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Food Photography Trends of 2019

Food Photography Trends of 2019

September 12, 2019 / James Ambrose

When it comes to food photography you want it to look great, perhaps even better than it looks in real life. Diners scroll endlessly through social media, searching for the perfect avo on toast for brunch or over-the-top cocktail to indulge in. So, how can you get your restaurant or bar to stand out from the crowd?

The answer is honest, captivating content. A simple iPhone photo just doesn’t cut it anymore. We've outlined four current trends in food photography to help engage your potential customers. 


Tell a Story

In the past, food photography has focused solely on the plated dish whereas to today the focus has shifted to images that portray the food but also describes the narrative of the restaurant. Today's diners commonly eat out for the overall experience, and capturing this just as important as the food.

An item commonly seen on menus is pizza, so let’s use this as an example. Instead of taking a standard top down photo of the pizza, you can elevate the content by setting a scene including drinks and a group of diners actually interacting with the food. Not only will this photo showcase the pizza but it will also highlight that you’re a venue that encourages group dining and serves drinks.

To quote Andrew Zimmern, “Food is good. Food with a story is better. Food with a story you’ve never heard of is best of all, and food with a story you’ve never heard of but that you can relate to is the holy grail.”

Top view of a hand taking a slice of pizza, surrounded by other food and drink


Food in Motion

Animated GIFs have been around for over 30 years, however their role in hospitality content is now more popular than ever. When Instagram allowed users to post 15 second clips on the feed, the door was open!

GIFs allow content creators to bridge the gap between still photography and video, expanding the potential for storytelling. GIFs usually show one or two elements in an endless loop, while the rest of the image remains still. Picture a beer being poured into a glass where only the stream is moving, or perhaps fish and chips where the action is a squeeze of lemon over the dish. 

The intention of the GIF is to enhance the appeal of the dish as well as grabbing the attention of the viewer.

Animated GIF of crumble sprinkled over french toast


Shallow DOF

Using a shallow depth of field (that background blurriness that everyone loves about portrait mode on the iPhone) or a wide open aperture allows photographers to create depth and isolate their subject from the background.

While there is definitely a right and wrong time for this technique to be used, it can be incredibly effective to highlight specific details of dish such as a yolk being split or a garnish on a cocktail. 

This is can often add a more premium look to your photos as it’s a look that can’t be achieved by the average person shooting with their smartphone.

Three vibrant cocktails with an out of focus blue background


Less Perfection

While perfectly styled images still have their place in food photography, dishes that look ‘lived in’ appear very honest and give the viewer a real insight into what is on offer at the venue. A burger with a bite out of it or a dish being garnished allows the viewer to place themselves in that situation.

It also highlights the idea of what you see is what you get, in comparison to a McDonalds burger on a menu, where what you see is definitely not what you get!

Animated GIF of gravy being poured over smoked meat


Liking the look of these photos and GIFs? Get in touch with us to discuss all things photography & videography, and get a free quote!

Whether you’re after photos of your mouth-watering menu, creative cocktails or an upcoming social event, we have you covered.


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