How to Plan a Successful Restaurant Shoot


So, you’re ready to make the most important investment you can make in your restaurant, and are hiring a professional photographer…

First of all, congratulations! Nothing will take your marketing assets and strategy to the next level (or next several levels) than having stunning and true to brand images taken of your menu items and restaurant.

That said, just hiring a photographer and just expecting them to understand your vision and what you are wanting to use your images for with no upfront communication is not a good plan. It’s also not their job, and you are setting yourself and them up for failure if you do.

While it’s not necessary or even recommended that you plan every single shot down to the last detail, it is a good idea to have some plan for what you are wanting shot, how you will use your images, and what you are trying to convey with your new photos.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Know what you will use your images for

Are you building or updating a new website? Are you wanting to have a library of content to pick from for social media? Are you running a special ad? Perhaps a mix of all of these?

Each one of these will require a different kind of shot and knowing in advance what you are wanting to use your images for will give a good photographer an idea of what to shoot, how to shoot it, how much time it will take, and other important details.

Don’t use quantity as a gage for what constitutes a successful photo shoot

Just don’t. A really good set of images will take time to plan and execute. That’s why you are hiring a professional who understands all of the aspects that are involved in taking a good photo. If it were that easy to take a good photo quickly, then anyone would be able to do it.

Ask questions of your potential photographer

Ask things like what experience they have taking photos in restaurants, what the price range is for their services, if they can send you a proposal, whether there will be licensing fees, and whatever else you think might be helpful in making the right decision.


Keep in mind that all photographers work a little bit differently, so, don’t expect to get the same pricing or go through the same workflow with every one you talk to. I know it can be a little intimidating and confusing, but, this is also why it’s important to have a good idea what you are looking for before you reach out to a photographer.

Try and allow your photographer a bit of free range to use their creativity

While it’s important to have a good idea what you are wanting photographed, a really good food photographer will know what will actually make a good photo. They will understand that all food does not photograph the same, some dishes are more photogenic, they will know how to make use of natural light and what time of day is best to shoot, and all sorts of other things that they intuitively or from experience know will make a really good photo.

Ask them how you can prepare your restaurant for the shoot in advance

Again, a really good photographer should know all of the ways that a restaurant can prepare for their arrival in advance, and will also know how to make sure things are timed correctly. Tapping them for this helpful information will make the shoot run a lot more efficiently.


These are just a few of the things that will help you insure that you make the best use of your time and investment with your new photographer. Hiring a professional photographer is a big step and there are ways to make sure it is a success!