Food is an important part of our lives. Look at the number of social media posts that are devoted to food: images, recipes, restaurants, meals, ingredients and people craving their favorite snack. Everybody eats, and we often share the experience with friends and loved ones.
Be Authentic, Real and Genuine
Most of the time in advertising what you see isn’t what you eat. In fact, it’s not even close. The “juicy” hamburger photo? It’s probably been slathered with motor oil to simulate meat juices and stuffed with burger-shaped circles of cardboard to keep each layer of topping perfectly in place. That cool and refreshing cocktail? It’s certainly filled to the brim with plastic ice cubes that won’t melt under hot lights and sprayed down with beads of glycerin condensation to fake the chill.
Let’s Get Real with Food Photography
Elaborate food photography shoots are acceptable for quarterly and monthly campaigns with a long lifespan and large media buys behind them, but when you have to stretch a budget across a content calendar to create dozens of posts every month, you must take food down from its pedestal and think of ways to show real food, real people and real situations.
Not to say food can or should be presented poorly in digital content; it still needs to look enticing and tasty—just not perfect. Specifically, there is no place for perfection on social media—it’ll look out of place. Just like the overly photoshopped model or the click-bait headline, consumers quickly spot and dismiss phony content.
Creating The Content
Through digital platforms, most brands have to do more with less. Having fewer resources to commit to individual projects, means needing to be creative in how you are capturing content for digital media. With a few tricks and some photography fundamentals, brands can make their food and products look great despite limitations.
Single Focal Point
Make sure you’re asking people to look at the one thing that’s most important in the picture. Too many elements in the picture result in too many distractions, and your message and original intention may be lost.
Fewer Filters, More Fine-Tuning
Facebook and Instagram filters are a good starting place for beginners who don’t know how to edit photos, but try fine-tuning your images using the more advanced settings within the app.
How your subject is lit in the photo is very important. Use natural light sources, such as large windows, to help brighten your images.
Freshness cues are a food industry term used to describe the visual indicators that enhance the food’s perceived freshness to a consumer. In other words, we want you to know this breakfast sandwich is made with real, fresh eggs by including one in the photo. Surround your food with real ingredients to imply the product’s freshness and authenticity.
Think Faster With Video
Thirty seconds used to be a short time, now it’s a lifetime. It’s clear consumer’s attention spans are dwindling, and, as content creators, we must adapt. We need to break away from the set time constraints of broadcast ads and other long-form content. We’re all distracted and swiping quickly to the next new thing. Content creators like Tasty and BuzzFeed were at the forefront of snack-size content that can be quickly ingested and have created their own genre of marketing video—the seen-from-above hands that craft the newest taste sensation in a matter of seconds.
Be True To The Brand
Use your images to tell the story of your brand. Choose story themes that feel authentic and help your customers relate to your brand. Also, make sure that all of your images tie together visually over time. This consistent look will help train your customers to recognize your brand, making it distinguishable and memorable. You can express your brand through themes, color palettes and subject matter.
Rick Nelson, Senior Video Editor