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Do you find it challenging to capture interesting pictures of your hospitality business to use for engaging social media content? We can help you with this!

It’s no mystery that good photography can make or break the social media account for your hospitality business. We can all recognise when a photo looks terrible, but just what does it take to make a winning photo?

Please bear in mind that this checklist is by no means exhaustive, and simply outlines what I have found to work for me and my clients.

Furthermore, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for investing in getting a professional photographer to do a shoot in your venue. If you’re just launching your venue, or you have a new product being launched, a professional photographer is pretty much a mandatory expense.

This guide is designed to help you and your staff create a stream of steady social media content that will look great, and will keep your followers coming back for more.

The overall objectives of good social media content:

  • To encourage engagement on the social media post.
  • To encourage conversation or debate on the post – e.g. asking for opinions.
  • To evoke a positive emotional response (happiness, ‘aww’, desire) – e.g. cute dogs, delicious-looking food.
  • To allow people to visualise themselves right there in your venue and experience some of the sensations that they can expect before they’ve even set foot in the door.
  • To raise awareness of particular dishes, products, upsells or services that may not otherwise be known about.
  • To raise awareness of time-limited specials that people may not be already aware of – e.g. cocktail specials, weekly food specials, special events. 

General technical requirements for social media posts:

  • Always aim to have photos for social media taken in portrait (9:16 aspect), not landscape. This goes for pictures and videos.
  • No, or minimal, use of filters. This helps to keep your grid looking consistent.
  • Adjustments of photo limited to the ‘auto tune’ feature. Ensures consistency.

Photographic/Composition notes to consider:

  • Lighting is key. Do not use the internal camera flash, but also ensure that there is adequate lighting on the subject. This allows for a quick shutter speed which can help reduce blurriness and decrease the ISO which will lead to a sharper image.
  • ‘Portrait’ mode on the iPhone is a good thing to use! Depth of field looks great, but make sure it doesn’t look fake. Portrait mode if particularly good for (you guessed it), portraits of people… don’t use it on food.

Ideas of things to take pictures of:

  • Food/plates and bowls being held, as if they’re about to be handed to someone at their table. What does the customer see as they’re about to have the food handed to them? 
  • Cocktails/Cocktail specials/Classics
  • Large groups
  • People holding drinks
  • Full restaurant
  • Dogs/pets in the restaurant if you’re pet friendly. People love pictures of pets!
  • Cocktails with all of the garnish.
  • Pictures of staff members and members of your team. (if they’re happy with it!). This is to help humanise your brand, and make people feel more at home and familiar with the team before they even come into the venue. If we can help people visualise their visit to your venue before they’ve even come into it, then happy days!)
  • The outside of the building
  • The cocktails/food/drinks special board
  • The outside seating area.
  • If you have any branding in your venue as part of the decor, or the logo on your menus, then get that in! This all helps to familiarise people with your logo, so they’ll be more receptive to seeing it and picking it out amongst the rest of the social media feed/high street. 
  • COVID-proofing measures – track and trace, table sanitising and stuff like that.

Summary:

Obviously, you know the ins and outs of what makes a good picture, but hopefully, this has given you a top-level idea of what we’re trying to achieve, as well as some ideas of what should work well.

So, to conclude:

  • Always Portrait, including videos for stories
  • Minimal/no filters
  • More images are better than fewer images.

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We normally help restaurants increase their booking revenue by 20% – 100% within 3 months!

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