Food Photography Tips from San Fran’s Michael Soo

Michael Soo, the award-winning San Francisco photographer, has a lot of experience in food and dish photography. He has worked with restaurants for years now, and explained that “most restaurant owners are astounded by how long food photography and styling take until they experience the process. Some shoots, like for a BigMac sandwich, might require a long day just to produce one viable photo.”

Soo shared some important tips when it comes to food photography:

  1. Be aware of composition. The photographer should work closely with the graphic artist, so that the shot can be properly used and position in marketing and advertising materials.

  2. The marketing tone must fit the photograph. Choose an appropriate setting, such as a white background, a fancy table, or the natural setting of the restaurant.

  3. The photographs are meant to sell. Be sure to use the dishes that the restaurant would like to promote.

  4. Lighting makes all the difference. It will either turn the dish into a masterpiece, or make it look cheap and worn out.

  5. Food styling is incredibly important. Be sure the styles of each dish match, and that each dish looks appetizing in real life. Photography often inspires restraint owners to fiddle with their dishes to make them more attractive.

  6. Digital photography is ideal, since it allows the restaurant owner to review and comment on the pictures immediately. This can spare both the restaurant and the photography team another long day.

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