How Important Is Professional Photography for Your Restaurant?

There are millions of food pictures on Instagram at this very moment. In fact, there’s a psychology behind “foodstagramming” that restaurateurs shouldn’t ignore. People like to share where they are, how good their food looks, and whether it lives up to the hype. 

When you’re in the restaurant business, it’s not enough to let your customers share pictures for you. It’s also not enough to pull out your smartphone, snap a few dishes, and call it a day. 

While we do live in a mobile world where smartphone pictures have become the norm, professional photography is still needed for restaurants. Especially during COVID and in these months of transition, showcasing professional pictures of your atmosphere and your food can start to bring patrons back. 

So, if you’ve never considered using professional photos in your business before, now is the perfect time to start, and to highlight your establishment unforgettably. 

Making the Most of Your Marketing

Food photography should be a crucial component of your marketing strategy. It can help you to further establish your restaurant and build a better brand. People will start to associate you with your food when your marketing is done the right way. Plus, using pictures of your restaurant and food on social media is a great way to get noticed and spark digital conversations. Consider the fact that nearly 50 percent of diners are influenced by social media. Simply put, if they see something they like, they’re more than likely to make the trip to your establishment to get it. 

But, chances are you got into the restaurant business to manage or cook, not to market. It’s often worth it to hire a marketing manager who knows how to strategize and build your brand by:

  • Planning campaigns and specific messaging
  • Spearheading promotional events
  • Researching current marketing trends
  • Optimizing your website and social media pages
  • Managing SEO
  • Developing strategies to grow your brand

A qualified marketing manager should already understand the importance of professional pictures. They’ll be happy to utilize them on your website, social media, and even more traditional marketing platforms to make sure your brand is being promoted at every level. Especially now, when more people are ordering food online, a marketing manager can help to make sure every menu item has an appropriate photo and your digital ordering system is running smoothly. 

Making Your Food Irresistible

In some cases, whoever you hire to take care of marketing could be an experienced photographer, themselves. Or, you might consider outsourcing a freelance photographer to regularly take updated photos.

If you really want to be able to snap a fantastic-looking picture at any time, however, it can be worth it to learn the basics of professional photography on your own.

There are so many things to learn about photographing food well that people snapping photos on smartphones don’t typically think about. When you start to dive into the world of food photography, you’ll learn more about: 

  • Lighting
  • Staging
  • Focus
  • Location

While you want to show your dishes in their truest form, food photography allows you to take some liberties when it comes to how you present a dish and how you edit the final photo. You don’t want to “fool” your customers by making an item into something they won’t receive when they order. Instead, you want to make your dishes seem craveable and irresistible.

It will take time, patience, and a lot of practice to develop food photography skills. But, if you’re passionate about showing off your creations, they are skills worth having. It puts you in control and allows you to bring out details of your dishes that people might not otherwise see. 

Building Diner Trust

Because we do live in a world where people are quick to snap food photos on their own,  most consumers actively go searching for pictures of whatever dishes your restaurant has to offer. If the best thing they can find is a  dark, underexposed, or fuzzy picture of last week’s special, you’re going to face a problem. 

Not only is that bad marketing and branding, but it can damage the trust you build with a patron before they even enter the restaurant. 

Yes, professional food photography and trust can go hand-in-hand.  

People can be pretty picky about their personal tastes. They want to have a great dining experience wherever they go. Think of the food your restaurant provides as a first impression. Once that impression is made, it’s hard for anyone to get it out of their head. You wouldn’t go to a job interview dressed in torn jeans and a t-shirt, because it would tarnish your interviewer’s impression. So, why share photos of food you’re passionate about that don’t show how great it really is?

Professional photographs of your food set a positive first impression. It makes your food,  and your establishment, seem credible and trustworthy. That’s the opinion you want your patrons to walk in with before they even take a bite.

In this Instagram-savvy world, professional food photography is still an absolute need for restaurants that want their food to shine and their business to stand out. Make sure you’re including photography in your marketing strategy, and let the highlighted beauty of your dishes build your success.