CNN has a great blog post by Derrick Chang on taking mouth-watering photos of food. This is critical for restaurant marketing. Customers respond to images of food. Having no images, boring images or sloppy images of your restaurant are missed opportunities — or worse, active turn-offs to browsing potential customers. 

  • Start with great looking food.  Not everything looks good in pictures. Pay attention to colors, contrasts, and moisture (seriously, no dried out veggies). And please arrange the plate nicely. Brown stew in a bowl 30 minutes from the pot isn’t going to look good.
  • Pay attention to lightEven without fancy lighting you can take great food pictures. Avoid flash which can be harsh; natural light is often best. Experiment with time of day, move from table to table. Keep at it until the light is warm and bright. 
  • Get in close. Food details including texture bring the item to life. Don’t be afraid of your camera’s macro setting to get right…up…close.

And now two of my own tips:

  • Use them. Once you have your best pics — and only use your best — post them on Facebook, tweet them, pin them, post to Foursquare and Yelp.  Create social media contests by asking customers to guess the menu item. This isn’t art, it’s marketing.
  • Refresh them regularly. Taking great pictures of food can take a little time but is a great investment. New images are instantly engaging to customers and can help your website and social media profiles. I recommend a few new pictures every month, especially when you release new menu items. 

Need some inspiring examples? Check out our Pinterest boards on food styling and restaurant design.