How to Take Professional Food Photography Photos for Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Menulog or DoorDash
Published 29th May 2020
Ever seen those really bad food photos on a takeaway menu and it put you off buying anything? When you’re shooting food, it’s too easy to make it look like a dog’s dinner, rather than anything you actually want to eat!
When you’re selling food online, good photos can be the difference between a sale and a customer going elsewhere. When you’re taking images for food delivery menus, they have to look great.
Worry not, we’re here with practical tips and advice on how to take pictures of food for a menu. You’ll soon be taking your professional food photographs like a pro!
Step One: Plan Your Menu Photography Session Ahead of Time
Freshly cooked food doesn’t look good for long - you have to get the shots as soon as you can. That means planning your shoot session in advance so you’re ready to go as soon as the dish is ready.
Block out at least an hour for your shoot, and have your lighting, camera settings, and any props you’re using set up before the food is cooked.
Step Two: Use Good Quality Food Photography Lighting
You’ve probably heard it said that food is best photographed under indirect natural light. That’s all well and good during daylight hours, but if you’re shooting after dark or on a rainy day, what do you do?
Give nature a helping hand by using good studio lighting, that’s what! Natural light is unpredictable, whereas you are always in control when you use studio lighting. It also gives your photos a consistent look and feel.
Studio lighting can be used in different ways to really emphasize the details in your dishes. Light tents are a good choice if you are a bit pushed for space, as they offer everything in one compact cube:
Foldio2 Plus 15” Photography Studio Light Tent
- New and improved version with a triple LED light strip that is 30% brighter than the old double LED light version
- Magnetically detachable roof cover lets you shoot flat lay or dishes from directly above
- Foldable design for easy storage
- Can be used with smartphone or DSLR cameras
- Compatible with the Halo Bars add-on for an extra hit of light
Foldio3 25” Photography Studio Light Tent
- The largest of the Foldio light tents gives even more versatility while shooting different dishes or products
- Includes a triple LED lighting system for all-around illumination
- Easy lighting control with the dimmer knob
- Compatible with Halo Bars and the Foldio360 turntable
- Magnetic structure for easy set-up and take-down
Hypop 31” Product Photography Lighting Tent ‘Kontent Kube’ Kit
- 80cm x 80cm x 80cm photography tent suitable for a wide variety of food and product photos
- Includes 3 softboxes and light stands
- Comes with 4 different coloured backdrops (white, black, red, and blue) for maximum versatility - great for different styles of food photography
- Folds neatly into a carry case for transport and storage
Photo table kits are used in many professional food photography photos and are a smart investment for those who have more space. They also give a more permanent setup without having to pack things away after each use, so they are always ready for a shoot.
Hypop 23” ‘Work Hustle’ Product & Food Photography Table Kit
- Photo table included to make shooting food and other products easier
- The background can be customized with coloured backdrops (great for matching up with your brand colours!)
- 2 softboxes and light stands for shadow-free lighting
- Photography table has one matte and one glossy side for different looks
- Comes with 6 background pegs to make changing out your backdrop a breeze
- Dual LED panels with easily moveable heads to allow for all kinds of lighting setups
Step Three: Style Your Dish and Your Background
When you are shooting a dish, make sure it’s the only one in the photo at the time - extra dishes can create customer confusion on what they’re actually getting when they order!
Make sure your background is clean and uncluttered - and especially make sure there is no dirty cutlery, plates, food spillages or packaging visible in the shot.
Neutral coloured backgrounds tend to be best to make the food stand out (remember, it’s the food you’re selling, not your fancy patterned wallpaper in the background!). The Foldio light tents come with black and white neutral backgrounds, but you can also customize them and the photo table backdrops by cutting coloured paper of your choice to the appropriate size.
The Spectrum Half Paper Backdrops Collection has a range of different coloured professional-grade paper backdrops. You can also get them custom cut to your preferred size.
Wipe any food splashes on the side of the plate off before you shoot, and place the food on the plate so that it looks appetizing. Try to show how big a portion size is so that customers know what they’re going to get - use cutlery to give a sense of scale.
Step Four: Find Your Best Angles, Frame, and Shoot!
What’s the best angle for shooting food? The one that makes it look the best!
Angles really matter when it comes to photographing food, and the ones you choose can make all the difference. Top-down angles are great for plates or bowls of food, while side angles are good for sandwiches, burgers, and taller items (this shows the sandwich/burger fillings to the customer).
It’s a case of playing around with the angles to see what looks best for each dish of food.
Don’t shoot from too far away (the dish will look tiny, and the ingredients hard to see), or from too close (no sense of portion size, and again not all ingredients will be easy to see).
The right distance will show the size of the dish, and also bring out the colours and textures.
Step Five: Edit, Resize & Upload!
The hard work is over, but there’s still some work left to do before you upload the images to your respective delivery providers. Always refer to the delivery providers guidelines when you edit your photos, but here are a few points to keep in mind:
- While some editing in image-editing software is good, keep it to a minimum. Don’t oversaturate your colours, or overdo the clarity or contrast. Use your editing software to adjust the exposure of the images so that they are not too light or too dark.
- Don’t add any text, watermarks or logos to your photos unless it’s part of your food item (like a logo on a burger bun), or is on your packaging or plating.
Bonus Tips & Tricks
- Add some colourful garnishes that really bring out the best in your foods - fresh chopped herbs are an inexpensive way to add colour.
- You can reuse your photographs and add them to your social media streams for maximum exposure
- Try shooting dishes with sauce at a slight angle, so that the lights catch the highlights in the sauce and make it look appetizing
- Use white or silver reflectors (or even white pieces of card) to bounce light back on to the shadow side of the dish if you are using a table to shoot on rather than a light tent
- Place cutlery at a diagonal angle to the camera to give the eye a leading line into the dish
Professional food photography photos are a must when you are selling online - they can make the difference between a sale and a lost customer. Now that delivery services like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Menulog are becoming more popular, you need to be able to compete with other food providers - hopefully, we’ve given you the tools you need to do just that!
Find out what works for you - play around with angles, backdrops, and lighting until you get the shots you want. Remember the bad food photos I mentioned way back at the start of this article? You now have the knowledge you need to never be that person!