Mastering Food Photography for Delivery Platforms

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The goal here is to help your client represent their dishes in the best way possible while showing potential end customers what they’re going to get.

I once had an unfortunate dinner experience where I ordered fish and chips based on a picture, but all I received was the fish. It wasn't bad, but I expected more.

Make sure the image accurately represents what will be included. If it's a six-nugget dish, show all six! Avoid excessive garnishing that might not be part of the dish.

Keep the dish nicely centred and free of clutter. Choose a background that aligns with the brand, whether it's a pure white backdrop, textured surface, or even a shot taken in the restaurant itself. But always remember, the focus should be on the food!

Front lighting is not ideal for food photography, and the same applies here. Whenever possible, utilise natural light from a window. Set up a table in front of the window and position the dish accordingly. Additionally, use a bounce light to lift any shadows. Remember, natural light and available light are not the same. Having a lot of fluorescent lights won't necessarily result in well-lit food shots.

I rely on strobes for 99.9% of my shoots to ensure consistency across current and future sessions. Take notes, draw diagrams, and adapt to menu changes to maintain continuity.

There's a chance you'll be shooting in a cloud kitchen, which isn't the most photogenic or well-lit environment for our purposes.

The editing process is usually straightforward, involving a contrast boost, local adjustments, and some cleaning up of any crumbs. Avoid excessive use of filters, styles, or colour grading. These shots are essentially showcasing tasty products. If you want to experiment, save it for the hero shot, which we'll discuss shortly.

Cropping can be frustrating due to the different crops required by various platforms. However, the final images are usually shrunk down significantly, allowing us to shoot wider than usual for flexibility in cropping.

Aligning shots can be simplified by using an arbitrary scale. Set up a grid of 8 x 10 and count the squares above, below, and on the sides. Aligning the dishes becomes much easier this way.

Now, onto the Hero shot. Make it truly heroic! Don't assume that arranging multiple dishes on a surface is easy. Take a look online and you'll see how it can potentially discourage people. Dedicate sufficient time to perfecting this shot.

Remember, the final image will be quite small on a phone screen, so negative space isn't ideal unless the restaurant's logo is included as well.

Sometimes, less is more. A shot of 15 images that ends up as a small thumbnail on a phone won't grab people's attention. Choose the most exciting dishes carefully and arrange them in a way that maximises the available space.

Of course, do get in touch with Charlie at IMakeYouHungry if you would like to have a chat about your food photography needs.

Charlie from IMakeYouHungry is a professional food photographer who has a wealth of skills and knowledge in the field. He is exceptionally talented in creating visually appealing shots of food that capture the essence of the dish. Whether it’s for a restaurant’s menu, a food blog, or even for ads, Charlie has the expertise to make sure the food looks stunning in every photo. From creating the perfect lighting setup to composing the shot, Charlie’s attention to detail offers an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to capture the perfect food photo. So, if you need help with your food photography needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Charlie at IMakeYouHungry.


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