In a fast-paced industry like the food and beverage business, you have to think on your feet to stay ahead of the game. As a bay area restaurant owner, the services you provide are paramount to your success. At the end of the day, potential customers will judge your establishment based on what they see. Professional photography is an essential part of marketing your bay area restaurant and can be instrumental in attracting new patrons as well as retaining existing ones. But how do you achieve that professional look? The following 10 tips will help you get there. Professional photography is not only a great way to advertise your business but also increases customer confidence. A well-photographed menu will help customers place orders while images of your dishes can increase sales by enticing potential diners with mouthwatering photos. In this Will Sundquist Photography blog post, we’ll give you ten pro tips for professional bay area restaurant & brewery photography so that you can take your business to new heights!

Plan Before You Shoot

Before you even think about snapping a single photo, you should decide on your bay area restaurant photography goals. Why are you taking photos of your menu and dishes? What do you want to achieve with each photo? What message is each image supposed to convey? These questions will help you focus your efforts and be more efficient with your time and resources. The more clear you are about your goals, the better equipped you’ll be to achieve them. Your photography goals could be something as simple as letting the world know what your restaurant is all about or something more specific like increasing foot traffic after certain hours. You want to hit each goal with your photos and not just take pictures for the sake of it. Doing so will not only ensure that your efforts are maximized but will also help streamline your workflow and make the whole process more efficient. If you are unsure of your goals, we at Will Sundquist Photography Studio can help guide you through this process, we love collaborating with Bay Area Restaurants and Breweries such as the one from our recent photo shoot with Kelly Brewing Co. in downtown Morgan Hill, CA.

Hire a Professional Photographer

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to produce professional-quality images. However, without formal training and experience, it can be difficult to achieve that “wow” factor in your photos. Instead of investing in costly equipment and endless hours of experimenting to achieve the desired effects, hire a professional photographer who can not only be on-site but also shoot in a studio setting. Some restaurant owners choose to hire multiple photographers and take photos of their dishes and interiors as well as their menus to save time. While this is an efficient use of resources and can be cost-effective, it can also negatively impact the quality of your photos. Hiring one professional photographer to handle all aspects of the shoot is advantageous as they will be able to direct the shoot as a whole and produce consistent results.

The Will Sundquist Photography Team can help you create cohesive and timeless bay area restaurant photographs that you can use on social media, websites, or printed advertising.

Light is Key

Light is one of the most important aspects of professional photography. Not only is it what brings your food to life but also lets your customers see it in the best way possible. Natural light is always your best option and is generally a great choice in all seasons. However, it doesn’t work for every photo and isn’t always feasible depending on the time of day and the menu items that need to be photographed. When this is the case, artificial light is the next best thing. As a rule of thumb, you want to create light that is as bright as possible without being “too bright”. Avoid using diffused light if you can because it can cast unwanted shadows and make your food look unappetizing or “stale”. When photographing food, you want to make sure that it looks as fresh as possible. This will make your customers feel confident in their orders and likely prompt them to come back again. Also, natural light makes your images look more real or relatable and this helps build trust and confidence with your customers.

Just Because It's Food or Beer, Doesn't Mean Its Easy to Photograph

Photographing food or beer is a delicate practice that requires a bit of finesse. You don’t want to go overboard with the number of dishes you shoot or the angles you use. Doing so will only distract customers and make them hungry but also make your menu look unbalanced. Select a select a few dishes that best represent your menu and shoot them in different ways. You can also try out different lighting and food styling techniques to create variety and make your photos more unique and eye-catching. When you are shooting your dishes, try to avoid using artificial light as much as possible. While it is better than nothing, it can make your food look stale and unappetizing. If you can, use natural light to take your photos. It will produce better and more appetizing results and make your food look fresh and vibrant.

Utilize Props and Decor That Lets Your Food and Beer "Stand Out"

While the lighting in your restaurant is important, so are the props and décor. A dimly lit restaurant can be beautiful and romantic, but it won’t necessarily produce the best photos. If you want to take full advantage of the props and décor in your restaurant, consider doing some light staging. Keep in mind that too much staging can also distract from your food and should be kept to a minimum. As you can see Kelly Brewing Co. decided to do some light staging with their various beers. You can use light curtains to diffuse light or even try lighting your plates with candles or other small décor items to bring out the colours in your food. You can also try shooting your photos at different times of the day to see which times produce the best results. If you feel like you dont have the eye or creative ability to stage some photos, Will Sundquist Photography is always willing to assist to make your bay area restaurant photography session go smoothly.

Add Action In Your Photos

Not all of your photos have to be of dishes. You can also take photos of your staff behind the scenes or photos that show customers what your restaurant is like. You can take photos of your favourite menu items being prepared or even a shot of the staff enjoying their meal. There are endless things that you can do with your photos to make them more appealing to customers. However, you have to be careful not to go overboard and make each photo a mini photo shoot. Keep your photos simple and easy-to-understand.

Don"t Forget The Background Details

Besides taking photos of your food and dishes, you should also take photos of the overall restaurant. Take photos of your décor, tables, and layout to let customers know what to expect when they come to dine at your place. Consider taking photos of the parking lot or street outside of your restaurant to give customers an idea of what to expect in the neighbourhood. Remember, all of these photos are marketing tools and should reflect the best version of your restaurant. Take photos of your menus, décor, and even the bathrooms. These seemingly insignificant details can actually make or break the user experience for customers and can help you identify areas for improvement. At the end of the day, the last thing you want is for customers to judge your business based solely on the images you’ve posted online. Having properly-styled photos will help customers visualize their dining experience and make them more likely to visit your restaurant in person.

If you would like to book Will Sundquist Photography Studio for your Bay Area Restaurant Photography or to learn more, click the button below.