Why You Need a Good Chef and Food Photographer

10, May, 2018

Garlic Prawns!

Why a good chef and a food photographer are perfect together

Much of my food photography is done by using available natural light already in my clients restaurants. Thankfully I get some plaudits for my work, but much of the credit must go to the chefs that present their food so well. Employing a food stylist can be very expensive and if left to the photographer can prolong the shoot quite considerably. What is the answer to good for photography? Light and presentation.

Now, as I explained above, much of my photography is by using available light, that doesn't mean that there isn't more to it than sticking the food under a light and snapping away with the camera. I do adapt the light with reflectors and card, but no matter how good the lighting is the presentation must be better, and this is where chefs with skilled presentation skills are worth their salt!. So where does this all tie in with Instagram? Well, really it's not just Instagram, but all popular Social Media; Facebook, Twitter etc. Did you know that food is one of the biggest things that the general public photograph and post on social media? You may now be beginning to see where this is going! Natural light, good presentation, customers mobile phone and Social Media! They all tie in nicely. I appreciate that chefs have limited time to get dishes off the pass and onto diners tables, but what if that diner looks at the food and concludes that it looks pretty ropey? Chances are that dish could end up on Social Media and be doing the rounds ruining your reputation! Just Google James Martin's burger experience at the his Glasgow Airport Burger Restaurant! Now take the same scenario, but the diner receives a stunningly presented plate of food and sends photographs of it across Social Media? Suddenly your stock reputation as a top restaurant could soar! There are restaurants actively encouraging customers to photograph food and post on Social Media. Some even have their restaurant hashtags printed on cards on tables for the customer to attach to their food photographs on Instagram. That hashtag enables them to search for any pictures or comments made about the food on Social Media and interact further with those customers if they wish to.

This could look like I'm doing myself out of a job, but not necessarily. How many times do you go into a restaurant having seen food images in magazines or websites, and said to yourself, "this looks nothing like the pictures they have on their website!"? 

There is a good reason for this. Many very large food companies will employ a food stylist to make the food look so good that it is impossible for the chef or staff to present the food in the same way. Good food photography will no doubt get people interested in your food and the restaurant, but having a skilled chef with good presentation skills will mean that the food on the plate, will look like the food in the photographs. It will also hopefully encourage diners to post their own efforts on Social Media. And that can only be good news for your business and growing your reputation. 

In conclusion. 

  • Employ a chef with (or get them trained up to) good presentation skills, 
  • Encourage diners to post pictures of your dishes on Social Media
  • Provide them with a restaurant hashtag 
  • Hire a good food photographer ????

Mobile phone photography

Taken with an iPhone X using only available light.

Lamb Teriyaki (Wagamama's)

Thank you for reading.

Please get in touch for your food photography.


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