Photo Shoot Prep Tips

There are many things you can do to help ensure the images produced during your photo shoot are top-quality. Below is a list of a few helpful tips.


 Lighting is Critical

The very best location in a restaurant to conduct a food shoot is indoors next to a window that receives indirect sunlight. Being next to a window means we are getting one-directional light, which is ideal for creating depth in the food and making it "pop"; indirect light helps to avoid harsh shadows; and sunlight (aka natural light) is always ideal for photography. Also be sure to turn off any lights above or near the shooting table to avoid color casts on the food.

The Shooting Space

If possible, please have one long table reserved (next to a window) where the actual shooting will occur, and a second small table where we can prep. Table surfaces that are not shiny are also ideal.


Plating the Food

Ensuring all food is plated in a neat, and appealing manner is important for keeping the photo shoot running smoothly and for helping to create the best images. To help with this, please let your chef or cook know to carefully plate each dish so that all ingredients are intact, all ingredients can be seen (no ingredient is completely covered by another) and the plate is clean of smudges. If there are any dishes that are heavy on sauces, placing the sauce on the side so that we can add it right before shooting will help to keep it looking fresh out of the kitchen.

Timing the Food

It's important that we shoot each dish fresh out of the kitchen, and also that we have enough time with each dish to properly capture it. Food that sits to the side for too long may become soggy, dry, wilted, or just appear unappetizing. To help with this, please time the dishes at least 15 minutes apart.


Props for Styling

Props are always helpful in creating a great food image. Examples of props that you may consider having available during the shoot include matte (not shiny) plateware, silverware, ramekins, cloth napkins, wax / parchment paper, fresh ingredients for garnish (things such as limes, lemons, herbs, etc.), cutting boards, drinks (in glasses), etc. All items should be neutral colored and solid (no patterns). All colors should come from the food and props should not distract from the focal point.

Matte dinnerware can be found in stores such as CB2, and online at H&M’s Home store or Amazon. A quick search for “matte dinnerware” should turn up a fair amount of results. In any case select the props that best align to your restaurant’s brand / feel.

Any props in addition to the basic plating are optional so it is entirely up to you if you'd like to include them.