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Wix Restaurants | How to take great photos of your food with Andrew Scrivani

Learn from New York Times food photographer, Andrew Scrivani, as he shares techniques on how to take picture-perfect photos of your food with your mobile phone.

Some of the topics that Andrew covers are:

* How to tell your restaurant’s story through pictures
* The best ways to use light in a restaurant setting
* Staging with backgrounds, props & angles
* Food styling & plating techniques
* How to make your food stand out on social media

To learn more about Wix Restaurants visit:

welcome everyone i want to present myself i am shelley i’m from the wix restaurants marketing team and i’m so excited to have you here today with us uh in this session you will learn about food photography within your restaurant in terms of lightning and props and and plating and everything that surrounds it um we understand how important this uh topic is for you as restaurant owners as business owners um whether you’re in whether you’re into
showing your food online in terms of a menu and social media or if you’re more more focused on selling online and getting more orders this is very very excited and i’m even more excited uh to present to you andrew scrivani andrew is a leading photographer for the new york times for over two decades now it’s a great honor to have him here he is the author of the book that photo makes me hungry and the co-founder member of the we’re
thrilled to have andrew here and the tools that he’s gonna provide you will surely help a lot in the way that you present your business online andrew lead the way hello everyone from around the world amazing i i am so happy to be here today to talk to you about the importance of food photography to your businesses it’s such an essential aspect of what you do what i do and how those things marry and come together so what i really want you to
understand i want to talk to you just for a few minutes about my experiences in working with restaurants and restaurant tours and why the lessons that i’ve learned in being a photographer for you i’m going to share all of that experience with you today plus we’re going to go over there to my table in the room where no fewer than 10 000 images have been taken for the new york times in this room i want to share with you some basic lighting
techniques for daylight and using your phone i want to share with you the best practices for propping some best practices for thinking about food styling obviously as restaurateurs you already know how to style food but there are some differences between the plating for camera and plating for your rest for your restaurant diners so there’s a lot of things i want to cover today i got a very short frame frame time to work with you so the first
thing i want to talk about is why it’s essential for you as restaurant tours to have really really good photos for websites social media any way you’re reaching out to your customers so um it’s a good first contact for a restaurant and makes a good first impression when you have really quality images whether you make them yourself which we’re going to talk about or you’re actually contracting a photographer to come in and take pictures for you
either way they’re always going to be super important you know visuals pique interest for particular dishes for the tone and feel of your restaurant the things that make people want to come and visit you so that’s a primary reason why good images are going to be sort of essential for you it also helps create community and i’m going to talk about this later when we talk about social media but you know as well as i do that restaurants become the
hub of communities and when you bring people into that community you want to be able to have to reach to get them not just when they’re coming into the restaurant but just interacting with you interacting with your staff through digital media and that’s really important for you as well and sharing and networking and this will also tie in to the idea of how we’re going to uh reach out to our customer base we are going to share both our experiences
in the restaurant the food that we’re sharing in restaurants both we’re going to share with our audience and our customers and they’re going to share with us and everyone else in that side of that community good visuals are the key aspect of that and of course web traffic equals actual traffic so the more web traffic you get and the more presentation you put around the idea of your restaurant the tone and feel of your restaurant the more actual
traffic walks through the front door and i’ll tell you a very quick story about an experience that good images does things like elevate your stature and makes you more marketable so i took pictures this week of a man who makes dosa in washington square park he ended up getting some very very good images and some uh some good traction online and now he has a line around the park every single day so the idea of getting more and more community built
around you is because people eat with their eyes people go first there especially in the digital era and they’re going to be all on top of you and your food looks amazing so that’s really big part better picks equal better sales so the idea is that if something looks amazing online people are going to come into your restaurant and they’re going to want to buy that thing they’re going to come to you for your signature dish and the other part of it
is people sometimes can be picky eaters and they get want to become more familiar with the menu before they walk in the door and actually spend money in your restaurant so the better your images are the more indicative they are of your menu the more familiar people can become with the things that you’re serving in your restaurants and of course at the end of the day this becomes the time when we have positive effects on orders where everything
around our visuals peaking the interest creating community elevating the stature of your restaurant letting people eat with their eyes it becomes a creates a positive effect on the orders in the restaurant and this is proven so i want you to take everything that i’m saying today and think about all of the things that you’ve already been putting out in the world and the things that you aspire to put out in the world in terms of visuals for your
restaurant and then let’s make really great pictures so the first thing i want you to understand about taking your own pictures is you have to photograph with intention what do i mean by that photographing with intention really means that you have to understand the subject matter that you’re shooting and want to convey a particular message so what does that mean for you what that means really is that you have to know your best items you have to
know the things that sell best you have to know the things that look best and you have to understand how to transmit that message to your audience and when you’re doing that through photographs you have to approach it with intention the second thing you need to really understand is to know your messaging understand what you want to say with the images that you’re creating do you want to say we’re warm and homey do you want to say that we’re
casual do you want to say that we are fine dining know your messaging and make that come through when you are taking your pictures and those things can be very subtle um you also have to understand and know your limitations what is it about the space you’re in the camera you’re using the lighting that’s available to you how do you maximize all of those things to create the best pictures you can even with your phone we’re going to talk about some
of those things today also remember the food has to be the star this food has to be first second and third when it comes to making pictures to show to your customer base i understand that the room is important everything from the noise level to the music to the linen on the table is important but nothing nothing is more important in your business than your food and how you transmit that how you photograph that with the intention of making people
understand that the food is the most important thing to you makes the customer come into your place and say i understand that you care about what i eat so the other thing i want you to remember is when you’re taking pictures intentionally taking pictures understand how you’re going to be used are they going to be used on the web are they going to be used for menus for yelp for or another sort of menu service for apps how is that photo going to be
used all of those things are important because everything requires a different shape and size and you want to make sure that you are attentive to that when you are making those pictures so understand usage how they’re going to be used and then finally it’s important to understand how to incorporate your branding into your photography now what does that mean it means the colors that you use in your restaurant the lighting you use in your
restaurant the tone and feel of your dining room the kind of props that you’ve chosen all of these things are about the branding of your restaurant not necessarily your logo although there are times when that’s appropriate but everything else about your restaurant indicates the branding of your restaurant meaning when people walk into the room what are they met with what does it feel like what does it look like and try to transmit that in the
photographs as best you can all of those things are about photographing with intention so that’s my opening monologue i’m glad that we got to that point because now we’re going to get to the fun part because i want to bring you over to my table and we’re going to talk about lighting sorry i didn’t mean to stop talking there so we’re going to go in to my phone right now and you’re going to see what i’m going to see through the camera so what i
want to show you particularly is this plate now this plate is being lit by this window with literally nothing on it you can see it’s a nice cloudy day which is a really important aspect of this because we do not have to filter the light but if we did have to filter the light we’re going to switch over i want to switch you over to the other camera the wide camera for a second and you’re going to see that something like this which is just diffusion
material it’s just like a plastic sheeting this could also be white paper that if it was a super sunny day in your restaurant where you have your table oriented with one directional lighting coming through the window you can put this up in the window and that will diffuse the light and make it less harsh now i know that the hard light look is something that everybody likes right now so that you have that option as well you can also buy something
in a store this is called the flag this can also go in your window and will diffuse the light nicely but where today because we have a nice overcast day we don’t have that problem so let me go back to the camera my phone and i want to show you something very particular so this light is one directional meaning it’s coming from my right raking over my plate and down into the left what it is doing is creating this drop shadow right here now i’m
going to use this to demonstrate why it’s important to manage the light now this is perfect lighting right now because of the overcast sky but let’s just say i wanted our light to be a little bit darker i mean our shadow to be a little bit darker so now i took this black card and i put it here so now what it does is it creates a deeper shadow than what was there before and you can see it’s very subtle and you keep it out of frame but it does
create a little bit of a darker drop shadow which gives it a little more drama now if i wanted that shadow to be lighter i’d do something like this with this which is a white card now i can come back to here and that shadow gets lighter it gets less intense the closer i get with that you can see just by rotating it you can see how i change that see this is all practical lighting and you use cards both white and black to make shadows deeper or
eliminate them completely so these are really basic lighting techniques so let me just review a couple of things about lighting for you um you want to be one directional can we come to this i want to speak here yeah you want to be one directional in your lighting so basically what that means is the light coming through the window of your restaurant is going to be the perfect idea of one directional lighting what you want to do is use things like
white cards and black cards to create or eliminate shadows so this is going to be really helpful for you the other thing that you want to do is diffuse the light like using things like a diffusion material or a flag to soften the light so that you don’t get hard hard shadows and it also keeps the eye light nice and even over um over your um over your table and then lastly which is coming up first on my card because i’m out of order today but
that’s okay is the you you want to be able to shoot food in the orientation so i talked about the one light but i didn’t talk about where i’m positioned where i want you to be is either where the light is raking across the table or i want you to be where the light is behind your subject that’s called backlighting so if you can go to my phone camera for a second you could look at that and you can see how a beautiful look you have there now i want
to show you something this is also really nice here’s what you don’t want this look two things are happening both it’s flattening out the light and what’s happening is i’m blocking the light as well so shooting in the same direction let’s go back to acam shooting in one direction with the food creates problems on a number of levels so think about side lighting back lighting and not shooting in the same direction as you’re not lighting in the same
direction as you’re shooting um and what i’ll give you a perfect example of what you should never do flash on camera that flash on your phone camera is the worst thing you could possibly do to take pictures of food if we are in a lighting situation that’s really really dark like a dining room with candlelight or mood lighting that is not the place to take pictures of your food it’s absolutely not the place i know that there’s a lot of questions
about wanting to take pictures of food in dark dining rooms but remember photography is about lighting more than anything else you need good lighting this is the ideal scenario for you to shoot food effectively all the time regardless of what camera you’re using so remember what i said about one directional light source and where you’re oriented if you only remember those two things your pictures are going to be that much better so let me move on
and talk to you about a little bit about propping and why proper propping proper propping is really important for your thing okay so this these are a few examples of things that i want to show you we’re going to look through my phone camera i want to show you these dinner plates so this is the plate i showed you the demo on and this is a roughly the same size as your average dinner plate this is around the average size of a plate that i use for
substituting for a dinner plate it’s effectually the size of a salad plate i like to downsize the plates because what happens is when i want to get close to food like this i have losing real estate on the plate to show the food but when i bring in a smaller plate i can actually continue to get that edge of the plate and get way more real estate in terms of how much food i can show and still show the edge of the plate that’s why i propped sizing
down the other thing that you’ll notice about these plates and you’ll notice about everything that i show you today there’s no shine on this there’s a couple of reasons for this when you’re in a dining room in particular there’s a lot of lighting overhead it’s going to be reflective off the plates this is going to become problematic when you’re trying to take nice pictures of food because you’re going to have distractions of all these different
uh reflections in your plates so everything i use is matte or low shine i also use neutral colors gray white black another thing that i want you to remember about low shine is your silver now you don’t have to have like some places use vintage and some places uh use you know high shine things but if you’re really thinking about making good photos or having your diners make good photos having low shine silver is a really really good tip it’s going
to really help so i’m going to take these away for a second we’re going to go to the the other camera so the other thing i want to talk to you about is surfaces so surprise that is not marble this is something that is lightweight knocking things over lightweight and works really well if you don’t have a marble surface in your space and you want to shoot on something that looks marble this and these things are available online there’s one called
poppy b this is where this one came from but there are many of them and they are really really great but traditional surfaces like you have in your dining area so a marble surface a really nice wood surface and then this is a neutral gray this is actually made out of zinc now depending on the look of your restaurant maybe any of these all of these or none of these are appropriate but just understand that your surfaces is where the photography
begins it begins here and works its way up through the food to your lens so remember that having these universal surfaces that kind of work in a lot of different ways will help now if your tabletops are shiny let’s go back to the other lesson anything that’s shiny in your restaurant is going to create distractions on the plate on the photo and going to be much more difficult to take pictures of so and as much as possible low shine now of course
some of you do linen on your tables linen is great because linen is low shine and it’s very neutral so no matter what you do in terms of that let the food be the star and everything’s going to be great okay i want to bring out some food because i want to talk a little bit about styling and what’s important about styling for camera versus styling for diners so for example this particular plate of spaghetti and meatballs has been styled for an
over-the-top shot so that means that i can photograph this from the top knowing that the food stylist who is in the room with me right now um was able to she knew i was going to photograph this from the top and she she styled the food appropriately so that when i’m shooting it from the top it looks great also notice my drop shadow that we talked about with the lighting notice the plate is low shine so all of these things will enable me to take a
picture which is going to look great and i can fill the whole frame and make a great picture of this now also remember let’s go back to this one remember when you’re taking pictures of food that not always this one not every angle is a good angle so you have to remember to vary your angles both in your public presentation of your food online but also how you’re going to approach taking them you want to plate for the angle you’re shooting like we
just did we played it for the top angle but if i wanted to shoot this for another angle i would want to plate it differently or at least try to shoot it differently so let me show you so if i come in here i can still i have something nice looking here and the architecture is still nice enough where i can still take a picture from the side lighting perspective and i could swing around and go to that backlit perspective and it still looks good but
i might want to rotate that to get that one meatball in there tight and then maybe even get closer and pick up the edge of the bowl like i talked about and make those pictures but you could see that light leaking in over the back and that’s what you really want with food because what it does is it creates depth some of the other things i want to talk about in terms of food styling really quick before we get on to shooting demo there’s a couple of
things here that i’m going to put out on the table that i’m going to show you when you’re making food for camera you want to do things very systematically and you want to have the ability to construct food the way you might in a restaurant setting but also very deliberately so when we are so we’ll come back to here so you can see what i’m doing all of these things so when i made the spaghetti and meatballs well when aya made the spaghetti and
meatballs she made the pasta ahead of time cooled it tossed it and put it in this pan she also made all the component pieces of the burger that we’re gonna shoot in a little while and also our garnish our garnish is already made but hydrated and i know that this is not specifically a food styling trick but it’s definitely something that restaurants are used to doing in terms of keeping everything hydrated so all of this and then we construct it
on the set so a lot of times when we uh i’m gonna come back here a lot of times when we’re working with food it becomes really apparent that the food has a short shelf life so being able to kind of know what you’re going to do in terms of building up your set i pick my surface i know what plate i want to be on i know what props i want in the food get it all set up check your lighting and then construct the burger plate the pasta and garnish and
sauce once you are absolutely ready because garnish and garnish wilts sauce gets runny you want a cheese or any other things that you’re doing so when we’re doing the um the pasta dish which i will bring back for one second so we’re doing this pasta dish having this ready to go right before kind of keeps everything fresh the other thing that’s important is because we cook the pasta before and it’s not red hot and the sauce is not hot it actually
holds a little longer so doing things a little bit differently for the camera versus for your diners is important the last thing i want to talk about is your greens now hydrating your greens is not something new for restaurants but the reality is we do the same thing and keep everything super fresh and on ice until it goes on the plate so this is really and also an important aspect then of course food styling tricks in terms of oiling or misting
or doing any of those things those are the things that we do right at the end right before we kind of start clicking pictures because we want everything to look hydrated we don’t want the meats to look dry and we want it all to feel like it’s really fresh so let me move on and do a little bit of a shooting demo for you so that we have a good understanding of how to put all this stuff into practice in a very short period of time so getting
everything out of the way we already photographed our pasta but we can bring it back again because i might want to show you a little bit of what i normally do and then we’re going to shoot this burger so i know a lot of you serve burgers it’s a very popular item in a lot of places i enjoy shooting burgers so we have a very simple setup here it’s been out a little bit because we are working on the clock but i’m going to show you some of how we do
this so the burger has already been cooked so we have the cheeses also it’s kind of got a little crispiness here we have a really nice tomato some onions and tomato and then also some lettuce which you can do it a number of different ways um for food styling i like doing it either this way or putting it at the very bottom because you want to see all the layers and then of course we’re topping with our bun and we’re going to give it a little
squeeze so we can see stuff now you always want to start like kind of tweaking and playing around with what you got on your table and then giving it that little bit of a push now okay now i’m gonna do something here i’ll show you this is kind of creating a little bit of a problem for me so from a food styling perspective i want this to sit a little bit nicer on top so i may eat eat i mean i may pick out some of this bread from the top of this bun
and see if it sits a little bit better there it does see so there’s a tiny little trick now i got this nice knife that’s sort of indicating i might wanna i might wanna cut this burger or you can actually do one of those where you stick it in the top of the burger if you like styling that way but now i have a nice angle on an iconic kind of food item and i’m side lit i have low reflectivity and i have the opportunity to shoot this from a number of
different angles now it feels to me like this could be a little dark right here so what i might do is go back to the earlier lesson when we talked about lighting and i’m going to bring up a fill card i’m going to open this up like a little book this is made of foam core but you can make them out of cardboard and painted cardboard you could do a diy you could also hold them up with these a clamps you can get at any hardware store this is all
really diy kind of stuff so when i use this card it kind of gives me that fill right here so now this is now all lit rather than in shadow so you can see that very simply if you like this look and you want there to be less mood and more um and more lighting on your subject then you can absolutely just do something that simple to make it that much better now consequently if i wanted to do this more dramatically and add to those shadows what i
would do is bring this dark card in even more and create more shadow there so holding that and shooting there so there’s that that’s with nothing and then with with the white light coming back now this is all side lit now backlit is a whole nother situation because watch how dark this gets now we’re going to have to rotate and i’m going to pull it toward me so i can de-emphasize that window so the angle but you see that sharp highlight i have on
the top of the bun because it’s shiny so not all buns are shiny like this but of course in this situation we’re gonna ignore that so i’m just gonna angle myself a little differently now of course we can always put something behind no and then we can’t do that because our light is coming from that direction but i’m also getting because i’m in a studio and i need to be lit you see this light that’s happening right here that’s actually happening
from this light behind me so i’m gonna try to angle this in a way where i don’t really see that to give you a better understanding of how to fill this light in and i would bring this white card in and you can see that shadow there you see how that shadow starts to disappear see the shadow is there on the left bottom i bring in the card and it fills it in so again just a simple one directional light source i’m going to come up high and i got that
nice bright shot and then i take it away and i have a moodier shot so we have a few different options in terms of both side lighting so let’s get a wider shot of me doing this so you can see exactly what i’m doing so i’m going to put this down for a moment so in the wide you could see on the table i am directionally lighting is coming across from side to side because this is where my camera is going to be positioned now if i want to add light i’m
coming in here if i want to subtract light i’m going to use the black side and i’m going to come in here now of course i want to go back to what i just talked about with that shiny thing on the top now that’s a good indication that i might need to filter that light so by getting this in my window i’m softening the light i’m also making it a little bit darker overall but because your cameras have such a really good um low light capacity that
should be no problem so we have a couple of shots of this which i’m going to take a couple of more while we’re here i’m going to get a couple of more wider shots and tighter shots and then i want to go over how processing them in your phone is also very easy and the things you should be looking for so it’s important to understand that inside your phone also has these powerful um inside your phone has these really powerful programs that are within
the um the nature of the thing that was built right you don’t have to go to an outside app inside your phone has a really good editing program so here it is now if you want to let’s say start by cropping this photo we’re going to crop into a square because instagram loves a square right now the first thing that i notice about this is i want my background to be darker so i’m going to go to my shadows first and this is pretty typical in how i do
things and i want to drop out the back of that now i feel like i’m very contrasty and saturated now if you like that look that’s great but i particularly want to i want to compensate for that so i’m going to take the contrast down a little bit so now i’ve achieved two things i’ve taken the the i made the background darker which i can do even more because the next thing i usually go to are my blacks so the next thing i want to do is go to the
blacks which are here and drop them out even further so now it’s getting even moodier again my saturation seems very high in this so i’m going to take some of that back just a little bit and then i can also adjust for the vibrance which is it’s very very vibrant now depending on what you like it’s all a matter of taste but this is kind of getting to where i like it now my overall highlights are a little bit high you can see like when i push them
and that’s a good way to do this you can push this until the highlights are really blown out and then pull it back to where it feels like it belongs there now we have spectral highlights on the ketchup we have some spectral highlights on the uh the top of the bun if i go back to the overall exposure and pull it down just a little bit now we have an image that is better than what we started with made with a phone edited with a phone only using
daylight so the idea of the things that we can accomplish now let’s go back to our pasta pictures right i wanted to go to the one of these pictures where i can crop in particular so again i made this picture there’s a lot of ancillary stuff left in the picture and um we can go again with the crop tool and get really close using the edges of the bowl this is a little too much so let’s crop even more because we have the front edge so that’s nice
then go i want to first make this more dramatic so i want to pull the shadows deeper then i want to go and add some black to make it a little more dramatic just a tiny bit and then go back to the exposure and then push it up a little bit and we have all sorts of options in terms of i like the light temperature but let’s say the overall look of your restaurant is more warm because you have a lot of indoor lighting you could always warm this up by
making by using this tool to make it a little more orange like looking like tungsten or orange light or cooler pulling it down looking more like daylight like what we have so you have a lot of these really powerful tools in here um to make really nice pictures with your phone so i i would uh i would recommend let’s go back here i would recommend those basic lessons the things that we’ve been talking about in terms of basic propping basic food
styling and looking for angles and also managing and manipulating the light to your advantage all of those things are going to make your photography that much better so once we have these photos what are we doing with them so let’s talk a little bit more what i said in the opener and we’re going to talk about going to social media which is effectually one of the primary ways in which we’re reaching our customers so what is it about social media
that’s so important for restaurants first of all it keeps your community growing the more people you add to your instagram feed or your facebook page or any of the social media platforms the more potential customers you have now people get very excited especially when you interact with them so let’s say for example you have the opportunity to repost a picture a nice picture that somebody made in your restaurant and you have that interaction with
them they’re going to be really excited that you reposted it that you got um they got recognized by the restaurant and on top of all of that you’re getting free advertising you’re creating community you’re building enthusiasm and excitement with your customer base and you’re also getting free advertising in the process so this is why equality imagery is really important because as that community grows and builds because there’s enthusiasm and
excitement around your photography and the photography maybe you’re sharing from your customers that social media component is an enormous aspect of your marketing plan and it’s all can be done either free or inexpensively uh if you put a lot of focus and intention into what you’re trying to do with your social media that also there’s also another aspect to this too and it’s about making your restaurant better is that the bigger that community
gets and the more familiar and the more comfortable they are with communicating with you at the restaurant level through your social media it gives you the opportunity for a lot of feedback and customer feedback is what gives us the opportunity to make our products better so it starts with great photography but it goes all the way through our marketing plan and all the way down and into the idea of one-to-one customer feedback and that’s amazing
so think about that because all of these things start with fantastic pictures and whether you’re taking them yourself hiring a photographer to take them or using customer generated income generated content all of it serves the same purpose to make your restaurant grow be profitable be popular and do really well so this was the absolute cliff notes of this and i’m so happy that i was able to share this with you i have the opportunity now to answer
some of your questions that you’ve been putting in the chat and i’m gonna do my best to answer every one of them i know there’s so many but i think there’s a lot of overlap so i should be able to handle that and i’m gonna let um shelly come back and we’re gonna start this q a thank you andrew this was so fascinating thank you for sharing all the knowledge uh there are a lot of questions i think the most frequent ones are about shooting desserts
pastries cakes what are the best practices to approach these kinds of dishes so you have to remember that a lot of pastries are could be shiny or could be dark like chocolate so you have those two things that you have to contend with now the things that we talked about earlier in terms of managing the light and reflecting or deadening the light those are the things that are going to help you photograph pastry most effectively because the idea
that things are shiny we want to filter the light and make it softer when we’re talking about things that are dark we want to be able to add light by using those white cards so that we could effectively push light back onto things so like for example in my book i did an example of a stack of brownies and i shot it in daylight and i showed what happens when you put the white card in when you put a silver card in or where you put a black card in
and you could see the differences in the lighting just by the reflection off the cards so those things filtering your light and using those bounce cards to push light back on are going to help you with desserts because those are your two most common problems super insightful thank you another question is a bit tricky how do you approach uh food and or plates that are not looking the most you know attractive something like steak something like
torched and dark how do you make it stand out and actually be as attractive as it should well i mean in terms of meats i mean one of the things that we try to do with meats is not overcook them number one and number two things like grill marks go a long way garnish goes a long way in terms of breaking up the idea that it’s just one block of color now the idea of grill marks you’re all familiar with that diners love it cameras love it the other
thing when it comes to like when you’re talking about anything that’s like monotone like even a soup like a bowl of brown soup that simple act of garnishing also breaking up the one solid color is a really good key not only to the attractiveness to the diner but also to the camera the camera likes contrast so the more contrast that you can build into the way you’re presenting the food the better it’s going to be on top of all the lighting things
we talked about on top of the idea of putting it on a on a surface or a plate that doesn’t have a lot of reflections and allowing it to to step to the camera so like if something really dark you want to plate it on something light so that there’s some difference between the plate and the food thanks uh we also got some questions about beverages or bottled um dishes something that is like or beverage soups uh dishes that are served within a glass
jar or container how do you perceive this and turn this into an amazing photo glassware photography is very very difficult so let me show you for example behind me these black curtains these black curtains go a really long way when i do beverage photography because you got to remember something about reflective surfaces particularly curved reflective surfaces they are going to reflect everything that they see so what you have to remember is give
it something to look at other than the things you don’t want it to see so for example if i’m photographing a cocktail and i don’t want it to reflect the other things in the room what i want to do is surround it in black and then what you could always do is add light back in a way that’s intentional so if you want to see a strip of white going down the side of the glass put a white card next to it all black white card what you’re going to get is a
nice edge around your glass and you’re going to get that white line which shows where the light is coming from so the idea of glassware anything that’s reflective particularly doing cocktails and things that are in glasses like desserts or soups is you have to remember take away the things that can reflect in the glassware by surrounding it with something that the glassware can look at and black so basically you’re blinding your glass that’s
really what think of it that way let’s put a blindfold on your glass and that way it won’t have anything else to look at when you’re photographing it amazing this answered so many people asked this so great answer so now i have a more general question uh the dishes the venue the restaurant itself it has its own atmosphere and life and spirit how do you translate this experience this atmosphere through your pictures how do you tell the story your
unique story of your business through a single image or on just on your website how do you transfer this experience um within one picture well when you’re talking about what we call a single image narrative which is how do i tell the entire story with one picture we’re going to go back to something i said earlier in terms of understanding your messaging of the restaurant understanding the lighting understanding the propping and or the decor of
your restaurant so for example a great place to start for a lot of you is your bar the bar is really indicative quite often of the tone and feel of a restaurant and if people have the opportunity to eat at your bar that’s a great place to start because it gives a great atmosphere to whatever uh is happening in your restaurant it’s usually that place that is sort of the home base of the restaurant now if you do not have a bar but your restaurant
has a very particular decor what you want to do is incorporate those things into the photography as best you can now moving from the single image narrative to a multiple image narrative i want you to think in terms of a movie there is a wide shot that we call an establishing shot that’s your dining room then we have a medium shot which might be a couple dining at a table then we have a close-up shot which may be a food shot and then we have an
extreme close-up which may be like what i did with those meatballs before really close to give the lusciousness or the ri or a dessert to really really build that enthusiasm and that hunger in people so now what you’ve created is a cinematic look with your multiple image narrative you have the wide the medium the tight and the extreme close-up just like in a movie that’s exactly how you should be selling your restaurant online and this is how you
tell a story thanks another question that is about the experience okay we’re talking about dishes like a steak like a pizza something steamy or sparkly or you know melted cheese how do you transfer this um mouth-watering uh experience through a photo well my experience has been getting close to it is that the when you show up food at an atypical angle like most people don’t look at their food that close but when you put them there with the drip
or the steam or the cut piece of meat that’s perfectly cooked and you put it right in their face they can’t help but love the way that looks that drippy piece of cheese a runny egg yolk all of that really up close really sells that idea that this is something desirable so i would say the primary way and the way i got started in food photography and why i got really comfortable shooting up close was because that’s also the simplest way to shoot
because there’s nothing else clouding your image there’s nothing else distracting you know that that egg yolk drip is the only thing i want to photograph so i want to be right there on top of it doing macro photography is the best way to sell desirability that’s amazing um another question that was raised of course you experienced and showed us exactly how to edit the pictures and some important notes um participants are asking do you use the
food filter or portrait mode or you just shoot it and go straight into editing what is the best practice from you when you shoot dish from your phone well i don’t do any filters i always shoot it in whatever the native uh uh you know color profile is for the camera and then i adjust it in post-production like i showed you the portrait mode it’s definitely an option because it gives you that depth of field look that that fuzzed out background look
but it only works in certain circumstances certainly it’ll work from the uh the architecture of shooting a from this angle where you’re shooting straight on where the rest of the background will fall out of focus it will not really work from the top angle in a way that makes any sense it’s going to look quite often looks kind of fake so i think that you have to be very selective about when you use portrait mode you also can’t get super close with
portrait mode which is another problem with what i just said is that if you’re trying to do something very visceral or desirable you want to get closer to it portrait mode might not let you do that so i think it’s a pick and choose kind of situation and you have to really judge with your eyes whether or not you like the way it looks whether you think it looks artificial or not and whether or not it’s selling the image the way you want to thanks
um i guess we can um we have time for another questions and then we can pop up but if you can summarize like the essence the top um essential things that every restaurant owner need needs to have in terms of equipment or just you know backgrounds um to use when when they shoot uh their dishes what are the must-haves yes well the first thing i’m going to say is make sure you understand where the best light is in your restaurant and find that light
even it’s really small you only need a little bit of space have the find the best light in your restaurant that’s first second understand how to filter and redirect lighting the way we did with the cards that’s second really super important and of course you also want to know what angle you want to shoot things at you want to understand how it’s going to portray best coming from the kitchen to the camera understand that if you’re shooting it from
the top angle you want to style it for the top angle that’s really important as well and then finally what you want to really understand about food photography is that every picture you take has to be the best one you ever took that’s what you have to remember and keep in the back of your mind because you want all of your photographs for your restaurant to be consistent so if something doesn’t look like it’s up to your standard edit it out that’s
really important even if it’s of an important dish because you do not want to sell something to your customer that’s not up to your standards so the way your expediter looks at those plates before they go out to the dining room you have to look at every single photo the way you take you have to look at every single photo you take the same way like the expediter before he lets it out onto the floor that’s great um thank you so much andrew it was a
pleasure having you you shared so much knowledge and i’m sure we’re going to scroll through instagram and see lots of new updated and mouth-watering food issues uh thank you everyone for participating and taking part in this workshop we will reply to any of your questions and share the recording of the session with you um we will also share a form where you can participate and ask for next workshops ideas please keep in touch andrew thanks again
have an amazing day evening night we have people all over the world all over the world thank you and have an amazing day ahead thank you everybody thank you for coming really appreciate it hope to see you again