An appetite for mouth-watering food photography

Posting art-worthy food images to tempt guests as well as keep them from straying offsite to dine is a pursuit you just might want to consider. 

Some of the most popular blogs on the Internet today are those with food images. Simply check out the impressive number of followers for bloggers who post consistent images of their plates during the dining experience. With so many documenting their lives — or at least a portion of them — the art of photographing food is a massive trend and more important than ever. Incorporating alluring shots of your hotel’s meals goes beyond social media — it can affect your bottom line!

Catering to foodies, a dominating demographic that craves the art of “tabletop food shot” postings on multiple platforms (especially Instagram), has intensified the need for anyone in F&B to review and enhance their food-photography strategies. Hiring an excellent photographer who can work magic behind a lens is as important as staging your food photography.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how you can embark on improving your existing library of meal images while incorporating another trend — engaging guests.

Idea #1: Host a photo-taking foodie event

Created to assist an Israel-based winery connect with a younger audience, a series of dining events under the name of “Foodography” lured Instagrammers to dine and take photos of appetizing pictures of meals created by a local Michelin-rated chef. Catering to foodies and social media influencers, the dining events and workshops centered around photogenic dishes created by the chef using a simple concept of color and “red wine.”

The winery also worked with a ceramic artist to create a spinning platform for optimal video shooting as well as a table setting to capture great still shots. A top food photographer was also on hand to give diners professional tips.

Idea #2: Set up a professional ‘photo station’

Capitalizing on the newfound love of diners taking pictures of their freshly served meals, in South Africa, a “dinner cam” was set up inside a Mexican restaurant enabling patrons to take professional-looking photos of their food. The Wi-Fi-connected camera performed like real-world Instagram combined with a mini photo studio where guests engaged in the process of staging their plate of food and selecting from a number of different light settings and taking their own picture.

Guests who opted to participate in the exercise and tag their photos with #dinnercam received a free Polaroid-like print of the food photo they snapped.

Idea #3: Incorporate a “twin plate” photo technique

A popular Instagram user came up with a unique concept of breakfast plate photos that initially appeared as though a mirror was deployed to duplicate the plate. However, upon close inspection, the viewer detects they are in fact two separate dishes and drinks.

Taking food photography to a symmetrical level, the photographer often cooks for himself and his partner, so it was a natural he would be inspired to take “Gemini” shots of his breakfast creations, resulting in a refreshing step away from the typical Instagram table shots. 

Although most people shortcut the creative process described in these examples and instead hire expensive food photographers, these one-off strategies will not only engage guests, they may very well put the brakes on those who might step offsite to satisfy their meal cravings.

Generally speaking, food is a happy thing. It’s hard not to appreciate vibrant, creative food shots, as they evoke memories and tell stories, and for the hospitality channel, great food photos are a crucial addition to your marketing and promotions.  

Have you taken any recent steps to capture or enhance your own food images?