In the era of digital marketing, the food industry leans heavily on food photography to get mouths watering and get people to their restaurants, food trucks, bakeries and grocery stores. Food photos tempt customers, give a hint of atmosphere, and create expectations. On online delivery platforms, they are the main visual representation of your product and brand. So those little pictures are kind of a big deal! Here are some tips to get them right.


#1 Create expectations your food can live up to

It’s important to really think through the photos you’re putting on delivery apps. Photos should be professional, but should also be a realistic representation of your product. The online delivery app is your shop window: your photos should feel like a “sneak peek” inside your restaurant. 

Optimize your food shots on delivery platforms

“ The online delivery app is your shop window: your photos should feel like a “sneak peek” inside your restaurant”

Using stock photos portraying a glam, generic version of your food is a major no-no. The customer will inevitably be disappointed when they receive their real-looking food in a cardboard container. When it comes to delivery app photos, you have to stick to the “what you see is what you get” principle. While of course photos have to show your food in a good light, customers should also be able to get an accurate sense of what they have to look forward to.


#2 Take tasty pics (even without expensive equipment)

Of course your food has to look attractive and tasty. And don’t worry, you don’t need to use professional photo equipment to achieve that. You can also take great shots with your smartphone if you pay attention to the following points:

  • Presentation: Depending on your restaurant’s look and the type of food, you can get creative with white plates or ethnic tableware, to-go wrappers or even place the food loose on a textured surface or cutting board. Arrange condiments or toppings artfully and leave enough space to focus on the food.

  • Lighting: Experiment with lighting from different angles to bring out your food’s good side. Avoid overexposing or harsh shadows. Soft natural light is best, otherwise use a bright portable light. Avoid using flash at all costs!

  • Composition: Take the shot at eye level or from a bird’s eye view, and play with negative space instead of having your dish take up the entire frame. Don’t be afraid to use props like condiments or beverages, but keep the composition simple and clean.

  • Editing: Tweak the color to make it warm and boost the sharpness and brightness. Touch-ups like color saturation or filters can make your food look even better, but beware of overdoing it: you don’t want your food to look fake.

Make sure to take lots of photos so that you can pick the very best shot out of plenty of options. Trust your own sense to know if the picture looks good. Does the food stand out and look appealing?


#3 Remember that there’s more than what meets the eye

Food photo

Food photography for delivery isn’t just about taking a pretty picture: it’s also your opportunity to incorporate your branding. The setting you chose, the colors, the descriptions, all serve to create a certain atmosphere or elicit certain emotions. So don’t hesitate to include a glimpse into your restaurant’s surroundings or ambiance.

“Think about how you can add a touch of personality to your photos”

Our customers, like the Belgian casual spaghetti restaurant Bavet, are really good at that. You can see that they live in the era of Instagram. Bavet’s brand promotes simple food with good ingredients “made for friends.”


Social media of Bavet Restaurant


A look at their delivery app offerings shows garnished spaghetti dishes posed on their grainy industrial table tops, perhaps with a tomato and a chunk of parmesan, or a corner of their signature bibs. Their combos have funny names capturing their irreverent brand persona. Think about how you can add a touch of personality to your photos: you could flash some branded napkins or cups, throw in some nice condiments or raw ingredients, or pose your dishes against a textured table or wall that reflects your restaurant’s aesthetic. Don’t forget, the delivery app users looking at your dishes are checking out those of other restaurants at the same time, so it’s all about finding small ways to stand out.


Ready to scale up your food business by getting into delivery? We can help you get it right. We’ll help you build your online menus and optimize your online sales. Check out our solutions to get the most out of delivery.  

Magali De Reu
September 2, 2019 by Magali De Reu

Freelance copywriter