Food Photography Tips for Social Media

By Charity Hestead

By Charity Hestead

Content is King. This is a common refrain in our office, because we know how important it is to have beautiful, eye-catching content when it comes to social media. In today’s fast-paced, zero-attention-span world, your imagery and graphics better be stunning - because it’s way too easy to keep scrolling if nothing catches the user’s attention.

This is especially important in the hospitality industry, when a large portion of your content is photos of food & drinks. If it isn’t drool-worthy, it isn’t helping. Here are a few tips we utilize to keep food shots beautiful, crisp, and unique:


1. Lighting is everything. We all know that lighting is important for capturing good photos, but this can be a challenge in an industry where all the action happens in the evening - and often in dim, mood-lit restaurants. You have to work with what you’ve got, which sometimes means moving tables across the restaurant to a large window and shooting there, or bringing additional lighting. Natural lighting is always best, so take over a table outdoors (but in the shade, as natural light will be too harsh) or next to a window for best results.

Holy Cow BBQ

Holy Cow BBQ

2. Utilize the whole space. To keep your feed interesting and visually appealing, the backgrounds should switch up every now and then. Don’t just shoot on the table provided, but think outside of the box - we’ve shot everywhere from bookshelves to window sills to host stands to get the right colors, lighting, or mood!

The One Up

The One Up

3. Get a shot from every angle. Different social platforms call for different angles, and you don’t want to be looking at your photos later regretting that you didn’t get a shot from the side or above. Get at least 3-4 good shots of each subject so you have all your bases covered.

4. Pay attention to trends. Right now, it’s all about the #flatlay, photos shot from directly above the subject, and hands holding food & drinks. It’s important to stay true to branding while still joining the conversation and appealing to demographic, so make sure you’re up on current photography trends and apply those to your brand in an appropriate way. And don’t be afraid to get a little messy!

5. Add some flair. Shots of the food alone are great for website or press, but social media demands a little bit more.  Arrange the dish or drink with a pair of sunglasses, a magazine, a cup of coffee, raw ingredients, or anything else relevant to the dish. This is a great way to convey tone or atmosphere without having to say a word. It’s also great for celebrating holidays!