How To Take Beautiful Food Photos When Dining Out
Scrolling through Instagram you might be seeing all those cute restaurant photos and wondering, ‘how in the world do I make my food look that good?’, right? Just so you know - it’s actually attainable if you just follow these simple steps. ALL of these steps. If you skip one - you'll end up still wondering what the secret formula is, and why your photos don't look as good.
1. Go to the restaurant during the day. You’ll want to take advantage of daylight.
But what if you go out at night? What if you have a day job?
Make it work! The key to taking those gorgeous photos that can sell any plate of food is natural light - and if that means eating out more "for the blog", it's a sacrifice worth making. Someone has to do the hard work, right?
2. Try to go to the restaurant during off-peak hours when there aren't many other people.
People get in the way of your photos. And you get in the way of people when you're taking photos. It's inevitable that photographing during peak hours will lead to unnecessary complications.
4. Pay attention to what area of the restaurant has the best natural light (think even, soft light - no harsh rays or dark spots - usually next to a window) and ask to sit in that area.
You can also try patios for even, natural light if the interior is too dark. Obviously this is contingent upon good weather.
3. Let your server know you plan on taking photos.
They can help recommend photogenic dishes and/or help you with some of the details. They should want to portray the restaurant in the best light (no pun intended) and will usually go the extra mile to make sure your photos rock!
If the place is really empty don't be afraid to ask for a quick tour - they might let you sneak a photo or two of the kitchen, chef, or anything else you're interested in sharing on your blog. As long as you skip the bathrooms (and bathroom doors) ... everything is pretty much fair game for photos.
4. Place the plates of food in even light and avoid direct sunlight (cloudy days are awesome for nice clean, even window light).
It's okay if you have to completely rearrange the table. It's totally worth it.
5. Clear any clutter from the shot.
Remove napkins, condiments, etc to create a clean look that focuses on the food. If the silverware and drinks are photogenic you can definitely use them to compliment the dishes, but ONLY if they're photogenic.
Keep the shot to just the table and food on it. The easiest way to ensure a beautifully composed food photo is to avoid any chairs or other people in the shot.
6. Try different angles, as long as they don't block the light.
Be sure not to stand in between the window and table while shooting. Try a few angles like close up, from the side, and from directly above. Don’t be afraid to stand on a chair to get your shot! Just don’t fall. That would be awkward. But at least the restaurant is empty, because you followed step 2, RIGHT?
There you have it! With a little effort, you can take clean, professional images to compliment your blog. Don't be afraid to walk into a restaurant and own your blogger status - after all, any free press is an amazing gift to give, and restaurants know that!