How Restaurant Owners Get Mouth-Watering Images Without Spending a Dime to Generate Sales on Social Media


Think you need to hire a professional to take photographs of your food to use on social media?


No way!


In fact, most people recognize food images that look “staged” as it doesn’t present a realistic representation of what they would receive when they order in person. I think we can all agree that the juicy and perfectly proportioned burger they show in the commercial looks nothing like what you get in the drive-through.


Using realistic, yet flattering, images of your menu items are more likely to make an impact and create interaction in your posts. And the best news is you can do it yourself and skip paying a professional photographer.


For chefs and restaurant owners looking for high-quality content, below are our best tips for creating eye-catching and mouth-watering images for social media just by using your smartphone.



Food photographs better in natural light. If you have low lighting or a lot of overhead lamps in your establishment, choose a table near a window that provides plenty of indirect sunlight.

The photo on the right is way too dark. The photo on the left is using the natural light coming from the windows in the restaurant.



Check the background

Before snapping a photo make sure that the background is free from clutter or other distractions. This includes crumbs on the table or the dirty floor in the background. Taking photos in the kitchen is fine, just double-check that your prep areas are spotless!

Distractions that take your eye away from the product are eliminated by just zooming in on the product. A 45-degree angle is generally optimal.



Most camera apps come with some sort of editing function. In-app filters are great but using them when it comes to showcasing food items can be tricky. Filters often alter color hues and can instantly change your beautiful marinara into pesto. I use Moldiv which has more than enough.

Processed with MOLDIV


Pick the right vessel

In the restaurant biz, you know that presentation is key. The right plate is like a blank canvas to your culinary creation. Make sure it’s the right size for the portion and that there are no chips or imperfections that might draw the eye away.


While this spaghetti is probably a normal portion, it would look so much nicer in a smaller bowl.


Take a bite

Food that has a bite (or two) taken out of it can add a new dimension to the image. Show off your molten chocolate cake with the filling exposed, or a giant burger with all the toppings stacked high.


We’ve even posted images of a completely finished plate to indicate a meal well-received.


Just don’t go half-way and photograph a mess.

Sloppy and messy is never appetizing.


Add some depth

When you serve a meal at your establishment the table isn’t void of other items. There are napkins, flatware, drinks, etc. Set up your photoshoot with similar items that guests are likely to see when they visit you. Set out the breadbasket or a drink to give the image some dimension and that real-life feel.

Creating a spread like this one gives guests an idea of what to expect.



We talked about filters earlier, but occasionally you might want to edit a photo a little more. There are plenty of editing apps available or you can use an online editor like Fotor. Here you can crop, create collages, add frames, or design layouts all for free.

Created in Fotor. Collages are the perfect way to showcase multiple items.



Don’t be afraid to snap your dish from a different angle. Get low. Go overhead. Zoom in for a close-up. Play around with it and find the most flattering shot. As mentioned before, 45-degree angles are generally a sweet spot.

In this example, tilting the camera angle (bottom image) gives a better perspective of proportions.


Fan photos

Some of the best photos are taken from actual diners. Discover images from fans among all social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Just be sure and ask permission and always credit the fan.