With smartphones and social media, it seems like everyone is a photographer these days. Especially when it comes to food. So, if your business is food, you might be thinking, “I don’t need a professional food photographer. I can just snap a pic in portrait mode.”
Well, hold that thought. Because you absolutely need a professional food photographer.
Your brand has its own character—a voice, a look, a personality—and so does your food. A professional food photographer will know how to capture that. Food photographers bring food to life through textures, lighting, props, and staging. It’s more than just pushing a button. Like the wand of a fairy godmother, the careful hand of the food stylist can transform a dish to showcase all of its best angles. And the right photographer can take the mood of the food from light and airy to dark and moody, depending on what you want the dish to say.
Let’s think about this as if we were photographing a food personality right now. Take brisket—it’s a staple in Texas BBQ. This savory meat usually has a char to it. And it’s painstakingly smoked (slow and low) for hours, usually overnight, to create a perfectly crunchy crust and a soft, juicy center. Finally, it’s glazed with a BBQ sauce that was crafted with the same level of care that went into preparing the meat.
Delicious. Authentic. Hand-crafted.
To tell that story, you wouldn’t want to put the brisket on a stark white background. You’d want to see it on a gritty wood cutting board with a warm, rich tone to the background. You’d also want the camera to be tight on that beautiful sliced meat. You’d want to see the BBQ sauce dripping off the edges.
Is your mouth watering yet?
With a good photographer, you can almost smell that rich, smoky flavor just by looking at it. The lighting, composition, and framing works to bring the character of that brisket to life. It can make or break how consumers see the product. Dallas-based food photographer, Greg Milano of Greg Milano Studios says, “Whether it’s for advertising or editorial, good food photography gives you that instant recognition and helps to draw your audience in.”
Milano has been crafting his style since he was an intern in college. When a restaurant hires him (or other professional food photographers), they don’t just get an image, they get an organized team of creatives who work together to make food look as good as it tastes. Sometimes better. The team is usually made up of an agency art director and food stylists who collaborate to capture the flavor and personality of the brand.
If you’ve never heard of a food stylist, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A super talented, totally essential member of the shoot who styles the food to bring out the best angles. Having their input from the start adds another layer to the creative process. But is worth it in the end. Together, the entire team works to maintain a consistent stylized look for the brand or restaurant. In many cases, the right photographer can become a brand advocate—someone the client can turn to again and again to shoot their food.
As a restaurant owner or marketer, it’s in your hands to make sure your food is shown in the most enticing way possible. Milano says, “I usually tell them that if they truly believe in their product, then they should not have an issue investing in that product.” After all, people eat with their eyes long before they open their mouths.
Feast your eyes on that.
See how Agency Creative can help you bring your food and your restaurant to life.