Food photography has become more important than ever, given the meteoric rise in the popularity of food delivery platforms and the surge in the number of people using them. This can be attributed to the global pandemic, along with the hustle and bustle of people’s daily lives. With the food delivery sector in Singapore forecast to be worth US$ 708 million by 2025 and the users utilising such services expected to reach 3.6 million, it is imperative to ensure your food photography on food delivery apps is nothing less than perfect.
Why is food photography so important?
With an ever-growing customer base using Singapore’s many food delivery platforms like Foodpanda, Deliveroo and GrabFood, you have to showcase your dishes in the right light. It will entice diners to select your restaurant if the photos you use really pop and make your food look mouth-wateringly appetising.
If you are able to utilise food photography properly, your business will likely see an increase in revenue and profits as more and more people will be flocking to try the delicious delicacies you are serving up.
To help you achieve this, we at Smart City Kitchens have prepared an in-depth guide to food photography for the various food delivery platforms in Singapore.
Renowned for being one of the powerhouses of the food delivery market, there are three types of photos you have to get right to really stand out from the crowd – listing photo, banner photo and dish photo.
Listing photo – This is the first image customers see when your restaurant pops up on their Foodpanda feed. In most cases, it features a restaurant’s signature dishes that are the hallmark of the eatery. Since this is the first visual point of contact, it is essential to make sure that the picture used captures the very essence of what your F&B business is about, while also ensuring that it piques customers’ interest and encourages them to order from you.
Banner photo – This is essentially a large image that represents your restaurant’s profile. It should consist of multiple signature dishes or a particular item on the menu, especially if it has a unique selling point, such as being made in a particular way or using traditional methods.
Dish photo – These are individual photos on the restaurant’s menu that can be found on the Foodpanda app. It should showcase what the dish looks like and be taken from an angle that makes it look incredibly scrumptious.
Listing and banner photos
- Minimum dimension of 1440px x 1053px
- Minimum size of 200KB
- Dishes should be in the centre of the photo
- Images should not be blurry
- Don’t include food items that are not served by your restaurant
- Watermarks, logos, collages, text and borders are strictly prohibited
- Minimum dimension of 1000px x 731px
- Minimum size of 200KB
- Photos of any food should be in the centre of the image
- Images should be clear and bright
- Don’t feature dishes that are not served by your eatery
- Don’t include any watermarks, logos, collages, text and borders
Listing and banner photos
- Same photos can be used for your listing and banner photos
- Have images of at least five different dishes
- The angle should be 90 degrees (top view)
- The picture of your dish should take up at least 80% of the frame
- All food items must be in focus
- Props can be used to complement the dishes
- Have a plain and bright background
- Should be one photo
- Recommended that it be taken from a 45-degree angle (However, this can vary depending on the type of dish it is as burgers should be taken from a front view – 0-degree angle, while soups and curries should be taken from a 90-degree top angle view)
- The dish should take up at least 80% of the frame
- The entire food item should be in focus
- Don’t use any props
- Use a plain background
Here are a few food photography lighting styles that can really elevate your dishes to a whole new level.
- Lighting from the side – Brings out shadows and bright spots of dishes
- Diffused light – Using a reflective surface will help bounce and diffuse natural or artificial lighting onto your food
- Natural light – The best option to use when doing food photography
- Artificial light – Ideal to use 2 hot shoe flashes with modifiers
Use the following to make your photos stand out even further:
- Sharpen the photo – Gives it definition and makes the dish look sleeker and more elegant
- Adjust the white balance – Warmer light makes food look much more appealing
- Adjust the brightness and contrast – Boosts the colours, highlights and shadows of your food
- Tweak the saturation – Another great way to let the colours pop
Another major player in the food delivery sector, there are four main things to keep in mind – dish placement, aspect ratio, specifications and stock photos.
Hero images – People will see this first when coming across your restaurant on the Deliveroo app, so it is imperative that it is of the highest quality.
Menu item images – These are individual photos of the dishes your establishment serves. In order to entice people to order from you, these snaps need to really shine.
- All hero images should have at least five different dishes
- The food items should take up the majority of the photo
- First photo people will see, so make sure it truly represents your brand
- Don’t overcrowd the image with too many dishes
- No watermarks, hands, faces, text or raw ingredients should be in the image
- Collages and photoshopped images are not permitted
Menu item images
- One image that clearly shows the ingredients
- Use a clear background
- Ensure the dish is centred
- Use natural light to avoid reflections and shadows
- Don’t use any watermarks, hands, faces, text or raw ingredients
- Avoid collages and photoshopping images
- Hero images – at least 1920px x 1080px (Anything higher must have a 16:9 ratio)
- Menu item images – at least 1200px x 800px
- All photos should be landscape
- Whole food item should be in the image
- Ensure the photo isn’t blurry
- For dishes like burgers, sandwiches, cakes and drinks, use a 45-degree side-on angle
- All images must be JPEG format
- Images must be named according to the dish it is representing
- All photos uploaded must be owned by you
- Stock photos or images taken from search engines like Google are not allowed
GrabFood is Singapore’s most popular food delivery app, with 77 percent of people using it, according to a survey conducted by Rakuten Insight. Furthermore, it acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations in 2018. Given its popularity amongst the locals, restaurants wanting to feature on the app have to follow specific requirements during the food photography process.
Banner image – This is the customer’s first point of contact when finding your restaurant. This photo should emanate what kind of cuisine your eatery specialises in.
List image – This is the picture that will be shown when your business is on the list next to other restaurants. In order to stave off your competitors, your food photography can’t afford to be anything less than top-notch.
- Overhead shots – Food items should be placed in the centre of the frame
- 45-degree shots – A single dish should be the main focus
- Straight-on shot (side view) – Ideal to showcase the ingredients in dishes, making it perfect for burgers, sandwiches, cakes or drinks
- It is essential that your food is cooked properly before being plated up and ready to be photographed
- The plating of the food should exude class, so make sure nothing has spilt and there are no stains or marks that will turn your customers away
- Upload two pictures with one being in 1:1 aspect ratio (750px x 750px) and the other in 9:5 (1350px x 750px)
- Should make it easy to identify what type of food your restaurant serves
- Use a picture that best captures the branding of your establishment
- Don’t use close-up shots
- Plain and clear backgrounds are best
- Use contrasting colours
- Don’t take shots of your food on utensils
- Don’t clutter the shot with too many dishes
- Avoid cropping images
- Showcase any ingredients prominently
- Don’t take blurry photos
- Don’t use vibrant backgrounds
- Don’t use artsy photos; simple is best
- Poor, overexposed and underexposed lighting must be avoided at all costs
- Make sure the photo isn’t over-saturated
- Ensure the photo is well lit, so your food stands out
- Use textured backgrounds such as wood, ceramic and marble
- Don’t use fancy or patterned backgrounds as it will take the focus off your food
A picture of the future
Given the prominence of food delivery apps in Singapore and the growing number of people using them, there is no denying that any restaurant owner wanting to make an impact and grow their sales have to nail their food photography. With the above guidelines, you can do just that and watch your revenue climb to an all-time high.
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