We’ve been there. You’ve got the creative idea, your branding’s looking great, now all that’s left to ace is the photoshoot. In theory it’s simple – hire your photographer, check your chef and ingredients are good to go, and hit the road. But in fact, there’s more than meets the eye to finessing a foodie photoshoot! 

We know that turning up to your first shoot can be a little daunting – there’s so many practical elements to hitting the creative brief. And as they say, people eat with their eyes, so it’s all about getting them to savour your product from the get-go.

Drawing upon years of experience in the food and drink industry, our team of marketing experts share their top five tips to help you prep like a boss for your next photoshoot!

Top 5 tips for food photography

1. Choose your angles wisely

Pre-determine your angles and photography style ahead of the shoot, so your images best represent the brand and type of food, and work with the point-of-sale style and the final output you’re creating. 

Take a burger and a poke bowl for example. Bursting with different colours and textures, a poke bowl will look incredible from above, but the same top-down shot of a burger bun won’t have the same impact (or sell the dish particularly well). 

To find the best angles, it’s all about a mood board! We like to use Google, Pinterest or Unsplash.com for image style examples and inspiration for props. Mapping this out upfront will be helpful for your prop and styling brief, and is a great visual brief for your photographer too! Consistency is also key to keeping your brand looking aligned, so once angles have been agreed, it’s best to stick to one or two. We always brief the photographer on specific angles in advance so they’re ready to go on the day.

Another top tip for choosing angles is considering the sizes and dimensions of the end outputs (e.g., an A4 poster). Will they be used as landscape and portrait? If so, make sure you shoot to allow for cropping, or take shots for both orientations. 

And finally, if you’re shooting for an established brand, check the brand guidelines – there may already be a predetermined angle you need to use. 

Food photography

2. Set a running order for the day 

On the day, there’s a lot of moving parts and it’s helpful for the photographer to have a clear plan of action. We find that collaborating with the chef (and food stylist if you choose to have one) is crucial, especially on the more challenging dishes to shoot. There are always certain dishes that take longer to prep than others, or you might choose to shoot one set of angles first, followed by a second. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone involved is clear on what order they should be running to. This helps you nail the creative vision and prevents the costs and stress of overrunning!

3. Get creative with backgrounds and props

Choosing the right accessories and background in advance of your shoot is critical to achieving eye-catching food photography.

To engage with the target customer and showcase the food in the best light, make sure your background and props reflect the food style and brand you’re shooting for, and the environment it’s eaten in. 

For example, when shooting for a mainstream pub, we’d style the food on a wooden pub table, complete with cutlery and branded condiments. We may even include a glass of wine or pint of beer to finish the look. We’d take a different approach when shooting takeaway food for stadia, serving it in branded compostable packaging, with the background reflecting a bustling, exciting atmosphere. 

Whatever your environment, it’s time to get creative with accessories! Think branded napkins, sleek utensils, wooden boards, and even surplus food like fresh herbs! We find that these little details make a huge difference, and suggest bringing a selection to give your shots variety.

Keep your eye on colours too. Think about the brand’s colour palette, making sure your background and props match up. Also consider how seasonality plays into your colour scheme, as photography for a festive shot and a key year-round photo may be very different! Again, we recommend checking the brand guidelines to make sure you’re compliant with any existing style guides. 

4. Bring your vision to life with a ‘scamp‘

While scamps aren’t an absolute necessity, we find them extremely useful. Simply put, a scamp is a mock-up of your branding on an example asset (such as a poster) with space for the photography. On the day, the photographer can drop one of the images into it quickly to check that the photography and placeholder text work together in harmony! 

If you’re shooting for point of sale (print or digital), create a PNG version and send it to the photographer who can overlay the poster onto the images as they take them. 

5. Name your files

Trust us on this one! While it sounds simple, this essential tip is often overlooked! During the shoot, work with the photographer to name each image file as you go. Naming each photoshoot and its images correctly will save you heaps of time and make everyone’s life easier when it comes to searching for images. Job done.

When managing a shoot, we’ve found that planning the logistics, knowing your brand, and tailoring your photography to your audience go a long way. Remember to experiment with camera angles, backgrounds, props and scamps, and keep on top of your running order and files. If you’re willing to put in the preparation, the results will not disappoint! 

Are you looking to elevate your brand but need an expert hand? Our team of foodies is happy to help! Click here to find out more about our services or get in touch below.