Before They Walk in the Door: The Importance of Interior and Exterior Photography

Guest Post by Catherine Murray
of Photo Kitchen


Does your website have a virtual tour? Well, it should!

Potential customers are less likely than ever to show up to your establishment without having scoped you out first. They’re now going online to research the best places to go for the right occasion. For example, if I’m researching places to meet a client, I’m looking for somewhere quiet, bright, and convenient. Fearing I’ll drive right by the location, I’ll look for exterior photos to see if the business is located in a strip mall or on a busy street. The more I know, the less likely I’ll be to end up lost! Maybe I’ll look at the interior photos to know if there’s ample seating and appropriate lighting.

In contrast, if I’m choosing a bar for my best friend’s Bachelorette Party, I’ll be looking for photos that represent the style of the bar. Is there a dance floor? Are they packed with people having a good time? Customers often imagine the experience they will have, which leads to expectations. If they’re expecting a casual neighborhood bar but instead get a multi-level techno bar, they’re not going to be a happy customer. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Attract the right customers for the right occasion and you will get better reviews and more repeat customers.

When having your space photographed, consider your target market and the purpose the photos will serve. Maybe you could advertise your “Live Band Thursdays” and “Sushi and Sake Sundays”. You could have a different photo for every day of the week!

To gather ideas, pretend you’re giving a one-on-one tour. Walk around and point out all the things you love about your bar. Accentuate its best features, like the large patio bar or the recycled glass counter tops. Communicate to your customers all the possible ways your location could fit their needs.


While it’s easier to photograph an empty space, it may not be appropriate for your marketing. If you do choose to photograph when there are customers, make sure the photographer gets individuals to sign model releases to avoid legal ramifications. You might even consider hiring models or bringing in friends to be photographed to avoid any misunderstandings with customers.

The Web isn’t the only place to utilize photos. They’re also great for print advertising, fliers, posters, and in the press. And while photos are important, video might be another option for you. Hearing the music thumping and seeing the people dancing can be very enticing. Just take a look at this awesome video on The Little Bar’s website!




Catherine Murray is the owner of a food photography company based in Columbus, Ohio. With 7 years of experience in the Photo Kitchen, photography industry and a 7-year history in the restaurant industry, she expertly creates photos good enough to eat.


Latest recommendation?

“After viewing some of your amazing food photos, I immediately went to the kitchen to prepare a snack.”

If you’d like to learn more from Catherine, she’ll be speaking at the Better Your Bar Workshop next Monday!





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