Tips to Take Great Restaurant Photography
The key to restaurant photography is knowing the menu and the food and the menu is often a reflection of the restaurant. Some restaurants put a lot of thought into their menus and offer interesting options, but most are fairly standard with dishes such as chicken, steaks and pasta. Knowing the restaurant and its style will help guide you in your choice of location and pose, so it’s worth spending time researching the place.
Restaurants, like other businesses, change their style and decor year on year, so research where the new trends are. You can also take your time finding the perfect spot. There are many options – from quiet and intimate to bustling and hectic. Find a spot that suits you and your client. You can take photos on the main floor or in an alcove. There is no one single best pose for a shot, so experiment and see what works best.
If you are photographing a menu, the simplest pose for an image of a plate of food is either sitting it down on a table or setting it in front of the customer. It’s a simple shot and, although there are plenty of ways to position the subject, there are only two options.
One is standing, so that the food looks inviting and appealing. In this case, the viewer will be drawn to it. This is a classic composition and the simplest shot. It has the advantage of being straightforward, but the disadvantage is that it isn’t dynamic. The second option is to stand behind the food and shoot it over the diner’s shoulder. This has the advantage of being a more flattering angle, but the downside is that it doesn’t give the viewer much to look at. The trick is to find a balance between the two and see what works best for your client.
If you are shooting a dish, there are lots of poses that can be used to highlight different aspects of the food, including plating, presentation and ingredients. Again, use your imagination and don’t be afraid to be creative. You can include the server or chef, but if you are shooting a simple dish, you are better off shooting it from the side. You can get some interesting poses by shooting the dish off camera, so it is easy for you to adjust. This gives the dish a human element that is not always possible to achieve by having it sitting directly on a table.
If you are shooting a menu, then you will need to do a bit of planning. One of the first things to consider is whether it is better to have the menu as a shot on its own or integrated into the layout. You could create a photo of the whole menu using the shot of the page as the backdrop and framing the menu in the background. Alternatively, you could choose a single dish from the menu, shoot it in a simple pose and then add the menu into the picture.
If you are using props, you can go for a classic pose or try something unusual. For instance, a simple shot of a cake in the centre of the table might be attractive. But if you are shooting a steak, you could include a knife in the shot. The most important thing is to find a way of adding some personality and interest to the shot, while keeping the overall composition simple.
To make sure your photos come out as planned, have a digital copy of the photos taken off the camera and check them out immediately. You will probably want to edit them to make them sharper and more in focus, but even before that, you can crop and straighten the pictures. If you are taking a lot of shots, it can be a good idea to take a few practice shots, to check that your camera settings are correct. It is a good idea to review the photos later, to check whether they were successful.
Get the Right Equipment
You don’t need an expensive camera or lens to shoot great restaurant photos, but do make sure that you have a camera with manual settings so that you can take control over your shots. If you’re not familiar with manual settings, this is a great place to start learning about them.
Lighting Is Key
When shooting food in restaurants, one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to lighting and composition. You want your shot to look appetizing, but also realistic — which means keeping things simple in terms of lighting and composition by avoiding harsh shadows or reflections and making sure your shot isn’t too cluttered with unnecessary items around the plate of food (like napkins and cutlery).
Choose the right time of day
The best time of day to shoot is early in the morning or later in the evening when there’s low light. It’s easier to get a good exposure and the food will look more appetizing.
Use a tripod and timer when shooting portraits
This way you’re not touching your camera while taking pictures so you can get a sharp image every time without worrying about camera shake ruining your shot! It also enables you to take multiple shots without having to wait for each one (which could take several minutes).
– Think about how you want your subject to look like when you’re framing them up for an image. For example, if you’re taking pictures of ice cream, place it on a white plate so that it looks clean and bright in the photo.
– Try different angles when taking photographs of food — this will give your images more variety and make them more interesting!