It is fair to say that for many in the food business (including start-ups and established restaurants, chefs, manufacturers & producers etc) food photography is not always at the top of the list when it comes to allocating marketing budget for the year ahead. Whilst this is understandable, as budgets are constantly under pressure and competing against other areas of the business for priority, making sure sufficient expenditure is ring-fenced for imagery can create a substantial return on investment.
You just have to think how many possibilities there are for improving the look of your website, promotional material plus all social media interactions and endless sharing opportunities that are driven by imagery and specifically photography. Here are just a few statistics:
From speaking with clients who understand the importance of dedicated food photography for their business, the response is always positive. They see an increase in customer engagement on their website and increased shares/ comments across their social media platforms. For example when a new menu item is announced, it generates far more interest and engagement if it’s accompanied with a beautifully lit, composed and authentic photograph.
So what are your options?
As we’ve discussed in previous blog post, it is possible to take a DIY approach to visually represent your food on your website and social media. Camera technology, especially smart phones, are now everywhere allowing everyone to take images of food simply and with little difficulty. However, are the results good enough to represent your business and communicate the quality of your food? Only you can answer this but we now live in an online/ social media world where imagery is ubiquitous, available at the touch of a button, so making the right first impression is absolutely essential. You don’t see companies like Coca-Cola, Cadbury's or Marks & Spencer fronting their ad campaigns with camera phone footage.
Social media platforms like Instagram are fantastic for food businesses but care needs to be taken with the photos that are uploaded and shared. It’s fantastic when clients share images but when your business does this, you should be asking simple questions: is the quality, resolution, accuracy good enough to represent my food/ produce? Software tools likes filters, whilst fun to use, don’t make a photograph good, they just help to mask an adequate one.
Many smaller/ start up food companies will look to stock photography to help. Whilst this may help with the quality issue it will not address the authenticity and provenance concerns. One of the major unique selling points of being a smaller brand is the credibility and authenticity of the story that your product generates (perhaps you are an artisan cheese manufacturer who uses your own rare goats milk or a chef whose restaurant only uses ingredients sourced from urban farms). This can be completely overlooked by utilising generic, non-bespoke stock imagery on your website/ blog/ social media as it’s the provenance that customers are buying into and they will see through photography that is not genuinely telling the story.
It is also a common misconception that stock photography is a cheaper option. If you are sourcing the images from non-free libraries then you have to understand how and where you plan on using the photo’s as you will be charged accordingly. For example if you purchase a small image for your social media but then decide you wanted it printed larger and in high resolution then costs can quickly escalate. By using a professional food photographer you can specify a universal licence for unlimited use to overcome this.
Your food is your brand and your website/ social media is your store front so poor imagery can damage your off and online presence. As we all know, our first interaction with food is visual - ‘we eat with our eyes’ before any other the other senses get a chance to register.
How can Professional Food Photography help you?
Working with Food Envy Photography is a collaborative effort as we need to understand you, your food business and the concept you are trying to visually communicate. This allows you a great deal of opportunity to express your story, skill, reputation and themes and is essential to create successful imagery that highlights your unique brand in the marketplace.
Once we understand the brief we can start the process of showcasing your food with some amazing photography by using our experience to create the best light, composition and styling. In our opinion, natural light brings the best out of the food so timing is therefore everything. We will work together to plan exactly when and where the photo shoot needs to take place to ensure you are getting the best possible result and avoid unnecessary waste. Food Envy Photography will bring experience and knowledge to the process to ensure it is as efficient, cost effective and successful as possible, resulting in images that will enhance your website and you will love to share on social media.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the points made in this blog article or would like any more information in photography for your food business.