Restaurant Photography

Have you ever been to a brunch or dinner where the “phone eats first”? 

If not, you’re probably wondering what this term means. The “phone eats first” concept is exactly how it sounds. It means that once the beautifully plated food arrives at the table, the first to capture its deliciousness is the cellular device. Yup, it has become customary for the phone to snap a photo of the fresh, steaming plate of food while the humans at the table pause and hold their appetites in anticipation of the perfect snapshot.

This phrase accurately describes the era we live in and how restaurant photography has evolved to hold restaurants to a new standard. Now more than ever, the every-man holds the power to advertise how appetizing their dish looks through digital media. Today, a large part of a restaurant’s success is based on their aesthetic and social presence on digital media. If their Instagram grid looks neat, cohesive and appetizing, the more attractive the food will be to the consumer. As a result, mouth-watering, high quality photos organized into a beautiful grid will lead to more followers and ultimately more foot traffic. 

When shooting your plated food and adding filters and emojis for social media posts, keep in mind these five simple rules: 

Five Rules of Restaurant Photography

1. Take A LOT of Photos

To get the perfect angle for your Instagram post, try taking about fifty to one hundred photos per plate. Though this may seem overwhelming, the more photos there are to choose from, the better the Instagram layout will look. 

2. Have Options

You may be marketing for a steakhouse, but don’t forget about the vegetarians! Indeed it is important to aim for a specific audience, but you want to have a variety of food options on your Instagram. Show the appetizers, salads, main courses, lattes, and desserts. When laying out your Instagram feed, make sure to rotate between the different items. You don’t want your followers to get tired of following your account because the posts are too repetitive.

3. Incorporate Things Other Than Food

There truly is no such thing as too much good food! But, when it comes to Instagram feeds, make sure to have other photos on the grid. If a restaurant’s Instagram consists of only food, even if the food is five-stars worthy, it will begin to be overwhelming. The goal is to keep the feed consistent and neat. Restaurant photography is more than just photos of food. Images that capture the ambiance of the restaurant and its customers will create more balance on the overall grid, and portray the full experience that a customer can imagine themselves having, motivating them to give the restaurant a try.

4. The Key to Great Restaurant Photography

In order to achieve restaurant photography success its extremely important to focus on different angles, backgrounds, and lighting. As previously stated, posting different plates of food and keeping Instagram feed interesting is important. Along with that, it’s crucial that the photos are taken from good angles. If you only use one angle, the feed with get boring. Using multiple angles, different backgrounds and great lighting is key to perfect restaurant photography and media posting.

5. Be Interactive

In order to keep your followers engaged and interested, post polls and photos that they can comment on. For example, if you post a poll on your story, you can ask what your customers’ favorite entree is and then use that information in your next post. Or, you can post a photo of the restaurant building itself and ask where your followers want to see another location. By doing this, you will keep your audience interested while also increasing your engagement.


To learn more about working with our marketing agency for food photography or to build brand awareness. Check out some of our Restaurant Marketing portfolio here. Call (310) 456-1784 or inquire online and a Marketing Account Executive will be in touch!

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