Since the launch of Instagram a little over a decade ago, anyone with an iPhone can fancy themselves a food photographer. Scroll through anyone’s feed – your friend, your boss, your next-door neighbour – and you’d be guaranteed to spot a brunch or cocktail picture somewhere. However, whilst it’s easy enough to capture food photography, it’s not so easy to do this well.

For the hospitality industry, capturing good content is key for marketing purposes. A venue’s Instagram is one of the first places a customer will look before deciding whether to visit, therefore already making opinions about a venue before even having set foot in the door. To capture good content, there are many factors that need to be considered.

We here are Me:Mo love writing a good shoot brief, and deciding on the creative direction for the photography. Taking on all these tips can lead to beautiful feeds just like those from Tao Tao Ju, Pavilion, and Turnips.

Here are Me:Mo’s top tips to capturing the best restaurant photography:

Clear direction

One of the most important, if not the most important, elements of capturing good content is having a clear brief for the photographer to work from. Often restaurant photoshoots are carried out in only half a day, so time is precious and having a clear direction is key to ensure the best restaurant photography is captured. Before a photoshoot brief is written, a creative brainstorm session should take place with the photographer, the restaurant marketing team and the creative agency facilitating the shoot. ‘What is the purpose of the upcoming shoot?’ ‘Are there specific dishes that need to be captured?’ ‘Do we need to capture video content for Reels?’ are just a few of the questions that should crop up in a brainstorm. The discussion should then be transcribed into a detailed brief that includes timings & specifics.


Good lighting

As a rule of thumb, if you can shoot in indirect natural light – then do it! The key benefit of indirect natural light, especially when shooting food, is that it will show the colours and texture of the products is the most beautiful way. When not possible to shoot in natural light, consider shooting in the morning or shooting near a window of a restaurant. For venues where it’s a bit trickier, make sure the photographer has suitable lighting props with them, whether this be a lightbox – great for capturing product shots – or other portable lighting. Ensure the photography knows a little about the venue ahead of the shoot, so they can plan lighting appropriately.

It’s all in the details

To capture the best restaurant photography possible, it’s important to think of even the smallest details. Keep in mind the purpose of the shoot and the end destination of the imagery. Will the images be used on the Instagram feed? Ensure your backdrops or surfaces fit with the aesthetic of the feed. Perhaps you need to capture content for Press? Make sure to get a strong image in landscape format. If shooting hot food – like pizza – or food that tends to melt – like ice cream – be sure to capture these as soon as they are either cooked or taken out of the freezer to ensure the image reflects how the food would be presented when served.

Finally, and very importantly, make sure to have fun! Capturing good content, especially in the hospitality industry, is a great excuse to get creative and have fun with everyone’s favourite thing – food! If you’d like to learn more about the photography services offered at Me:Mo, please drop us a message here.

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