Food Technology

10 Tips for Getting Started With Editorial Restaurant Photography

A restaurant photography shoot of a plate of food on a wooden table

Restaurant images is usually how meals photographers begin their careers. Newspapers and magazines may additionally rent you for their restaurant evaluations.

However restaurant shoots are usually not that straightforward. Actually, they’re one of many harder kinds of meals shoots to do.

You’ll typically need to shoot employees and patrons, the inside of the restaurant, in addition to menu gadgets. This implies you should photograph meals, portraits and architectural images.

That’s why we’ve put collectively these ten ideas for pulling off a restaurant shoot. With nice pictures and no stress!

A restaurant photography shoot of a plate of food on a wooden table

Ask For a Restaurant Photography Shot Record

If you start to speak with the restaurant concerning the shoot, ask for a shot listing.

This can be a listing of all the pictures that the shopper needs you to take. From drinks to particular person dishes, to photographs of the atmosphere or photographs taken within the kitchen.

You should know precisely what you’re anticipated to ship so you possibly can estimate how lengthy it should take you. Should you can’t do that, you possibly can’t worth your service accordingly.

Drinks, for instance, can take longer to photograph than a plate of meals. Managing reflections in glass may be troublesome.

A restaurant photography shoot of a plate of food on a wooden table

When a restaurant approaches you, they’ll doubtless not have thought this far forward. However taking over the job with out understanding what you’re capturing can result in issues later.

Chances are you’ll not get truthful compensation and spend much more time on the undertaking than you anticipated.

On the very least, attempt to get a breakdown of what number of meals photographs you want, what number of drinks, and so forth.

In my expertise, it takes a mean of twenty minutes to prop and shoot a restaurant dish. Typically extra. It will depend on the lighting and different elements.

All the time pad the period of time you assume it is going to take you. Often it is going to be greater than you assume.

A restaurant photography shoot of a plate of food and spices against a dark background

Go Verify Out the Restaurant Earlier than the Shoot

Go take a look at the situation earlier than a shoot.

In some instances, there shall be sufficient pure lighting you could shoot by a window and get the photographs that you simply want.

In different instances, you’ll need to convey a man-made mild like a speedlite or a strobe. Eating places are fairly darkish inside. Or they’ve lighting that may create undesirable color casts in your pictures.

Additionally, you will want to determine the place to arrange your gear and workspace. And also you want the supervisor or proprietor’s settlement for this.

If the restaurant is open whenever you shoot, you must be as unobtrusive to the patrons as potential.

This may increasingly imply capturing off in a nook and limiting the quantity of drugs you usher in.

A restaurant photography shoot of a plate of a man pouring ingredients

Set the Phrases for Meals Styling

Once you’re negotiating with the shopper, you need to make it clear that you simply’re not a meals stylist. You’re not accountable for the ultimate look of the meals.

It is best to even have a clause in your contract to mirror this.

Meals styling is a unique occupation. And it requires a separate talent set from images. You’re accountable for the sunshine and picture seize, not the wrinkly and soggy burger bun.

Many purchasers don’t perceive the distinction. You’ll want to inform them how the meals styling element of meals images works.

If the chef is sweet at plating, the meals may nonetheless look nice. However styling meals for a buyer is totally different than styling meals for the digital camera.

Usually, cooks in higher-end eating places are typically higher at plating.

I like to recommend advising shoppers that they want to ensure their chef is as much as the duty. In any other case, they need to rent a meals stylist.

A shopper may refuse to rent a meals stylist. What then? Make it clear to them that the look of the meals on the plate falls on them.

A bright and airy food photography shot

Why You Ought to Nonetheless Convey a Meals Styling package

Though you gained’t be plating and styling the meals, you continue to ought to deliver alongside a primary meals styling package. Be sure that it consists of gadgets resembling tweezers, q-tips, and small brushes. This can assist you to tame errant garnishes or clear undesirable crumbs and drips from the plate.

You’ll be able to carry these things to the shoot in a small, plastic field with a deal with. A fishing deal with field, or a meals storage container work properly right here.

As I discussed, it’s not your job to fashion the meals. However you need to do your greatest to deal with the little issues that may detract out of your topic . This can show you how to current the most effective composition attainable.

What Props and Linens Ought to You Deliver

Convey a stack of linens in numerous shapes, sizes and hues. Additionally convey a number of dishes and items of cutlery.

Typically shoppers need their tables, cutlery and dishes to mirror the restaurant expertise. However many have a branding path in thoughts. You’ll should create a selected look or atmosphere to match it.

For instance, most eating places have white dishes. The shopper may need a rustic or darkish and moody aesthetic as an alternative. You will want darkish, matte dishes and classic cutlery.

You can even deliver alongside small slicing boards, pinch bowls or salt and pepper shakers. Embrace some other props that may mirror the environment.

You might also want to usher in your personal backgrounds.

Someday shoppers need extra of a magazine-style look. Or their tables are too reflective or the mistaken color. Numerous eating places have picket tables with an orange tone. The digital camera exaggerates this and it seems to be unappealing in meals images.

On this case, I deliver some canvas or vinyl backgrounds for this objective. They appear nice, are light-weight and straightforward to roll up and convey to shoots.

A bright and airy editorial restaurant photo

Ought to You Use a Tripod?

Restaurant lighting presents a problem for pure mild meals images. You will have to shoot by a window and will certainly want a tripod. That means you’ll be able to lower your shutter velocity and make an extended publicity.

This won’t work for capturing any individuals. They are going to be blurry with an extended publicity. However utilizing a tripod to shoot motion within the eating room or kitchen is cumbersome. And you may may up in everybody’s approach.

The answer is to extend your ISO or shoot with a monopod. This isn’t as secure as a tripod, however it’s extra secure than handholding your digital camera.

Shoot in Panorama Orientation

Earlier than the restaurant images shoot, ask your shopper how they’ll use the pictures. It will decide how you want to shoot them.

Many eating places solely want photographs for their web site. Interactive net design requires horizontal orientation for photographs. It additionally tends to chop off the highest and backside of the picture.

If the shopper shall be printing a number of the pictures on a menu, this will likely want a vertical format.

Make word that if they need each, it could possibly take you as much as twice as lengthy to shoot the pictures. You’ll not solely need to readjust your digital camera but in addition recompose the picture.

Everytime you reposition the digital camera, it’s a must to change the place of the topic. And rearrange the opposite parts within the scene.

This ensures that the composition matches together with your digital camera orientation. And in addition that necessary parts gained’t get minimize off when they’re being seen on the internet.

A bright and airy editorial restaurant photo

Shoot Tethered

When you don’t but shoot tethered for your meals or restaurant images, you could begin.

Tethering is whenever you hook your digital camera as much as your pc or laptop computer. This manner you’ll be able to view a bigger, extra correct rendition of your shot.

That is quite simple to do in Lightroom. All you want is the right twine to hook up the 2 items of kit.

Capturing tethered lets you see any errors you’ve made. And you may tweak your composition through the shoot.

Additionally, the shopper ought to be there to approve the pictures. Displaying the shopper the pictures in your pc will make you look extra skilled. It is going to permit them to offer you suggestions in your pictures.

This manner there will probably be no surprises. You’ll be able to relaxation straightforward that you simply’re delivering what the shopper is anticipating.

Why You Ought to Contain the Shopper and the Chef within the Capturing Course of

Your shopper ought to clarify to you the fashion they’re wanting for. Photographs that they appreciated of yours is usually a nice start line for this dialog. Apps like Pinterest and Temper Board are nice to speak about desired aesthetics.

Additionally, shoppers have to be on the shoot. They’ll present artistic course and approve the pictures. This manner they will’t come again and inform you that they don’t like the pictures and demand a re-shoot.

I’ve a clause in my contract relating to this. If the shoppers doesn’t attend the shoot, I pack up my stuff and go residence. They usually forfeit their deposit.

An overhead editorial restaurant photography diptych

You also needs to all the time contain the chef within the restaurant images shoot course of. Once you make an appointment to scout the situation, point out that you simply want to meet the chef.

It’s necessary that you simply coordinate the timing of your photographs with what’s going on within the kitchen.

If it takes you twenty minutes to shoot a dish, the chef can’t ship out plates each 5 minutes. The meals will not look appetising when you get to it.

Have an assistant or a restaurant employees member act as a go-between. They’ll make sure that the meals is popping out on the proper time.


Restaurant images may be difficult. However it can be a rewarding a part of your meals images enterprise. There are numerous eating places round. Working with them may help you get a portfolio of your meals images collectively quick.

Put the following pointers into apply. You’ll have the ability to mitigate any potential points on shoot day. And also you’ll seize photographs that you simply and the shopper will probably be proud of.

A observe from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief:

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Darina Kopcok

Darina Kopcok is a author and professional meals photographer who shares her recipes and images recommendations on her weblog Gastrostoria. Her newest work might be discovered on OFFset, in addition to her on-line portfolio at