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7 Best Tips for Shooting Delicious Pizza Photography

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Pizza is delicious. But when it comes to pizza photography, it is one of the most challenging types of food shoots to pull off.

Learning to photograph pizza is one of the most important skills in food photography.

Here are seven tips to help you take stunning photos of the world’s beloved food.

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7. Choose the Right Equipment for Perfect Pizza Photography Results

To shoot pizza, use a camera with a full frame sensor. This is ideal because of the higher resolution and depth-of-field .

Your lens choice will depend on how you wish to frame the shot.

If you want to shoot one or two pizzas from overhead, then a 50mm lens  is a good choice. It will allow you to get more into the frame. Especially if you have a camera with a full frame sensor .

Otherwise, a longer focal length would be suitable for most types of pizza photography, like an 85 mm or a 100mm .

Don’t use a wide-angle lens , though. It will distort your pizza photography. Keep your wide-angle for tablescapes or larger food scenes .

Overhead shot of a sliced pizza

6. Set up the Lighting for Well-Lit Images

The kind of lighting you choose for your pizza photography can vary. It will depend on your skills and the end-use of the photos.

If you are shooting for your blog or stock photography , you have more freedom. You don’t need to be as exacting as you would for commercial pizza photos.

You can use direct sunlight or natural lighting and get creative with your styling and camera angles.

It’s essential to get your lighting right before you shoot. Editing can make a big difference in your food photography but it cannot make a poorly lit image look great.

Make sure your light is directional. And watch the highlights. Melted cheese has a lot of shine and can look greasy.

Overhead shot of a pizza with slices of mozzarella

A right approach is to light from the side. This reduces the highlights on the cheese. To further manage the highlights, bring them down in post-production.

Use a fill card opposite your light source. This will ensure that your scene is evenly lit by bouncing the light back onto the subject.

Backlighting can emphasise pizza’s texture. But it will also emphasise any grease. Side lighting is the safest option for pizza photography.

If possible, use natural light because that makes your pizza pictures look the most realistic and delicious. Take the pizza pics nearby a window.

Choose the time around sunrise or sunset to have the best light for your pizza photography. If the sunshine is too direct, use a white sheet or curtain to diffuse to light. This will also soften the harsh shadows.

A delicious shot of a pizza coming out of the oven

5. Style the Pizza for Mouth-Watering Photos

Styling pizza is difficult. There are so many parts that need to come together in the right proportions to make it look tempting.

Start with choosing the background. For pictures of pizza, I recommend simple and natural backdrops . A wooden table or checkered tablecloth are a good fit.

Use relevant props. Some flour, a pizza cutter or basil leaves are simple yet describing. Pizza is a very simple dish, and your food photography should convey this simplicity. Remember, less is more!

There are food stylists who specialise in pizzas because it can be such a fussy and critical job.

You can buy or make your own pizza dough or pizza bases.

Whichever you choose, partially cook the pizza base. Then top it with sauce and fillings. This way, the ingredients don’t have to stay in the oven long. If they do, they’ll wrinkle and dry out.

Photo of a pizza with basil leaves on top

One of the things that you have to watch for is the amount of sauce you spread on the pizza base. You need much less sauce in photography than you would when preparing a pizza to eat. The sauce dilutes the look of the cheese.

Brush a thin layer of sauce over the pizza base. Once the base is baked, add sauce along the edges of the pizza. Use a small brush or eyedropper.

When food stylists work with tomato sauce, they often drain it on paper towel. This gets rid of any excess water that can make the food soggy.

The usual cheese for pizza photography is mozzarella. Part-skim mozzarella works better than whole milk mozzarella because it stays whiter.

Buy whole blocks and grate them yourself to get the exact look and thickness you want for the strands. Keep it refrigerated until they are ready to use.

If you are shooting pizza for a client, you should pretest the product. This is the best way to learn how to get the look that they want. Cheeses all behave differently because of the moisture factor. High-fat cheeses melt better.

When shooting for a major brand, photographers rent a pizza oven or have the client supply one. Regular ovens don’t reach temperatures that are hot enough for making pizza.

Of course, you don’t need to go to this extent or expense. It depends on the type of pizza photos you are shooting.

Layers always look great in food photography. A pizza doesn’t have as many layers as a burger or a pile of pancakes.

But you can add extra depth by using plates or adding toppings. Colorful herbs and spices can give more depth and contrast to your pizza photos.

A wire rack full of pizza squares

4. Photograph the Cheese Pull for Added Deliciousness

I’m mentioning the “cheese pull” here because of how appealing it is. And it’s in demand when it comes to pizza images.

Cheese pull happens when you lift a slice of pizza away. And the cheese stretches between the pulled slice and the rest of the pizza. This is what most people like to see when they look at pics of pizzas.

For this type of shoot, string mozzarella works best. Peel apart the mozzarella in long, thin strands. This should be about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch wide. It will create that stringy look where you lift the pizza away from the rest of the pie.

You will also need some shredded mozzarella.

Someone should have to help you hold the spatula under the piece that will be pulled out. You will also have to cut a piece of cardboard into a template.

Place this under the slice of pizza to keep it straight and firm.

A close up of a person taking a slice of pizza

Here is how Denise Vivaldo in The Food Stylist Handbook describes the perfect way to create the cheese pull.

  • Place the pizza crust on a pan and cut the desired slice into the crust using scissors or a sharp knife.
  • Place the string cheese across the cuts. Make it thicker in some areas and thinner in others to create the stringy, “holey” look. Scatter a few torn bits across the rest of the pizza.
  • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella to hide the string cheese pieces. Make sure not to put too much cheese at the tip of your cut slice. This will weigh it down and cause the tip to bend downward when pulled out.
  • Add the toppings. If using mushrooms, saute them on one side for a golden brown color before adding them to the pizza. Don’t place toppings over the cuts of the pizza as they will interfere with the cheese pull.
  • Place the pizza in the hot oven and bake until the cheese melts but before it starts to bubble and brown.
  • Put a cardboard template under the cut slice. Let the pizza sit for a few minutes, or the cheese will be too liquid to stretch.
  • Get your assistant to place a spatula under the cardboard template. This holds the slice. Then move it up and away from the pizza in small increments while you shoot.

The cheese pull is not easy and, on commercial shoots , it can take half a day to get the perfect food photos!

But if you do commercial photography , you will be asked to do this kind of shoot at some point. The tips above will help you to get mouthwatering food photos.

A close up of a person taking a slice of pizza

3. Get the Focus Right to Achieve the Best Quality

A common problem when shooting pizza is the amount of the dish you have in focus. Consider how you’re going to use the image and the style you are going for.

If you’re shooting for your blog or an editorial style image, a shallower depth of field can work. It can draw the eye to a particular point of focus , like a pizza slice or the pizza pull.

Often, you will want your pizza subjects pretty sharp throughout the whole image.

This will be more of a must if you’re shooting for commercial clients.

Overhead shot of a pizza with many toppings

You will need to shoot at a much lower (high number) f-stop. Use f/11 or f/16. This means that there will be a lot less light hitting your sensor.

If you are shooting with natural light , you can use a longer exposure and a tripod.

If you are using artificial lights, you will need quite a bit of power.

A good solution is to use focus stacking . This is a technique where you take three or more images with different focus points. And then blend them together in Photoshop .

It’s a lot easier than it sounds. And it’s a great approach to take when you need an image where every part of the food is sharp and in focus.

A close up of a person preparing pizza dough

2. Make the Pizza Look Fresh for Authentic Results

Another reason pizza is so difficult to style is that it needs to be shot quickly.

It requires a hot, fresh and bubbly “straight out of the oven” look. This disappears in a very short time. It can take only a few minutes before the pizza becomes cold, congealed and greasy. Nobody will want to eat a pizza that looks sad in the pictures.

You need to be organized and plan everything in advance. Have everything ready – from your lighting to your pizza base to the toppings.

Overhead shot of a pizza

Once the pizza comes out of the oven, you have a very short window to get the shot. I recommend that you prepare an extra pizza to use as a stand-in while you get your lighting right.

Once you like how your shot is looking, replace the stand-in with the “hero”. This is the pizza that is meant to be in the final shot.

Pay attention to the shooting angle as well. Pizza looks fantastic in flat lay shots . Choose this angle if you have exciting toppings or if you want to tell a story and include more elements.

If you have a nice fluffy crust, choose a lower angle, somewhere around 45 degrees. Experiment with angles to find the one you like the most.

Close up pizza photo og toppings

1. Edit Your Pizza Photos for a Natural Look

Pizza photography is not the time to use Lightroom presets or Instagram filters . Presets work for many genres of photography but they rarely work well with food.

The aim of food photography is for your subjects to look as natural as possible. After all, you’re selling food; it needs to appeal to the senses and look appetising. You shouldn’t make the pizza look different from what the guests can eat in reality.

Color is such an important part of food photography. You need to have total control of it. This is something a preset can’t give you.

Presets can create strange and unnatural color tones. These are especially obvious in the shadows and highlights.

But, if you have taken care of your lighting, you will not need to do a lot of post-production.

When you’re editing, punch up the vibrance instead of your saturation. Work individually with the color sliders in Lightroom to give your pizza images a natural boost.

A few tweaks are all you need to take your pictures from decent to fabulous.

Gourmet pizza photo

Great pizza images are very much in demand. Take some time to practice getting the excellent shots this amazing food deserves.

Pizza photography isn’t the easiest. But it’s definitely a way to challenge yourself. And it’ll help you grow your skills as a food photographer .

Looking to learn some amazing tricks to take your food photography to the next level? Why not check out our course Edible Images next!

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14 Tips for Pizza Photography: Proven Techniques for Success

Silvain • updated February 2, 2023 • 6 min read

14 Secrets for Professional Pizza Photography

The Italian restaurant is a particularly popular dining destination; the menu features pizza, pasta, and focaccia, so there is something for everyone.

Pizzas, in particular, impress with their wide range of design options and color spectrum – the intense red of the tomato sauce, bright green highlights in the form of basil leaves, or yellow-brown melted cheese that makes you want to go to the nearest pizzeria around the corner, or bake your own pizza at home.

It’s one thing to bake a pizza, but it’s quite another to get it just perfect and picture it! We share the finest ways to picture the popular, spherical taste explosions here.

1. Natural Light for Professional Pizza Photography!

Natural light is the key to success. To produce the finest potential outcomes, experts agree that photographers should use natural rather than artificial light.

Place the pizza on a table close to a window, that the light is coming from the front or from the side.

Despite what most people think, a sunny day isn’t the best day for photos. If you shoot on a cloudy day, you get beautiful photos with a more even lighting.

Direct sunlight isn’t always ideal because it casts unwelcome shadows on the subject. However, photographing with natural light is not always straightforward, as some places do not allow it.

If you must use artificial light, set the light source about a meter above the food, but avoid casting a shadow on yourself with the camera.

Pizza Presets Lightroom

Pizza Presets Lightroom

2. Avoid Harsh Flash light

But one thing is certain, the flash should rarely be used to shoot food if at all feasible. It would damage the pizza’s natural appearance, creates harsh shadows and, as a result, reduce the photo’s quality. If you need a light source, experiment with the flash or use a alternative light source.

3. Choose a Suitable Backdrop

Of course, the background is important when it comes to producing the perfect pizza photo. Rustic wooden boards or majestic marble bases complement the colors of the pizza beautifully and bring the Italian delicacy to the foreground.

Pizza photography experts use really dark to black backdrops for particularly vibrant toppings to make the pizza look even more enticing.

If you are a beginner food photographer, keep it simple with a neutral background and make sure there are no extra distractions.

It is up to your taste to use a light background or a dark background.  Just keep in mind, that  the background you select will have an impact on the look and mood of your pizza photo. See also dark and moody food photography .

4. Prepare your Image Composition

The simplest, quickest, and most efficient way to improve your pizza photographs is to use thoughtful image composition .

  • For each image, the composition of this image must be different. There are no specific guidelines for how a pizza picture should be created or what criteria must be followed.
  • However, it is critical to plan out the image composition ahead of time. Anything you can prepare or test ahead of time will save you time later. After all, you want the dish to be warm when you serve it.

Read all about Food styling to the basics right!

5. Arrange the Pizza Nicely

The most challenging and time-consuming aspect of food photography is certainly styling the pizza. It’s also crucial to observe that photographers’ pizzas are set up differently than typical customers’.

It’s best to organize the individual elements separately in order to get the best photo possible.

This is the only way to ensure that each portion of the pizza looks good on its own. The dough is baked uncovered in the oven, allowing you to bake it to the appropriate brownness while avoiding the risk of other ingredients burning.

A pizza that has just come out of the oven, with rising steam and melted cheese looks far more delicious than one that is laying on the table since a few hours.

6. Use caution when using the Sauce

Tomato sauce is poured straight to the completed baked dough, as is customary. When cooking pizza for a party, substantially less sauce is required than when creating a pizza.

This ensures that the sauce does not “water down” the cheese and that other ingredients are highlighted.

7. Less Ingredients is More

The same approach applies to the rest of the ingredients: less is more. After all, potential diners shouldn’t have to guess whether the brown patch on the crust is a mushroom, burnt cheese, or anything else.

Choose your components carefully and pay attention to the color contrasts – the red of the tomato sauce, for example, complements the green highlights of basil brilliantly.

If the pizza has herbs on it, don’t cook them in the oven with the pizza because they will lose their shape and texture. Put them on after, so you have something colorful and fresh looking in the picture.

8. The Draw of the Cheese

The presentation of the cheese is equally vital here; after all, what thrills pizza enthusiasts more than gently melted cheese on their favorite pizza?

This is where the English term “ cheese pull ” comes from. To obtain this appearance, cut a piece of pizza and lift it off with a shovel; the cheese extends between the other pieces and generates threads that cheese lovers adore!

9. Putting it all Together

Olive oil is an excellent technique to cap off the ideal pizza shot. After baking, brush the border with a thin layer of olive oil to achieve a golden brown color.

Brushing the other components with oil can help them stand out more, but olive oil isn’t recommended because its greenish tint can affect the quality of the other colors. You can use canola or other colorless vegetable oils in this recipe.

10. Finally, add some Unique Texture

Experts advocate spreading coarse-grained spices like chili flakes, granular salt, and freshly ground pepper on top of the pizza to give it some structure.

Because one thing is certain: the emphasis here is on the finer points, and those finer points frequently make all the difference!

11. Adjust White Balance

When shooting in artificial light, the camera’s white balance must be adjusted. Because every camera’s white balance is different, you should consult your camera’s user manual for this step.

In a nutshell, the white balance (WB) changes the image’s color temperature to match the lighting circumstances. A white balance is essential for each lighting environment to avoid color casts (light bulbs have a yellow cast, for example). 

12. Depth of Field – Bokeh

With this, we’ve reached the pinnacle of photography expertise. The depth of field is restricted as nearly as possible around the plane on which the main subject is positioned in this design option.

As a result, the distinction between foreground and backdrop is blurred. The amount of blur is determined by the image sensor size, lens, and aperture of the camera. Intentional blurring can greatly enhance an image’s meaning.

13. Take Pictures from Various Angles

Pizzas are ideal for photographing from above, especially because of their round form. However, there are additional factors to consider if you want to be successful with your photography.

Flat shots are a great way to highlight particularly interesting toppings. When it comes to fluffy crust, experts recommend presenting it at a  to make it look really appetizing.

14. Edit your Pizza Photos

The naturalness and realism of the colors is vital here, because guests want to see what they can anticipate to see in real life through the product photographs! To attract to potential guests, the color scheme should be bright and appealing.

Of course, there’s photo editing! It’s just as crucial as the preparation, style , and photo shoot. If you have Lightroom or Photoshop, this is fantastic.

Don’t worry if you don’t. There are numerous programs available, including free photo editing apps. You can edit photographs on your smartphone as well, using apps like Snapseed or VSCO , which are both free.

15. Frequently asked questions

Can i use my flash when shooting the pizza.

Be careful with your flash. Even though the flash is supposed to make your photos brighter, it is often so bright that it can wash out your picture.

Flash can make things look shiny and like they are made of plastic. This is especially true of pictures of meats and cheeses, which are important parts of a good pizza. So, don’t use too much flash.

How do you take photos of pizza?

The key to a great pizza photo is having the right tools. This includes at least an appropriate camera or  smartphone , a steady hand, a well-lit room, and a good-looking pizza.

How do you make a pizza photo that looks like a professional one?

Using the right focal length, aperture, white balance, and shutter speed is the key to making your photos look real. In addition, understanding how light affects the image will help you create an image that looks like it was taken by someone with expertise.

How is pizza photography different from other forms of food photography?

Pizza photography is not that much different from other forms of  food photography , but can be tricky because you have to make sure your pizza looks delicious while giving the viewer a clear idea of what they are looking at. 

What is the best type of camera to take pictures of Pizza?

A  DSLR or a mirrorless camera  is best for food and pizza photography. If you have an iPhone or other smartphone, that’s a great option as well, especially when you take photos in a restaurant.

How do you take good photos of pizza?

It’s important to think about the elements that make a great photo. You want to avoid harsh lighting, which can distort the look of your pizza and cause it to look dark or blurry.

You also don’t want to have too much going on in front of your food; try using a simple backdrop like a wall. You may a small bowl with a fresh salad.

Can I create and use own interesting photogenic toppings for the pizza?

Yes, you can use your own toppings for your pizza photoshoot, there is no rule or regulation. You can use for example spicy meatballs, roasted garlic, and use herbs from your mini garden to give it some nice color. For the composition, just keep all in balance and do not put too many toppings on the pizza

Discover our collection of Food photography recipes:

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16. Pizza Gallery Photos

photo idea - Card boxes for Pizza packing

405 pizza company photos@lukasbee

photo idea - hand pulling pizza piece

@sammoqadam

photo idea - pizze close up with oven in the background

@laviperchik

photo idea - making the dough

@raziii1375

photo idea - pizza on rustic wooden board

@idonothingbutlove

photo idea - pizze on wooden board with spoon and fork, knife as props

@davidbenesph

photo idea - pizza taken with natural light

pepperoni cups @marianamartz

photo idea - pizza with cheese drizzled cheese pattern on top

@faizansaeed

photo idea - pizza with props, bowls, pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, colorful

No clue how to make pizza – check out this recipes:

Where did pizza originate? Veggie supreme Detroit style pizza Burrata pizza pie How to make the perfect grilled pizza Easy pull apart pizza bread Mama’s best pizza dough recipes Best homemade pizza Recipe ever

17. Conclusion

Capturing the beauty and taste of a pizza in a photograph is both an art and a science. From using natural light and avoiding harsh flash, to carefully selecting ingredients and arranging them just so, the tips outlined in this article provide a roadmap for taking stunning pizza photos.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these tips are sure to help elevate your food photography game and have your followers drooling over each and every slice. So, grab your camera and get ready to make your next pizza creation the star of the show!

What are your thoughts on professional pizza photography, let us know in the comments!

Silvain is a French/German national and has been with the Furoore Team since the beginning. He likes to write about various photography themes, especially food photography. If you leave a comment, he will come back to you to answer any questions you may have.

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Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Pizza Photography

Everyone loves pizza, so it makes sense that you want to show off your delicious pizzas. But if the photos of your pizzas are not up to par, people might be less likely to order one! With these 11 tips for taking great photos of your pizza, you will have a much better chance at increasing sales.

1) Lighting – You want plenty of light when photographing food items because it gives the subject more depth and clarity. The best time to take photographs is during midday when there’s plenty of natural light in the sky or afternoon hours before sunset.

2) Background – Your background should be simple with minimal distractions on it so that all attention can go on what’s being photographed – namely your delicious pizza.

pizza photography

Table of Contents

Equipment Selection for Superior Results

pizza photography

If you want to take great photos of your pizza, the first thing you should do is choose the right equipment for perfect results. You’ll need a good camera with lots of photo options. It’s also important to know how to use these functions so that you can set up your shot and take it at just the right time. I recommend using 18 megapixels or more so that your high definition images will turn out great!

You should also have a tripod that you can keep your camera on as well as a remote. A tripod will help ensure that the photo is steady and crisp, while the shutter release button of the remote gives you more control over when to snap your shot so it’s not blurry from being moved or touched. If using a flash , be sure to use one with a diffuser attachment for soft lighting instead of harsh direct light!

Set up the Lighting for Bright, Well-Lit Photos

The lighting setup for well-lit images is the most crucial aspect of successful pizza photography . You should make sure that there is sufficient window light or outside natural light before setting up a studio inside the house to take photographs. In order to set up your lighting, try to shoot with a white balance where you can see the shadow and highlights in the frame. When photographing food, you need adequate lights and reflectors to provide a quality image that will not distort the shape and color of your dish. When the lighting is right, you can choose your settings.

The Best Way to Make a Stacked Wood-Oven Pizza for Mouthwatering Photos

pizza photography

Put the pizza on a pizza peel or cookie sheet. Slice it in half with a pie slicer or sharp knife. You can also get creative and slice different parts of the pizza differently, such as one half with more cheese, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.

Use high quality ingredients for your pizza. If you’re making a dough from scratch, make sure to use high quality flour and cold water. The cold water keeps the dough from developing too much gluten which will make it tough to stretch out and shape without tearing too easily. It also helps create a nice chewy crust when cooked properly.

The sauce should be of good quality as well since you’ll be tasting it on every bite of pizza. You can use fresh, canned or jarred. If you’re using fresh ingredients for the sauce, make sure to cook it on low-medium heat until all of the juices are evaporated and what’s left is a thick mixture that doesn’t spill when moved around.

Avoid thin crust pizza because it will be harder to get nice looking slices due to its tendency to tear more easily during cutting. Also avoid very deep dish style pizzas since they won’t have enough cheese coverage so every slice may appear sloppy unless you cut off excess cheese beforehand.

To get the best quality, establish a clear focus.

pizza photography

One thing that you should keep in mind when taking photos of your pizza is to make sure you’re focused on the right part. This means that you need to really think about what you want to capture and then focus on it as much as possible.

While this may seem like a simple enough tip, it is definitely one that you will need to keep in mind when taking photos.

Make the Pizzas Look Fresh and New for Genuine Results

pizza photography

The close-up, detail shots show the fresh ingredients that are used for this recipe. These ingredients include tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and mozzarella cheese. The pictures also show the pizza baking in the oven with a bright yellow oven light. This bright lighting is great for capturing dishes like pizzas because it makes it look crispy and delicious.

Tip: Try using a tripod for this type of shot. It will help you get the best looking picture possible because it is not easy to hold your camera still when taking close up shots in low light conditions with no flash. A tripod gives you more control over where and how your food photo looks so that you can take better pictures every time!

For a natural appearance, edit your pizza photos

pizza photography

In this section of the article, I am going to talk about how you edit your pizza photos . In order to take a photo that looks natural, you need to follow a few simple steps:

1) Clean up the background with Photoshop . To do this, go into Select and then Color Range. You can usually use the eye dropper on the dominant colors in the background and select them as shown below:

2) Next, set your pizza as a 3D object. This will retain some of the depth of focus that you might not get from cropping it as a flat surface:

3) Last, crop your pizza as desired. This is often just to remove any artifacts from editing or to make it square for Instagram.

Pizza Photography Ideas

pizza photography ideas 12

Conclusion:

We hope you find these tips helpful and that they help make your next pizza-eating experience even more tasty. With these camera settings , lighting techniques, and composition rules in mind, you will be able to capture all the ingredients that make up a truly amazing pizza.

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  • September 2015

Photographing pizza can be a complicated process, but these 6 snappy tips will help you nail the shot.

photography ideas pizza

1. Set the right scene. Jennifer Morris, owner of Ajenda Public Relations in Orange, California, advises preparing for your shoot by creating a “mood board,” complete with finished photos that you like. “With pizza, you have a short window of time to get the perfect shot, so having some inspiration, along with various props at the ready—a pizza cutter, flour, chopped basil, etc.—will help you set up the photo,” she explains. “But be realistic. If you’re running a casual pizza joint, you probably shouldn’t emulate photos of artisan pizza.”

Morris adds that natural light picks up all of the nuances and bubbles on the crust; flash photography in a dark environment will not showcase the best-looking parts of the pizza.

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8 tips to create delicious images for pizza online ordering.

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Miriam was a Marketing Content Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2019 to 2020, and was always on the hunt for great topics to share with restaurant entrepreneurs all over the world.

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Ordering food online from a website boasting mouth watering photos is like grocery shopping when you’re hungry—you’re going to purchase more than you originally intended to. This is the goal of food photography on an online ordering website. 

It’s common to overlook the importance of online menu item images when it sounds like a huge  investment in time, money and effort—luxuries that most pizzeria owners don’t have to spare. Fortunately, creating strong images of your food doesn’t have to mean hiring a professional food photographer or setting up a studio in your restaurant. All you need is your phone, a big open window, your best prepared delicious looking pizzas, and 8 helpful tips. 

According to research, items that have an image next to them have an average increase of 6.5% in sales, compared to those without. The following simple tips will help you capture and upload delicious looking images to your site, and increase your online sales as a direct result.

1. Know Your Camera

No matter what kind of camera you end up using, it’s important to know how to use it. An expensive camera won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to adjust the settings. This includes phone cameras—using unfamiliar settings on your phone can present problems. For example, in portrait mode, it can be a common mistake to blur out parts of the photo you don’t mean to, instead of just blurring the background.

Food Photography using a phone

If you are limited to the camera built into your phone, don’t worry. Modern phone cameras have proven themselves to be exceptional! Just take some time to experiment ahead of your planned photo shoot, so you know the effect of the various settings. With the technology we have today, you’ll be able to take a professional-looking photo on your phone by simply using the right settings,  lighting, and angles.

2. Lighting is Key

Expensive lighting equipment isn’t necessary when you have access to a bright open window. In fact, natural light is often best. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything. Simply find a nice spot outside your restaurant, or a counter close to a big window, and wait for a cloudy day. Contrary to popular belief, a sunny day isn’t actually the perfect day for photos. Shooting when it’s cloudy will eliminate harsh shadows caused by direct sunlight, and result in beautiful, evenly lit images. 

Speedy Tip

3. Choose a Neutral Background

Neutral is best! Keep it simple, and make sure the area is clear and free of distractions. Ideal options to choose from are a light background, a dark background, or wood. Remember, these photos will be on your online ordering site, so the background you pick will affect your entire website. Think about your brand, and choose whether a light, dark, or wood background is the best fit.

Pizza Photography Backgrounds

4. Keep it Consistent

Consistency matters. When a customer browses through menu items, they should have an easy time reviewing and comparing options, if the only major aspect that changes are the pizza toppings. However, if the background, angles, and lighting vary in every image, your customers are going to have to concentrate harder to pick out their favorite pizza.

It helps to think about final use. What will your images look like once uploaded to your online ordering website? What do you want them to look like as a group? Here are some more helpful things to think about: 

  • Once the image is uploaded, will you be cropping it into the shape of a square? Will they all be cropped to a certain dimension? It’s frustrating to compose the perfect shot on camera and then realize once uploaded that half the dish will be cropped out! Keep the final crop in mind when composing your shots, and if you’re unsure, zoom out a little to give yourself some cropping options later. 
  • Decide from the beginning what angle you want to shoot from. Shooting from a side angle instead of from directly above can add overall interest to the image. However, if you shoot from this angle for the first dish, you should continue to take photos from the same angle to maintain consistency. Using an inexpensive tripod can help with this immensely.
  • Once you’ve chosen a background, stick to it. It will be pleasing to the eye if the background stays relatively the same. If you are unhappy with the counters in your restaurant, put a wooden cutting board or peel under your dish. The wood tones will look warm and natural without becoming distracting. The same goes for the lighting. Pick a spot, and stick to it! Try to shoot at the same time of day and with similar sky conditions to make the lighting look consistent. When you see the finished product, you'll be glad you paid attention to this.

Need tips for writing menu descriptions to pair with your images? Download "6 Steps to Creating the Perfect Menu Description."

6 steps to creating the perfect menu description

5. Details Make The Difference

A small detail that may not seem consequential in person may actually be a distraction in the photo. Here are a few elements to keep in mind when arranging food for the shot:

  • Only use the best looking ingredients. This dish is meant to be eaten visually, and using vibrant color varieties in your dish can make it really pop. 
  • Is the food at its best? A pizza that is pulled fresh out of the oven with the cheese melted and glistening and the steam rising off of it will look much more appetizing than one that’s been sitting out for a few hours and gone cold.
  • Make sure both the background and the plate are clean. Trust me, you will notice that smudge on the plate and the dirty napkin in the background later.
  • Garnish your dishes. This can range from adding a sprinkle of green parsley or green onions to the top of a dish, an edible flower to a dessert, or even a piece of freshly toasted, home-baked bread on the side. But this leads us to our next rule.

Food Photography - Styling with a garnish

6. Be Authentic

There’s nothing worse for a customer than being served a meal that looks nothing like the menu photo. When you plate your dishes for a photo, think about elevating the meal’s appearance without actually altering the dish itself. Adding an extra food item to the photo that won’t be served is a sure way to disappoint your customers. Make it look delicious, but keep it authentic.

7. Edit for the Best Results

It’s cheaper and easier than ever to download a free editing app to your phone to touch up your photos. After editing, you want your menu photos to look bright, colorful, and sharp.

If you’re not sure where to start when editing, begin by boosting the vibrance a bit, slowly sharpen the image by increasing the clarity and contrast, and decrease dark shadows. Remember: a small adjustment goes a long way. Dragging a slider to an extreme will almost certainly make your photo look over-edited—subtlety is key. 

Editing Burger - Online Ordering Photography

  • Lightroom Mobile
  • For a great video tutorial on editing food photography on lightroom mobile , check out The Bite Shot on YouTube.
  • Like Lightroom Mobile, VSCO allows you to quickly import photos and use sliders to adjust lighting, contrast, color and more. 

8. Use Placeholders in the Short Term

Don’t have time to take quality photos, but you need your site up and running? There’s a lot of that going around these days. Although well presented food photos will sell better than anything else, if you have to postpone taking them for now,  use a placeholder image that represents your brand.  That will look better than leaving the image blank, or using a generic “image coming soon” placeholder. Some creative placeholder photo ideas:

  • Take a nice photo of a box lid, a plate, a menu, or another object showing your logo.
  • Take a shot of a pizza pan, peel, or an object in your store that represents your brand, and use an editing app to put “image coming soon” text over it (in your brand colors, of course).

Photo Creation

That’s it! If you’re looking to save money and capture some delicious images of your food for your online ordering website using just your phone, you can absolutely do it. Adhere to the tips outlined here and you could be surprised at the quality of images you end up with. Most importantly, your customers will love seeing a visual representation of their order. You may just see your sales start to take off.

If it feels like taking photos just isn’t for you, professional food photographers can help!  Simply explain your vision to them, supply them with delicious looking dishes, and let them do the rest. This can be an investment, but again, having quality images under the nose of hungry customers can mean the difference between modest and jaw-dropping online sales.

Online Ordering Menu - Professional Food Photographer

Losing orders online? Take this online ordering site audit to find your weak spots.

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Posted on Thu, Apr 09, 2020 @ 07:04 AM. Updated on April 27, 2023 @ 6:46 PM PST.

Tags: Online Ordering , Food Photography

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