Food, Technology

Food Photography: A Growth Sector

August 22, 2018

Reports from last year suggested that 69% of millennials take photographs or videos of their food before eating — which suggests that showing images of what we’re doing when we’re doing it has grown in popularity and even importance over recent years.

The focus of Instagram is to look at and upload photos — so it’s no surprise that it’s the greatest social media platform for photography. With 800 million monthly active users, it’s undeniable that this platform is one of the biggest contributing factors to the increase in food photography around the world.

Canon lenses retailer, Clifton Cameras, has explored the advantages of social exposure with regard to companies in the catering and food industry, looking at how user-generated content can enhance profits and brand awareness. Can photography assist your business when it comes to development and growth?

Boosting variety and making your dishes attractive

High-resolution photos are essential to showing your customer why they need to enjoy your food over your competitors. Are you making the most of photography on your menus and print marketing products?

Many people, no matter which venue they choose to dine at, often opt for the same meal. By offering new and repeat customers a fresh menu featuring vivid, attractive images of food, you can boost customer retention rates, as people will be more impressed by the range on offer. Presenting your customers with a visual choice, not only helps sell the meal and make you more in profit, but also better informs you customer and encourages them to try more on the menu to boost repeat custom while helping you make use of all ingredients.

When it comes to selling food, there’s nothing that compares to a photo. Having close up images of courses or showing how meals are prepared by your chef are great ways to promote freshness, authenticity and flavour. You could also implement an Instagram widget on your website’s sidebar to display your latest posts and create a seamless user experience that connects your social activity to your home site.

Food influencers

When Mark Fidelman spoke to Modern Social Magazine, he commented that: “Influencer marketing as a practice has proved to reach far beyond the capabilities of most advertising methods.”

Reportedly, almost three-quarters of millennials feel they should help others make the right purchasing decision, while 92% trust real people over ads to help them buy. This is why using influencer marketing is so beneficial in 2018 — clearly, that’s where the trend is.

When Calsway, a Californian health-based catering company, tried to break the UK market; it used influencer marketing with great success. It employed the work of three, relevant influencers to upload food photos of Calsway products via their accounts and offer commentary on different dishes. Engagement rate in the UK for the company shot up, as a result. Seasoning company, Santa Maria, also used influencers to target the millennial demographic via enticing and action-based food photos — and the results were equally positive.

Employ the use of social influencers and let them help you spread attractive, tempting food photos of your menu. Invite them for a free meal and ask them to take pictures of each course, followed by a photo at your restaurant bar or enjoying your outdoor terrace to show off the quality of your eatery’s décor and services. This is great for enhancing engagement, brand awareness, and ultimately, sales.

Social media

Experts predict that there’ll be approximately 2.77 billion social media users by 2019. This means more people and businesses are connecting, which also means brands will have more scope to reach their audiences. But how can food photography assist? Through the use and popularity of social platforms, we’ve been able to gain greater insights to the lives of different people and cultures across the globe through a glance at our smartphones; once seen as an impossibility for many.

We now have the chance to see local dishes from all over the globe. Whether you’re sat in a restaurant, café or pub — it’s become the norm to see people taking pictures of their dishes and share them online using geotags, hashtags and more to achieve greater reach and visibility.

This is user-generated content — and businesses can make a lot of money from it. If more people are interacting with your brand across social media platforms, more people become aware of your business which could see an increase in custom.

If you try to encourage customer to snap pictures and document their time in your restaurant or café, you can advertise your business to the masses for free, as well as show how your eatery has credibility among its target audience and industry peers as an innovative and current place. One of the biggest benefits of user-generated content is that it will allow you to analyse the demographics of your audience and gain a greater insight to what type of people they are. This will enable you to tailor not only the type of food you serve to them, but the music that you play, specials that you offer and events that you host — giving people a reason to return.

You can also use social media to create hype around your brand in other ways. Why not, for example, introduce a “Picture of the Month” competition. People will upload and tag in your establishment to multiple images of their food and then you can select the best picture. Make the prize a free meal and you can bag yourself a load of free advertising for very little expense.

Don’t underestimate how much people want to get that ‘perfect shot’. Businesses must understand that it’s all about aesthetics and presentation when it comes to food photography; from unique serving boards to the interior décor of your building. If you don’t offer attractive looking surroundings, tables, artwork, and tableware to complement your delicious looking food, then this could harm the chances of a customer snapping, uploading and tagging an image.

Clearly, food photography is key to the success of a business. If you aren’t up to speed with food photography, how to implement it and its benefits, your eatery may suffer. Are you ready to introduce the above to your business?

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