One of the easiest things you can do to improve your website is to add photos. Put a few on the home page (or have “rotating photos”), some on the menu page and perhaps even create a gallery page with numerous photos. Regardless of where and how many, here are some guidelines:
1. Have a good photo of the outside of your restaurant. This will help people find you as they drive (or walk) down the street).
2. Have a few photos of the inside. Prospective customers want to know what to expect when they arrive. Are you white linen or picnic benches? (If you don’t like how your restaurant looks in photos, it may be time to renovate.)
3. Have LOTS of food photos. Food photos make people hungry and make them want to order from you.
Your goal is to “tell the story” of your restaurant. Words on your site are good, but pictures can show people what to expect.
With respect to food photos, there are some simple tricks:
1. Never take your photo from directly over the food. “Overhead” photos make your food look flat and un-interesting.
2. Make sure you have plenty of light. Good lighting is key.
3. Take photos from an angle and have the food fill up the entire frame. Don’t worry about getting the whole dish, just capture the interesting textures, colors and shapes of the food. For example, you don’t need the whole pizza in the photo – 1/4 is enough to show the quality (plus you’ll get more detail).
4. Stage your food. This means that you should take some time to arrange the food and put it on a nice plate. Put the plate on a background that compliments it (not one that overpowers it). Don’t use a lot of sauce (it will hide the food under it). Keep it simple and neat! Use a garnish if you need more color.
5. Lastly, take photos of food that has lots of color. Many of my clients have asked me to put corned beef & cabbage photos on their site because they sell a lot of it. Unfortunately, corned beef & cabbage is gray, washed out green with perhaps some orange carrots. Don’t do it. Use photos of fresh salads, thick steaks, vegetable pizzas, etc. Color is your friend.
Remember – digital film is cheap. Take lots of photos and then pick the best.