How To Use Instagram Food Photography To Promote Your Restaurant
Food photography is prevalent on Instagram 🌮 🍪 🍕
As a restaurant owner/manager, it would be a missed opportunity not to take advantage of its popularity to promote your food and attract new customers.
Below, you will learn all about the benefits of Instagram food photography and how to use it.
5 Amazing Benefits Of Instagram For Restaurants 💯
So, what’s in it for you if you invest time and resources into creating an Instagram account for your restaurant and posting photos of your food?
Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll be reaping.
1. You Tap Into A Large Audience 👥
There are currently 1.074 billion Instagram users worldwide. And sure, not all those users are interested in food photography.
👉🏼 However, look at Instagram users’ top interests.
You will see that food and drink is number three, right behind travel and music, with a total of 43% of users.
That is still a vast number of potential followers, which could ultimately translate into customers or at least indirect promoters of your business.
By liking or sharing your posts, they will spread the word to their followers, and this will cause a ripple effect.
2. It's Free To Use 👏🏼
One of the many advantages of Instagram food photography is that it doesn’t cost you a dime unless you want to invest in ads.
Creating an account is free, posting is free, and interacting with your followers is also free.
Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with paid advertising too, without any pressure of spending much money. Instead, you can invest as much as you want and stop whenever you want.
3. You Can Work With Instagram Food Bloggers & Influencers
Culinary photography on Instagram isn’t just a restaurant’s game.
👉🏼 This platform is teeming with food influencers and bloggers who are willing to partner with restaurants like yours.
Search for local influencers and interact with them on Instagram.
Like and comment on their posts, and once you’ve established a relationship, send them a message suggesting a partnership.
Suppose you’re not willing to invest a lot in this.
In that case, you can look for micro-influencers (people who have a slightly smaller following than more prominent celebrities) and offer a free meal in exchange for an Instagram shout-out.
If you have the budget for it, ask more significant influencers about their rates as well.
4. You Will Communicate With Your Customers
Instagram food photography can also bring you closer to your customers. If you make your food instagrammable, people will take photos of it and post them on Instagram.
Usually, they will also tag you or share your restaurant’s location.
If you want to motivate them to post about your restaurant, you can also launch restaurant promotions like “snap a photo at our restaurant, tag us on Instagram, and you’ll get a free drink.”
This will lead to free user-generated content that you can share on your page.
👉🏼 Keep a close eye on comments as well. Reply often, especially if you notice any complaints.
Try to solve them as quickly and best as possible. That way, other people following your page will see that you care about customer satisfaction.
5. You'll Gain New Customers
Ultimately, Instagram food photography is all about growing your restaurant, and that means attracting new customers.
Luckily, the platform provides plenty of opportunities to do that.
You can use food styling tips to make your dishes irresistible or add popular food photography Instagram hashtags to your posts so that more people see them.
You can also use geotags of your restaurant address to make it easier for people in the area to discover your restaurant.
Instagram Business Statistics To Take Advantage Of 📊
If you’re not convinced of the importance of Instagram for your restaurant yet, let’s take a look at some statistics that show why every business owner should be on Instagram:
- People process visual data 60,000 times faster than text. Due to Instagram’s focus on photography, it’s the perfect place for restaurants to shine.
- Engagement rates between Instagram users and brands are 84 times higher than on Twitter.
- 80% of Instagram users are following at least one brand.
- 60% of users discover new products on Instagram, making the platform a great place to sell.
- Posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement, and those with a location get 79% more engagement. Take advantage of this by creating hashtag campaigns and branding your posts with hashtags and your restaurant’s location.
- The most Instagrammed food is pizza, followed by burgers, sushi, and steak, and macarons. If your menu contains any of these dishes, take advantage of the hype by posting them on Instagram using popular hashtags.
- #food, #instafood, #foodporn, and #yummy are among 100 of the most popular Instagram hashtags.
10 Instagram Food Photography Tips For Restaurants 📸
Now you know why you should be on Instagram as a restaurant owner.
Next, let’s see how Instagram food photography can help you get more engagement and ultimately boost restaurant sales by looking at some food photography ideas and hacks.
1. Use Natural Light
It’s no secret that natural light is better for your photos than any artificial lighting could be.
👉🏼 So when you learn food photography, the cardinal rule is to schedule your photo shoot when you can get the most out of natural lighting.
It would be great if you could take your photos outdoors (but not where the sun rays will hit the subject directly).
If that’s not an option, do it next to an open window and use a white backdrop to bring out the natural light.
Also, never use flash when photographing food. If you’re not a professional photographer who knows how to use it to look good, you’ll most likely just ruin your shots.
2. Highlight Your Main Ingredients
One of the leading food photography tricks you can use is decorating the dishes to highlight your main ingredients.
Your goal should be to make people feel like they can taste the dishes when they look at the photo. This will motivate them to visit your restaurant for the real deal.
For example, when photographing a steaming plate of pasta, don’t skimp on the grilled parmesan cheese.
👉🏼 The toppings can make all the difference.
If you’re photographing a Margherita pizza, top it off with basil leaves so fresh that you can almost smell them through the photo.
3. Use Food Photography Props
Another essential Instagram food photography tip is preparing the decor and setting the stage using props and food photography backdrops.
Even if the food is the star of the show, secondary elements work together to create the unique flavor of the photo.
Adding fresh ingredients next to the plate is an excellent way to entice people’s senses.
Placing a half-sliced avocado next to a plate of avocado salad is an example. You can also use complementary cutlery, napkins, and tablecloths to make a dish shine. If you have the budget for it, consider consulting a food stylist for more tips.
4. Think Of The Right Angle For Every Type Of Food
Food styling for Instagram relies heavily on angles as well.
Not all foods look good photographed from above, so you have to think about the right angle that will truly light up the dish.
For instance, if you’re photographing a hamburger, you’re going to want to do it straight so people can see every layer.
Flat dishes like pizza are best photographed from above. Textured foods also look good in close-ups, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the camera.
5. Showcase your menu photos
If you’ve learned how to take pictures of food for your restaurant menu, get the most out of them by sharing them on Instagram too.
For instance, you can do a weekly menu spotlight in which you present one of the items on your menu.
Use the description to share unique information about it, like the ingredients, the story behind it, or a fun fact.
👉🏼 Don’t forget to use Instagram hashtags for food photography that are relevant for that dish.
For example, if you’re posting a photo of a burger, you can use #burgers, #burgerporn, #burgertime, or #burgersofinstagram.
6. Go Behind The Scenes
Not all Instagram food photography has to be “staged.”
Instead, come up with creative food photography ideas that give customers a sneak peek behind closed doors and show you’re not afraid to be natural on social media.
Take photos of the food as your chef is preparing it, as the servers are setting it on the table, and even as customers are enjoying it (with their permission, of course).
👉🏼 There’s nothing better at convincing other people to try your food than the genuine look of excitement and bliss on another customer’s face.
7. Go Easy With The Editing
It’s very tempting to edit our photos on Instagram, even those of food, to make them look better.
However, it’s best to stay away from heavy editing. The best filter for food photography is no filter.
👉🏼 That is not to say you can’t edit your photos at all. Still, learn how to edit food photos for Instagram in a way that enhances what’s already there.
Adjust the exposure, lighting, and contrast to give them a more professional look, but don’t go any further.
8. Stick To One Style
A simple food photography tip that can make your Instagram feed stand out is to look for cohesion when shooting and editing your photos.
Use similar colors, angles, and props that will make your Instagram food photography recognizable.
When editing the photos, try to use the same settings so they don’t look like they don’t belong next to each other. For example, a brightly colored image next to a black and white one, next to a sepia one won’t look good when it comes to food.
👉🏼 Take it even further and model your Instagram profile after your brand identity, including elements from your brick-and-mortar location and restaurant website.
If you don’t have one yet, build a restaurant website that mirrors your social media profiles for a cohesive brand identity.
9. Post When People Are Hungry
Not all food photography hacks have to do with taking food photos for Instagram and when to post them.
The best time to post pictures of food on Instagram is when people are hungry and browsing their phones.
That means 9 AM, between 12 and 1 PM, and then again at 8 PM. These slots will entice people to visit your restaurant.
Take advantage of this opportunity to promote your online ordering system by redirecting customers to where they can place an order when they’re at their most hungry.
10. Pay Attention To Details
Finally, give yourself time to learn how to take pictures of food professionally.
Don’t rush to get the shot by sacrificing its quality.
Instead, arrange the food in a pleasing manner, make sure it’s even, and wipe off the splatter before shooting. No detail is too small when it comes to Instagram food photography.
5 Best Restaurant Instagram Accounts To Get Inspired By
1. California Donuts 🍩
Colorful, delicious-looking donuts.
Need we say more?
This California-based donut shop is acing their Instagram game.
2. Bae 🍦
Bae is a perfect example of food Instagram accounts that value consistency. It’s easy to recognize one of their signature ice cream posts.
3. Eat by Chloe 🍔
If this restaurant’s Instagram feed doesn’t get you hungry, we don’t know what will. We dare you to check it out and not drool.
4. Grill Royal 🥩
This restaurant took its Instagram profile to the next level by turning it into a work of art. Instead of posting photos of individual dishes, they post multiple snaps of the same picture to form a larger ensemble image.
5. Willa Jean 🥧
A Southern-style bakery and restaurant with a twist, Willa Jean knows how to take photos that will leave customers craving more.
3 Best Design Tools To Create Mouth-Watering Instagram Posts 💯
Give your Instagram food photography a boost by using these free design tools.
Visme comes with a large variety of Instagram post templates for restaurants. You can use them to promote new menu items, inform followers of exciting promotions, or share food lover quotes.
If you want unique templates for your Instagram stories, you can use Canva. Use their templates or mix and match elements to create your own.
Crello’s immense gallery of colorful Instagram templates makes it impossible for you not to find something that will suit your restaurant’s style.
Instagram food photography is an art, but you can learn if you put in some time and energy.
The benefits you’ll get from it are well worth the hours of trying to figure out how to shoot your dishes.
Use the food Instagram tips above as a starting point, and remember to check out the competition to see what they’re doing right.