Food photography glare light sample

The plates selected for food photography should be the ones that show off the food and make it as appetizing as possible.


Selecting the best plates for food photography?

Should we photograph our food on our restaurant’s plates? I’ve worked with many restaurants and I’ve come to the conclusion that you should probably NOT shoot on your plates, and here’s why…

The reason that you want to photograph your restaurant’s food is to show off how appetizing it looks and to entice people to come in and have a meal. So it’s a good idea to make the look of the food, the most important goal in your food photography.

Complaints about a restaurant food photos

No one is going to complain that their food wasn’t served on the same plate as they saw in an advertisement. Yes, if the food looks different, you’ll here somebody say something, but I’ve never heard anyone complain that the dish was different. Perfect plates for presentation and food photography are often times not the same thing.

Depends on the marketing strategy. What’s more important to feature, the food or the atmosphere?

If your restaurant has a particular themed plate style that is important to its identity, then sure, the plates are important and you should probably do your shots on them. If the theme is not that unusual, and the photographer thinks the food would look better on different plates, then maybe you should consider that option.

Wide plate rims distract from the food

Many “fancy” or fine dining restaurants prefer to use white plates with very wide rims. They seem to think than wide rims set off the food and create a frame that makes everything look better. This might look good in real life, but seldom does it do justice in photos. Much will depend on the crop of the photograph, but most of the time, I don’t like shooting on these kinds of plates. Wide rimmed, white plates, tend to distract from the food rather and enhance it. In pretty much any photo, the viewer’s eye tends to go to areas of white, unless what it the prominent color of the photo. People are going to be looking at the plate and not the food, and that’s not what you want to happen. I shoot a lot of my food photography on white plates, but as far as I’m concerned, the less white the better…

Deep bowls block the light

Deep bowls are another thing that tend to lessen the effect of good food photography. One of the food photographer’s main tools to make food look appetizing, is lighting.   When food is

The bottom line

It all comes down to making the food look as good as possible. I can shoot good photos on any kind of plate, but to be honest, there are some kinds of plates that make the food look better than others. If you can be flexible about what plate your restaurant food is shot on, then you’re more likely to come away with “great” food photography, and not just “good” food photography.