A Guide On Having Your Food Products Shot Professionally

Now that is quite a mouthful of a title, but I couldn’t think of any other shorter / wittier one to catch your attention. As most people have ventured towards selling something online, a saturation of sellers have made it difficult to get proper attention.

Venues such as Viber communities and FB seller groups are the perfect place to buy and sell, that is if timing is perfect. That timing means posting something while there are enough people looking to buy. If your item, no matter how delicious you claim it to be, if it’s not visually arresting, people would just continue on scrolling. Next thing you know, it gets drowned out in the feed.

Check out our shootforfriends initiative on how we’re helping out other retail entrepreneurs get decent product / food shots.

A basic art of the sell is grabbing people’s attention. So as far as I am concerned, I would only cover something I know but should get your foot at your customer’s door. The rest of the customer journey can be talked about by more competent people.

Because of this pandemic, you have decided to venture into some side hustle selling home cooked meals, pastries, bottled drinks, coffee, etc… you name it. And that’s totally cool. It’s what the times call for, and we all need something to survive with. It’s about heeding the call of our inner entrepreneur.

Okay, by now you would’ve noticed quite a number of sprouting “food” and “product” photographers advertising in your Facebook feed. You decide to engage their services. Given all of these quarantine guidelines, the only way to have your products photographed is sending them over to the photographer’s location.

If you’re new into this (if you’re not from the advertising industry), you wouldn’t have a clue as to how these shoots are conducted. Chances are, you’d send your products / food and leave it up to the photographer to come up with ideas on how to shoot your stuff. The images as long as they look decent would pass for any content you would put up in social media.

This is something from our “Shoot for Friends” initiative. It gave us the chance to produce content but at the same time be more collaborative with the stakeholders of the image.

Mind your brand. You can’t just leave it to the photographer to think of the images for you. It’s your business and the images have to resonate your brand values. Your photographer can only second guess up to as certain point based on face value. Be sure you communicate what your product stands for. It’s not just a brownie or a cookie… it’s home made goodness. Something like that.

Pinterest is your best friend. In order to help you with above, there are plenty of apps and websites can curate pegs and mood boards. Pinterest is the most notable of them all, and it’s easy to collaborate with your photographer especially if both of you have Pinterest accounts.

Deconstruct your product. What you see in the final image is made up of more than just your product. Especially if you’re selling food, or food-related stuff, have another set of your product out of its packaging. Put it preferably in another container altogether. Also provide raw ingredients. That can come in handy when we need more elements in the shot.

Lexy of Hwai Ting prepared more than her fair share of props and extra materials for us to work on.
Hwai Ting provided us with more than enough raw ingredients to use them as shot elements. Of course the kimchi in the background just pushes the idea of the Korean chicken.

Add extra packaging. If the packaging you provide is the only one wrapped around your product, chances are it would’ve been banged up and a bit worn during transport. It may pass if you’re giving it to an actual customer, but food photography hyper-focuses on the small details on your product. The dents, the creases, etc.. would all be seen on camera. There would be times when mocking up your product might be the better option.

Mocking up means just working with the packaging without actual product. Of course this would only work for certain products that are opaque.

At the end of the day, it’s all about articulating your ideas in the right way to the people who would realize your brand. Make sure you communicate right and never leave things to assumptions.

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