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Restaurants: How to Take Great Smartphone Photos for Social Media – Composition

Social Media for Restaurants - Social High Rise

Learning to master your smartphone’s camera is one of the most valuable skills you can learn if you want to create great social media content for your restaurant. In Part 1 of this blog series, I shared a few tips about how to use different types of lighting to capture great photos. While that post is an excellent starting point, there is a lot more to taking great photos with your smartphone than the standard “point and shoot.” Besides having the right lighting, a great photo needs great composition, which is how the subject matter and/or objects are placed together.

There are various elements involved in the composition of a photo, so I’ve created a list of some useful tips to help you properly compose great photos using your smartphone:

Say ‘No’ to Your Smartphone’s Zoom: Instead, crop your photo in post-production, or while editing. The more you zoom using your smartphone’s native zoom feature, the more your photo will lose detail. This loss in quality will make your photo appear pixelated and low-quality, which is why cropping while editing is recommended.

Use the Rule of Thirds: This classic photography standard is used by dividing your screen into thirds horizontally and vertically. Instead of positioning your subject in the middle, position them in one third of the frame. This will help draw the viewer’s eye to the object/subject. For those of us who need to literally see the lines, most smartphones actually have this feature built into their settings.

Minimize Distractions: Use solid, uniform backgrounds or neutral patterns (i.e. wooden table, grassy field). Avoid surfaces or backdrops that distract from the subject. Also make sure you don’t let your lens get too close to the subject.

Add Context: Sometimes a solid background can leave your subject looking lonely. Incorporate a person or some other object to add a bit of context to your photo to take it a step further. Capture someone making a meal, interacting with a customer, or holding a tray of drinks. This will make your photo much more interesting.

Pay Attention to Angles: Shoot your photos so that your lens is either pointing straight-on or straight above your subject. Most smartphones have wide-angle camera lenses, which distort your object. If you use these two angles they will give your photo the most appealing look, especially if you’re photographing food.

Keep Your Lens Clean: Pockets are not the cleanest places in the world, yet that’s where most of us carry our smartphone. They harbor dust, lint, and grime which loves to stick to your smartphones camera lens. Taking photos with a dirty camera lens results in hazy, dark images that will not look good no matter what you do. So be sure to wipe the pocket grime off your smartphone camera lens before taking photos.

The key takeaway here is this: Take the time to compose your photo so that it looks good in your camera viewfinder first. That way when you use your photo for social media, you’ll end up with much more appealing photos that will get more engagement.

Side note: Never have the mindset of “oh, I can just fix this later while editing.” If you do, you seriously need to take a look at your life.

I hope these tips will help you step up your photography game. If you feel like your photos are still missing that je ne sais quoi, you can finesse them in post-production. Check out Part 3 of this blog series (coming soon) to learn more about how to properly edit your photos.

Did you know?

We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.

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