like restaurants and kitchens, long exposures will register any camera movement as blur. Use a tripod whenever possible.

Shoot a lot: Move around the food and see what angle looks best.

Zoom in: Fill the frame with the food, so the viewer can almost taste it.

Preparation: Don’t forget to take pictures of the process. Sometimes making the food (chopping, cooking) can be as interesting as the final product.

Be quick: The faster you take pictures of the food, the fresher it will look.


Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Neary 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


Podcast transcript: Virtual Dining Brands co-founder Robbie Earl

A Deeper Dive: What is the future of digital-only concepts? Earl discusses their work to ensure quality and why focusing on restaurant delivery works.


In the fast-casual sector, Chipotle laps Panera Bread

The Bottom Line: The two fast-casual restaurant pioneers have diverged over the past five years, as the burrito chain has thrived while Panera hit a wall. Here's why.


More from our partners