How to Take Beautiful Restaurant Menu Food Photography

Food photography and restaurant menus are two of the most challenging and rewarding areas to work in. The challenge is that it is so easy to go wrong when taking a picture of a menu.

The reward comes from working out how to make the food look good, appealing and exciting, whilst making sure the design looks good and works. It can be a fine balance between trying to make the food look attractive and inviting whilst being careful to not detract from the design of the overall look of the menu.

If you’re looking for some food photography inspiration, take a look at these beautiful menus and images.

Here are some tips for photographing menus and other forms of printed material:

1. Make the subject come alive

Photographs of food always work best when the food is really fresh. It is much easier to photograph dishes that look appetizing. This also applies to photographs of food on menus. Take a look at the dishes on the menu, think about how you could photograph them and then choose one which appeals to you.

2. Choose a bright backdrop

If you are photographing food on a menu or a printed piece of text, make sure you have a really good background. If you are using a dark backcloth, the subject will appear very small and the food will be difficult to see.

3. Use the best light

When you are taking photos of food, you need to use the best possible lighting. In the morning, a good place to take pictures of food is the kitchen area. This is where the chefs will be cooking. This is where the best light comes from, as the sun is shining directly on them.

Try to take your photos during a window of opportunity and as soon as possible after the chefs finish cooking. If you can, take the pictures outside, but ensure there is a good shadow to balance out the sunlight.

4. Don’t touch the food

Taking a photo of food is always interesting. It gives you a unique view into the kitchen and the chefs and staff are usually friendly. However, it can be tricky if you touch the food or change anything.

You will be able to capture the essence of the dish, but the image will no longer look natural and will end up being quite ‘posed’ looking.

5. Make sure it is clean

When you are photographing food, make sure it is really clean. It should be free from grease and mess. If you are using a digital camera, set the settings to auto exposure and auto focus. These will ensure that the pictures are of a good standard.

Take a look at your shots and delete any you don’t like.

6. Take a selection of shots

Don’t try to photograph every dish on the menu. The fewer the better. Try to pick out a few that appeal to you and look good.

Remember that you can always crop the images afterwards.

7. Make sure it looks professional

Ensure that the images look professional. They are not just a series of photographs of the food. If you are a food photographer, you should know how to take pictures of food.

8. When it comes to photographing a restaurant menu, look at the whole image.

A restaurant menu doesn’t have a lot of space. It is usually quite small, and you need to make sure you capture the entire page in your shot. This means ensuring that you include the entire menu, including the ingredients, prices, and nutritional information. The colours of the different dishes should also be included.

9. Experiment with the lighting.

The lighting in the restaurant can be tricky, as the room will be naturally lit and there will not be a lot of control over the amount of light coming in. This means you will have to experiment with the direction of the light. There are many different ways you can go with this, and you should play around with the lighting until you find one that looks interesting.

10. Ensure that there are no distractions.

If you find yourself distracted when shooting a menu, you will not get the best shot. Try to ensure there are no other people or objects in the shot, so you can focus completely on the task.