Sliders - Bacon - Carmelized Onion - Blue Cheese Fondue

Why good food photography is important for restaurants & lounges

If you run a restaurant, bar or café, you know how important your menu is. It is the first introduction to your food that a customer gets and having great pictures can make a world of difference. In this multicultural place that we live in, a city full of tourists and international business travelers not all of who speak English, how do you attract them into your food establishment with ease? Everyone can understand a photograph; the phrase “people eat with their eyes” has never been so relevant. Most people like to see a photo of their food before they order so they know exactly what they are getting, and for those from a different culture who are not familiar with your style of dishes this is even more important. Being a transcontinental traveler, tourist, etc. I can personally attest to this axiom. So many times I have been out in various cities abroad and can’t read the menu. However, I can distinguish what I want to eat via the photos on their food on the menu. This is also true if I look up a few restaurants to dine and they have good quality pictures of the food items available at their restaurant at their website regardless of language.

The only way to produce a professional photo style food menu is to use a professional food photography service. The do it yourself method just will not cut it in these times of high competition when your competitors all have sleek and professional menus.

A great looking food menu can look as good on your website as it does in your restaurant, bar or café. All of our photographs can be used on your website as well as being printed for your menus. When more and more people check your website before deciding whether or not to eat in your establishment, a beautiful set of food menu photographs can really give you the edge over your competition.




Sliders - Bacon - Carmelized Onion - Blue Cheese Fondue

Food Photography; More Important than Ever, Why; Because of Social Media

It is a well-known fact that one of the most effective ways to increase engagement on social media platforms is through the use of quality photographs. And what better way for a restaurant to show off its offerings than through the use of photography?

Why, then, are so few restaurants taking advantage of photography to promote their business? One non-scientific research suggests there are many reasons, including the following:

▪     Restaurant owners perceive the cost of professional photography as being too high, and they don’t think they can obtain good results on their own.

▪    Restaurant management is too busy with the day-to-day operation of their business to devote time each week to activities such as social media, photography and marketing.

Lack of awareness of the benefits photography can provide when combined with a good social media plan.

Quality photographs are of the utmost importance on Social Media Platforms. Photographs online offer a vital chance to make a great first impression.  You don’t want to squander that chance by 1) having no photos of your food, or 2) having bad photos of your food.  Ideally, a few interior and exterior shots of your venue should be included with your online media, as well as a shot or two of the chef/staff. Furthermore, stock food photography on a restaurant website is pretty much false advertising.  Restaurant/food business owners should make sure that the photos on your site are of food that you yourself prepared. Potential customers deserve to know exactly what food they can expect to be served at your establishment.

Basically keep your photos current, accurate, and of good quality. It’s not necessary to have every dish you offer photographed, but highlighting a few of your best dishes across several categories is ideal.  Know when to invest in professional photography, and think of it as just that – an investment.  You only have one chance to make a great first impression and the food photography on your site can make or break that chance.

The Importance of Good Food Photography Today

The camera in my cell phone, or my digital camera is good enough to take pictures of my restaurant’s food, so why do I need to hire a professional food photographer to take the pictures, where is my ROI or return on investment in this?

This is a common misconception in the industry among even the most elite restaurants, catering companies, cafés and bakeries throughout the world. The truth of the matter is simple, as most food stylists say, “Food goes in through the eyes first…”, in-a-nutshell, both figuratively and literally, there is no comparison to a well thought-out photo that has just the right balance of lighting, appropriate angles and composition.

Various studies also shows that when you compare a quality photograph of a food item next to a quick photo taken with your cell phone or camera, the purchase rate of the quality photo will sell more food than the one that isn’t as good looking.

So this leads us to the usage of stock photography versus custom photography. Usually stock photography looks great, but the downside to this is simple, your menu’s photography will look generic and it won’t be unique to your restaurant.

If you hire a professional food photographer like us, then you get a personalized photo that no other restaurant will have and it will also be true to your serving size and reflect your restaurant’s true ambiance.


What’s Wrong with the Chicago in Focus Dream Town Photo Contest?

What’s Wrong with the Chicago in Focus Dream Town Photo Contest?

Copyright is paramount to photographer. As a photographer here in Chicago I considered entering this contest. That is until I read the ‘Official Rules’. Here is an excerpt from the Official Rules for the Dream Town Photo Contest.

‘By entering this Contest and submitting an Entry, Entrant hereby grants Sponsor and its affiliates and subsidiaries a perpetual, irrevocable worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicense able and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and display the Entry in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any purpose, including but not limited to Sponsor’s photo contest, and the advertising and promotion of such photo contest.

You acknowledge and agree that Sponsor may use your Entry in any manner, including but not limited to: selling and distributing publications containing the Entry, changing or reworking the Entry by making color or size changes, making derivative works of the Entry, and using the Entry on the Sponsor’s website and on promotional material for Sponsor’s website or publication. 

Entries must be original. Entries must not contain third party materials or images violating any rights of publicity, trademark, or copyright.  Entrant grants the Sponsor (except where prohibited by law) the right to use and publish Entrant’s name, likeness, city and state, biographical data, and/or any information contained in an Entry in print and/or other media in connection with this Contest, including on the Internet, by the Sponsor, its partners, and third party entities, without additional compensation, notice, review, or approval.’ 

And for the winners…..

‘Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for the Sponsor and its designees to use winner’s name, city and state of residence and/or likeness, and any winning photograph, for purposes of advertising and trade; in any and all media now or hereafter known worldwide in perpetuity, without limitation or further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. By participating, the Entrant further agrees to release and hold Contest Parties harmless from and against any and all claims, damages and liability of any kind arising from or in connection with, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, the acceptance, possession or use/misuse of the prize, participation in the Contest or in any prize-related activities, and assumes all liability in connection therewith.’

Yes, they can use the photos of all contestants forever in any way they see fit and can collect compensation for use of your photos and you get nothing.

Definitely read the rule before entering this or any contest. Seems like they are paying $4,000 to collect hundreds, maybe thousands of photos that they can market in the future for their own compensation and cut you out, the original photographer.

The Annual Chicago Police vs Chicago Fire Charity Baseball Game

Every year in the city of Chicago the Police and Fire Department’s baseball teams come together for fun and to engage in a charity baseball game. The game is played to honor those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. This year’s game was played at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox professional major league baseball team, located on the south side of Chicago.  Also in attendance, as always, were members of the Warriors Watch whose mission statement is “THE WARRIORS’ WATCH RIDERS ENVISION A DAY WHEN EVERY MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, AT HOME AND ABROAD, AND THEIR FAMILIES, FEEL APPRECIATED, HONORED, RESPECTED AND LOVED BY THE CITIZENS THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO PROTECT.”

Here are a few photos from the game. Check out the Events gallery on my website for more.

Annual Chicago Police, Lodge 7, and Chicago Fire, Local 2, Chari



Warriors' Watch Rider - Chicago, Illinois



The Color Guard at the Chicago Police vs Chicago Fire Charity Ba

Food Photography Tips

Foot traffic is good. Especially if you are on a well travelled thoroughfare. But what if you are not. How will you be discovered? How do you get people in your restaurant? Sure hire a PR person, advertise on a food website or have your own website. What will people see when they come across your restaurant? How will your food presentation appear to your would be customers?

Let’s pose this question; how do people shop today and how do you think they will shop in the future? Regardless if it’s for a plumber, electrician or a restaurant, etc., they will more likely search via the Internet. And there’s a good chance they will be searching via a mobile device, via a tablet or phone. Locals, tourist, travelers will more likely shop via the Internet. The question is, are you and your business findable or discoverable? Are your pictures optimized to link your business to the pictures? Or are they just an image sitting on the Internet. Well the Internet via the search engines cannot see images or pictures. Search engines only read code. So if your images are flat, without code, the search engine will never find your images. Not to mention being able to link the image to your business.

Regarding restaurants, you can have the best food and service, however, if you are not findable or discoverable you will not fill the sets to be profitable or perhaps break even. Here’s where having optimized photos of your food offerings and your restaurant for that matter helps. First back to visual acuity, would this photo entice you to dine at this restaurant?

Would you want to eat this?


Or what about this item;


If you are just putting up mediocre images like this and hoping for the best good luck. The aesthetics of your food presentation may be putting people off.

Perhaps something more like this may help,

Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

Or this;

Quince and Pistachio Cake Molasses Ice Cream


Or this;

Braised Pork Shank, Roasted Quince, Prunes, Black Kale

Would be a better presentation.

Furthermore, and back to optimizing your images, with the right optimization the last three photos would link to your website, social media and your restaurant. The images would be findable and discoverable on the Internet. Again, the Internet does not see images it reads code to identify your image and associate the image to your restaurant.


Food Photography; Are You Serious with those Pictures of Food on Your Facebook Page, Google Plus, Pinterest and Website of the Food Served at Your Restaurant?????


Do the pictures of the food served at your restaurant, Bistro, etc. look edible? Are you just taking a picture and hoping the viewer will make out what the food is supposed to be? Or are you saying ‘they’ll figure out what this meal is’. And how much is this helping your business??? Studies show that visual acuity is important to consumers, buyers and especially those who dine. Locals, travelers, and other restaurant goers find restaurants mostly online. Are these really the pictures you want them to see of the food served at your restaurant?

Here are a few excerpts for ‘The Power of Visual Communication’

What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and who we are. Through experience and experimentation, we continually increase our understanding of the visual world and how we are influenced by it. Psychologists have demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Studies find that the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process. Our minds react differently to visual stimuli.

When it comes to quick, clear communication, visuals trump almost every time.

The very same visual elements that we are indelibly drawn to and so quickly absorb not only communicate data more efficiently and effectively but also affect us emotionally.

J. Francis Davis, an adult educator and media education specialist, captured it well when he said, “…in our culture pictures have become tools used to elicit specific and planned emotional reactions in the people who see them.” Visuals are not only excellent communicators but also quickly affect us psychologically and physiologically.

The ability of visual stimuli to communicate and influence is undeniable and inescapable. Through evolution, human beings are compelled to view and disseminate visuals

So visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, graphics quickly affect our emotions, and our emotions greatly affect our decision-making. If most of our decisions are based on relatively quick intuitional judgment and emotions, then how many decisions are influenced by visually appealing, easily digested pictures? Get the picture????

As aspiring food photography I had to post this. I am seeing way too many bad pictures of food advertised by restaurants either on their Facebook Page, Google Plus Page, Pinterest Clipboard or on their website or on a webpage they subscribe to for restaurant listings. Hey, guys like me can help you. You owe it to yourself, your business and future customer opportunity. Post better pictures or I should say real photographs of your food offerings on your digital media.



Rule of Thirds in Photography

Rule of thirds in photography is a basic composition guideline in photography. Again, it is a guideline. It does not mean one must always follow the rule. However, the rule does give us cause for concern when capturing an image. I could go on about this in my own words. In my readings I have come across a few articles that give very good definitions on this topic and explain this topic in detail. Below are such articles that I feel are very helpful.