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Food Photography Preparation Guide

How To Prepare Your Restaurant For A Photo Shooting? I have put together a few things you will need to think about when you get your food photographed if you want results as you see in glossy magazines and websites of your competitors.

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Shop For Fresh Ingredients For The Photo Shooting

Ensure the Entire Restaurant Get Cleaned Before The Shooting

Make Sure All Light Bulbs Are Working In The Restaurant

Brief Your Stuff Members That Are Present In The Photos

Inform Your Entire Team About The Shooting Date

Bring Your Table Settings In Order And Align Everything Properly

Food Photography Preparation Guide

A great food photograph can do a lot of things – it can make a viewer hungry, it can convince a diner to order a dish. But knowing how to get your food photographed right, requires some planning ahead and taking multiple aspects into consideration.

Atmospheric and stylish food photo at PIjiu Bar in Bangkok,  Thailand.


Explain to the photographer what emotions the photos should evoke, what atmosphere they should convey. Should the pictures look minimalist or baroque, luxuriant? What details have to be underlined? What should photographs reflect: an unusual way of serving food, a variety of ingredients, freshness, richness of colors? The style of your establishment will affect the way the products are presented.

Photography of a Tuna Steak presented at Albricias Restaurant in Bangkok

Think About Colors

Colour plays an essential role in food photography. In many cases, you can add garnishes that contrast the color of the dish which is very effective in adding a mood to your food photographs. I usually work closely with your chef to pick out the colors and textures to create the best possible results. 

Looking from above on fresh food. food photo of Vietnamese spring rolls.

Your Food Has To Be Fresh

In photographs, food usually looks best when it is not full-bodied. The ingredients preserve their color and texture when they are not overcooked. In photography, you prepare the dish to look the best in the photos and not be ready to eat. Brief your chef prior to the shooting day to have the right items and props in stock on the shooting day.

Food photo of Dim Sum at a hotel restaurant in Bangkok with classic table settings


An assorted table setting can give a special atmosphere to your food photography.  Elements that are commonly used in the context of a restaurant (condiment holders, cutlery, napkins, etc) can be arranged to get an eye-catching composition. You want the probs to complement rather than dominate the food, so a minimal table set up with light soft colors is the right choice. Less is more! 

Interior photo of Silver Waves Restaurant at Chatrium Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand


The restaurant should be partly closed for your guests on the shooting day. If you planning to add Lifestyle photos to the shooting make sure your staff is briefed and properly dressed on the shooting day. Align all chairs and set up your table props on each table of the restaurant. Clean windows and any glass surface. Make sure that all light features are working and switch them on prior to the shooting. Eventually, prepare 1 or 2 signature dishes of your restaurant to be included in the photos.

Food photography of Afternoon Tea at a Hotel Lounge in Bangkok, Thailand

Where Will You Use Those Photos?

Photos for a restaurant menu or print are different from photos for social media or your website. They are different in composition, mood, and aspect ratio. For different purposes, you will need different types of food photography: horizontal photos on a white background for the menu, vertical photos in the interior of the restaurant for advertising, square photos for Instagram, lifestyle photos for your website, and social media channels. 

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