For the restaurant industry, the saying “people eat with their eyes” has never been more relevant. There is an estimated 3-second window of opportunity for your restaurant to catch a customer’s attention while scrolling through a Facebook timeline or an Instagram newsfeed and that is why knowing how to take beautiful, professional looking images from a smartphone is that important.
Learn how to take professional looking pictures by following these 4 steps from Hal Silverman, who hosted a Mobile Food Photography Seminar at the Maines Food Show:
Choose Your Plates:
The first step to creating an eye catching photo to share is to choose which food you want to photograph. Whether it is a special of the day, or a novelty cocktail that you want to share on Facebook to showoff to your customers, be aware of your food’s color and texture and incorporate plates or glassware that add in a nice contrast to the food itself. Once you choose the food and plates, begin arranging everything around to your liking. Silverman suggests using an odd number of elements to create a nice composition to balance the photo. Avoid creating a monochromatic setting by using similar color in both the food and the plating. Following this tip will add a dramatic effect to the food you are plating and create an overall better image. Here, Silverman chose to plate a breakfast shot using a pint of strawberries, a blueberry muffin, and a single cup of coffee.
Now that you have your food and plates arranged, it’s time for the lighting. By choosing to begin taking and sharing pictures of your restaurants food, doesn’t mean that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on professional lighting equipment. Silverman used an $8 stand lamp purchased at a local hardware store along with a piece of parchment paper that he fastened over the head of the lamp with a clothes pin to create a filter. Silverman quickly shut down the myth that the light should always be behind the photographer when shooting. He shows the audience during his presentation through a series of quick images that as he begins moving the light from out behind him and around to the side of his plates and then once more time directly in front of his plate. Moving the light to the side and allows room to play with shadows. He then added in a piece of white cardboard that served as a reflector to bring the light back into the shot. You can see the cardboard in this picture in the bottom right corner of the photo. If you don’t have cardboard, use a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil in its place to reflect the light.
Once you have your lighting to your liking you can add in any final elements that will enhance the outcome of your photo. Silverman isn’t a fan of the “untouched” look to his photographs, as you can see in the picture above he breaks up the muffin and rearranges some strawberries. He said he could rearrange the crumbs for hours but you have the option to be as particular or as lenient as you want with your photographs. He also plopped down a few tulips to freshen the shot. Now it’s time to take the picture!
Capturing the Final Shot and Editing:
Now that it is time to choose your angle and take the picture, be sure you understand what you are putting into focus and that the angle is capturing all parts of what you need it to within the frame. Repeat until you are pleased with the angle. Silverman reminds the audience that the colors and shadowing can be adjusted next through editing programs for those that want to get even more technical. He shares 3 FREE software editing apps that you can edit photos right on the phone or tablet.
• Adobe Photoshop Express
• Autodesk Pixlr
Once you edit the photos to your liking they are ready to be saved to your camera roll or can be posted directly to the social media platform of your choice to share!
With Hal Silverman’s 4 steps to beautiful mobile photography in mind, it is your turn to start snapping and sharing your food and drinks for customers!