There is no denying that food photography has seen astronomical growth in popularity over the past few years, which has made it incredibly important when it comes to restaurants listed on food delivery platforms. The number of users ordering food online in Australia is expected to hit 9.5 million by 2027 and revenue in the industry is forecast to reach US$2.15 billion this year, showing just how lucrative the market is and the huge opportunity available to tap into a massive customer base. With the sector likely to keep growing in the foreseeable future, it is the perfect time to start perfecting your food photography skills so that your images entice more people to order from your business.
The growing importance of food photography
With the number of users on Australia’s food delivery platforms like Deliveroo, Uber Eats and DoorDash continuing to increase, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that any photos of your food are pristine. This will entice people to either visit your restaurant or place an order so that they can determine if the dishes you serve taste as good as they look.
Simply put, if your food photography is on point, expect an influx of customers and revenue going forward.
To guide you on your journey to reaching this point, we at Chef Collective have prepared a comprehensive guide to the art of getting food photography right for the various delivery platforms available in Australia.
Deliveroo is one of the most well-known food delivery platforms in Australia and worldwide, and there are four key things to remember when it comes to food photography on the platform- the way the dish is placed, the aspect ratio, certain specifications and photos from stock websites.
Hero images – This is the first thing people will see when finding your restaurant on the Deliveroo app. As a result, this picture has to stand out in order to catch their eye right away.
Menu item images – These represent the individual photos of the food items your eatery has to offer. To grab people’s attention, these photos must look mouth-wateringly good.
The placement of your dish
- All hero images used must feature at least five different food items
- The dishes you decide to use should make up a majority of the image
- Since it is the first photo people will see, it has to accurately represent your restaurant
- Don’t fall into the trap of putting too many dishes in the hero image
- Watermarks, hands, faces, text and raw ingredients are not permitted
- Avoid collages and photoshopped pictures
Menu item images
- Should be one picture that clearly shows what the dish is
- Clear backgrounds are recommended
- Ensure the food item is in the centre of the photo
- Make use of natural light to avoid reflections and shadows
- No waterworks, hands, faces, text or raw ingredients are allowed
- Don’t use collages or photoshopped images
- Hero images must be at least 1920px x 1080px (Anything higher should have a 16:9 ratio)
- Menu item images have to be at least 1200px x 800px
- All images used should be landscape
- The entire dish should be visible in the image
- Make sure the picture isn’t blurry
- For certain food items, such as sandwiches, cakes and drinks, it is recommended that they be photographed from a 45-degree side-on angle
- JPEG format must be used for any image
- All pictures should be named according to what dish is represented
- You must own the rights to any photo uploaded
- Don’t use photos or images that have been taken from stock image sites or Google
2. Uber Eats
One of the powerhouses in the food delivery market, Uber Eats is a convenient and easy-to-use food delivery app, but there are specific dos and don’ts that restaurants are required to follow when it comes to photography.
Food photography dos
- Always use natural light – Indirect, natural sunlight from a window is ideal as it can make your images pop. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can result in harsh shadows that downgrade the quality of the image
- Find the right angle – Decide whether a 45-degree or top-down angle is best. In most cases, a top-down angle should be used for food served in bowls so that customers can clearly see the ingredients. In terms of 45-degree angles, they are best for burgers, sandwiches and taller food items
- The wonders that lie inside – When showcasing photos of sandwiches, wraps or burgers, it’s always a good idea to cut them in half so that you can show what’s inside and just how delicious it looks
- Let the colours shine – Sometimes you need to add some garnish to really spruce up a dish and make it look more colourful and enhance the overall attractiveness of it. However, make sure that whatever you add is a true representation of the dish!
- Hot and tasty – Any hot items prepared should be photographed immediately as that will deliver maximum impact. Don’t leave it lying around and let it get cold as it will ruin the overall aesthetic of the dish.
- A touch of flair – Try and elevate your images by using different surfaces, plates, glasses, napkins and silverware. However, just be careful not to overdo it as the food should be the main focus.
Food photography don’ts
- Don’t zoom in too much – Avoid taking really close-up shots of your dishes as it will look unprofessional and make it harder for people to see what ingredients it incorporates
- Avoid fluorescent lights – Using fluorescent lighting is bad practice in food photography. Use indirect natural lighting instead
- Watch those angles – The angle at which you take your photo is so important. Don’t try and get too creative with this as it will do more harm than good
There are four particular areas you want to pay attention to when it comes to food photography for DoorDash – header photo, item photo, logo and listing/carousel photo.
The reason you should aim for perfection every time is due to the fact that adding these photos can increase your sales by up to 25%.
Header photo – This is the image that is placed across the top of your restaurant’s menu on DoorDash, so it has to be appealing!
Item photo – It is the image of a particular dish and needs to fully resemble it as the last thing you want to do is anger your customers.
Logo – It is a representation of your brand, so make sure it stands out and is instantly recognisable. It should also be a JPEG or PNG file.
Listing/Carousel photo – An image that is used to display your establishment on DoorDash’s home and search pages
What you should do
- Make sure to feature pictures of your restaurant’s signature dishes or most popular items on your menu
- Select the right type of plating to ensure the food really stands out
- Photograph your food as soon as it is ready so that it doesn’t lose its appeal and aesthetic beauty
- Include different tablecloths, napkins and silverware to lift the photo, but don’t let it become the focal point as the food should take precedence over everything else
- Garnishes can be used to add a splash of colour, but make sure they come with the actual dish too
- Natural light is the best, with outdoor and patio areas being the best places to take photos. If you conduct your photoshoot indoors, do it by a big window
- Use softer lighting to avoid shadows and overexposure
- Take photos from a top-down or side view angle. Top-down is best for pizzas or food items served in bowls. Side view is ideal for burgers, sushi, sandwiches and drinks
- Photos should have the exact same name as the dish’s name on your DoorDash menu
- All dishes photographed should accurately portray the portion size
What you shouldn’t do
- Don’t place your food in takeaway containers as it doesn’t look appealing
- Avoid adding items that aren’t included with the dish, such as drinks or side orders
- Don’t clutter the image with too many items that take the focus away from the food
- Direct sunlight is not your friend, so don’t conduct photoshoots with this type of lighting
- Do not use flash under any circumstances
- Avoid ceiling lights and artificial lighting
- Try not to take photos from a 45-degree angle (eye-level) as it looks unprofessional
With the number of food delivery platform users on the rise, food photography is going to remain an important aspect of any Australian F&B business that wants to stand out from the crowd and grow their customer base. By using the guidelines above, there is nothing stopping your restaurant from reaching its true potential and becoming a dominant culinary powerhouse.
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