YRSFood (Your Reflection Studio). Food Photography
& Specialist Restaurant, Menu Photographer.
As a food photographer and photography studio, many of our food photography clients are restaurant owners. For them, their menu is their only weapon to beat off the high street competition. They do not have huge budgets to decorate premises or market themselves. They are often known by a single reputation, word of mouth and have an extremely loyal customer base, spreading the word - that their menu is excellent and the chef's skill unique. So bringing that experience to restaurant leaflets, menu cards, advertising features and anything else such as their website, is incredibly difficult as it is 'experience' driven. That's why we take a lot of care when taking photographs of menu subjects - how the food is styled, the colour pallet of the dish, the use of covers to lift the dish or promote a style of dining, the lighting of the dish - even the use of the tableware. We will talk to your chef to understand what it is they are trying to create in each and every dish and then produce food photography images that promote this creative excellence.
Menu photography. It's all about the plate.. or is it?
A lot of menu photography is simply zoomed in shots of the plate contents. Fine if the dish being photographed is intricate but if your dish is chilli, the self levelling puddle in the middle of the plate just doesn't look good. So it's the angle of the plate that is of interest and if necessary pulling back and showing a little of the tableware to try and show a meal in action, may be a better option - so it's not just the plate when it comes to menu photography. Then there is the issue of studio lighting for the restaurant image or would you prefer natural light... It's safe to say that food photography is not just about taking a photograph of the plate and this is often the mistake so many chefs make when they take images of their dishes themselves. The plate needs dressing, the image styling and above all a little composition. Yes a vertical plate shot may work but only with perfect lighting - so on most occasions a more creative approach is needed and we find the best approach is a combination of two experts - the chef and the food photographer!
Then there is chef, to consider in
menu photography - let's sell their skills
When choosing the dishes to be photograph in a food photo-shoot, let's take a step back and think about it. You're not only selling a dish your selling your chef's skills, so the best selling dish - which may be chilli - isn't gong to do that. So before any food photography takes place, look at a range of dishes that show creative ideas, which have a strong use of ingredients and a clear vision in style and cooking technique. These are the skills that will sell your restaurant, as customers strive for more choice and greater variety at the table.
So work with the food photographer, discuss the dish, describe its style and ingredients, the colours created and the textures. Do this first, go through each dish proposed so that a simple shoot plan can be created and dishes which may seem great to the chef can be ruled in or ruled out - after all your eyes are incredible instruments and as a food photographer we're trying to condense this into a 2D image - it doesn't always work!
What about your establishment?
A lot of establishments have reached to Facebook for these images - photography showing the party atmosphere and real-life proof that the restaurant or establishment is popular. As marketing people we whole heartedly agree with these as there's nothing better than a customer case of proof to sell your product or service. There is, however, a need for more professional images of your establishment - the ones that are public relations driven and sell the business in a different manner. So keep Facebook material for Facebook and corporate images for your website, menu, press statements, critic reviews etc. It's a simple strategy.
We are often asked to shoot the business, the kitchen activity, the table settings and event the landscape on some restaurants - not always in the country cityscapes look stunning. A nice touch is also staff preparing the establishment the place settings and covers - simple uncluttered images that show your investment and attention to detail.
Menu & Restaurant Photography.
As usual a little bit of preparation helps.
A little bit of planning is all it needs.. and with menu and restaurant photography this can never be emphasised enough. A little time taken is simply time - it only costs you time. A food and restaurant photographer turning up with nothing to shoot, the wrong things to shoot or a cluttered establishment environment with lots of un-smiling staff is money wasted. So we always advise, call us, speak to the photographer, get an idea of what is good in the image and tell us what you are trying to achieve. An action list is created for you and a shoot plan for us.