How Can Restaurants Benefit from Food Photography?

Food is an integral part of our culture from time immemorial. Unlike the olden days, it is not just to satiate hunger. Are you eating to live or living to eat? Well, millennials and GenZ are changing how we consume as well as perceive food. As for most desires, it can be intensified with visual art in the form of food photography.

Hey, let me guess. You also had that one friend in the group who keeps all waiting to click before eating?

These photographs can surely tell a story or evoke an alluring emotion, but they can't engage a vast audience for a business. Experts do this job of professional food photography in the field known as food stylists or food photographers. Food Photography, as a profession, has a long history and has evolved. Social media came to fame in the early 2000s, and it unimaginably revolutionized food photography. The introduction of digital photography through smartphones, social media, and blogging further led to a steep rise in food stylists. More people started embracing it as a full-time or part-time career platform.


Who are Food Stylists/Photographers?

Think of it like food is the model, but unlike a human model to pose for a perfect photo, it cannot. It is the job of the food stylist or photographer to make the food presentable for the picture. They act as food dressers and beautify the food for the shoot. They use food to evoke emotions. They help build a brand with their passion and skills to showcase food products, which can drive product sales. Food that is 3D by nature when represented in a 2D form of photography might lose some of its essence, and this is taken care of by the food photographers. They make the food aesthetic to the human eyes.

A prior culinary degree isn't a prerequisite to becoming a food photographer. Still, veterans in this field have been former chefs; their experience in preparing and presenting food gives them an extra edge when dealing with food compared to an amateur. A food stylist mostly works in concert with a photographer and a chef, but he/she can also be all in one. Some people do start this career as a hobby and work their way up. It's an experience-based job. Working under a professional food photographer as an apprentice is one of the best ways to gain all the experience needed.

Aesthetic and ethereal skills are inborn to many, but few other skills could and should be learned along the way. A food photographer should have the right hand in problem-solving skills. Unforeseen events can happen at any time during shoots, which might require last-minute touch-ups. In addition to this, good knowledge about camera angles and knowledge about crockery and suitable props used during the shoots is also require


How and Why There Was a Sudden Rise in Food Photography?

In the past food photography, it was all 'smokes and mirrors.' More focused on mass-produced products like cereal, biscuits, noodles, fast food, ice cream, etc., and food magazines and cookbooks.

The commercial photographers used secret tricks to achieve that hero shot by spraying oil on the chicken to make it look tender, using cream in cereal bowls as a replacement to milk to prevent it from slogging due to long shoot hours, or by using mashed potatoes as an ice cream substitute since real ice cream melts due to harsh lighting on the shoots. Every element was meticulously planned and analyzed to get that perfect shot, especially for the fast-food brands like McDonald's, KFC, etc. Even the food magazines and cookbooks used to be full of photographs taken by commercial photographers using deceiving techniques to make it camera drool-worthy.

But the social media boom has prompted a movement towards the authenticity of the food rather than perfection. People are more aware and have realized that food is highly unpredictable; hence it is okay for it to be a bit imperfect, giving it a homemade look. The modern food stylists no longer engage in getting a perfect shot using artificial props and garnishes but rather create dishes that look freshly plated and are edible. They put in hours to prepare the dish using edible ingredients and use ethical methods to modify the food for the shoot, such as by spraying water mist over vegetables and fruits to make them look fresh or blanch the vegetable and putting them in cold water to retain the color.

It is okay to be a little bit messy when it comes to modern-day food photography; for example, taking a bite out of a burger or dipping a chicken nugget in the sauce makes it more real and relatable to the customers. In short, food is sensuous. It is an experience for all the senses. Food encompasses a lot of emotions and values to all of us. We all eat food, it keeps us all moving, and there is no life without food. It shows that there is a lot of career potential for the people who are already in the field of food photography or for the people who are interested in getting into this field; since several restaurants, pizzerias, cafes, TV channels, and food apps are cropping up all the time all over the world.


How Can Restaurants Benefit from Food Photography?

Many restaurants refrain from hiring a food stylist or a photographer for commercial photos assuming that people come for their services rather than the visuals. However, the Instagram savvy generation exploring the photo-sharing platforms to decide where to eat next has made it necessary for the restaurants to make their food photogenic and Instagrammable.

Even science backs up why food photos motivate people to eat? Few studies have found out that the hormone that tells us that we are hungry — ghrelin- has increased after viewing food photos. But taking such photographs isn't an easy task. Food styling is a specialty craft, and the quality of pictures you need to sell more can come from professional food photographers. Their expertise, talent, and artistic eyes are all needed to take those mouth drooling photos.

Moreover, visual marketing is on the rise, especially with food-based apps such as Zomato, Uber eats, Swiggy, etc. With food apps, online ordering had increased by 25% when restaurants converted their text-based menus to photo-based menus. Around 82% of the people buy a dish. After all, they like the way it looks rather than buying it because they want it. If you are still not convinced as to why restaurants should focus on food photography, then here's how to can benefit from a restaurant website:

First Impression to Beat the competition

The first impressions last forever. The food market has become very competitive in this internet era. Your website should have an excellent collection of food images that can represent your unique theme. Images should be clicked professionally, keeping in mind that those 2D pictures have the capability of drawing your customers' attention, triggering their appetite and desire. A photo-based menu will create a long-lasting impression on your customers since eyes lick before the tongue!

Build Credibility, Formulate Trust

The current generation relies heavily on social media for their food desires. When customers go through your website, they want to get the same food shown on your website or menu. Authenticity is crucial, and surprises are seldom pleasant when it comes to food. To gain their trust and build the brand's credibility, restaurants should hire a food stylist to create customized photographs to put on their website or menu.

One-Stop Solution for Branding, Marketing, Promotion, and Sales

Professionally clicked photos can have a multitude of uses. You can use them to build your brand, which conveys your unique identity and class. If your restaurant is sophisticated, customers would expect the same from your photos as on the website and menu. Secondly, those photos can be used as a marketing tool by posting them on various social media platforms to attract followers and customers. They can also be integrated into flyers for promotional and advertising purposes and directed towards food directories to dilute competition.

Food-based apps are gaining immense popularity, especially in the wake of the pandemic situation where people are reluctant to visit a restaurant and prefer a contactless home delivery. Recent surveys have shown that people prefer a photo-based menu rather than a text-based menu while ordering food online. Keeping this in mind, restaurants should give more importance to making their food photogenic.

Guide SEO

Everybody wants to be on the first page of the Google search. It sounds a bit unreal, but images do guide the Google search engine results. Pictures make an article or website more pleasing, making any user stop and view it instead of a written text. Eye-catching photographs receive more clicks, which in turn drives the image king and SEO traffic. Any image on your website or online menus can be made more discoverable to the search engine based on the alternative keyword texts.

Facilitate Customer's Choice and Speak an International Language

Showing customers beautiful pictures or short videos of how your food is prepared lets them know what to expect from your kitchen. The list of ingredients used in the recipe is provided along with the videos or photos that help them to choose their cuisine based on their diet. It even helps customers who have food allergies/intolerance to be aware of what to order from your menu.

A picture can speak a thousand words even when language is a barrier. International clients who can't speak or understand local languages can still order from your menu based on your well-photographed menu items and website. In some instances, good food photography can even help to generate larger size orders for a restaurant.

Social Media and Food Photography Go Hand in Hand

All thanks to the crazy Internet folks to the influx of food images on social media leading to food photography trends. Nowadays, people assimilate food through cameras before even actually eating it. The food trend has turned people and influences into real experts. By creating user-generated content on your website and sharing and tagging your respective customers, you can raise your game in this competitive market.


Bottom Line

Food styled photos are vital for today's visual society. They have become one of the most crucial factors in determining food quality before it is presented to the table. After learning about how food photography can change the fortunes of a restaurant, you can comfortably ask, "Is food styling and photography a good investment for restaurants?" A big fat, yes!

Ready to hire a food photographer? Contact Singh's Creative Lab today!

They have been serving up professional photography services for years.

Equipped with insatiable wanderlust and experienced enough to capture any image on the camera, Singh's Creative Lab is ready to leap into action to support clients far and wide with their professional branding efforts!

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