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The Importance of Instagram Framing

Our restaurant consultants firmly believe in the use of social media for restaurants. Not only is it a means of maintaining relationships and interacting with current customers, it can be a good way of getting your name out to new patrons as well.

But that only holds true if the account is managed properly.

"There is a vast, strong food culture that exists on Instagram," says Sarah Noel, a social media consultant for National Restaurant Consultants. "But because it's big and popular, it is also competitive. If you want to stand out, your photos need to impress."

It's easy to sit down to dinner or dessert, like the look of your food, and snap a quick picture before you dig in. But with little planning or showcase of skill, the photo will not work for you.

Avoid dark lighting, over-saturating, and misalignment.

"There are lots of things to consider when posting a photo for your restuarant account if you want to impress the foodie group," Noel says.

The very first of which is framing. "Instagram is made for square photos, but that's not how your phone camera is set up." Noel suggests doing one of two things. If using an iPhone, consider switching your camera to the "square" setting before taking your Instagram photo. Or you can plan to edit the photo in an app, taking into consideration that your photo will have to be cropped to square.

"Use the grid to align your photo," Noel also suggests. "A good food photo is about balance and symmetry. You want that food to be visually appealing--your Instagram followers can't smell it, they don't get to taste a bite. They have to like it on appearance alone."

Use natural light to brighten and align your photo with your grid.

The work isn't just in taking the photo. "Scroll through the 'foodie' hashtag on Instagram or study the accounts of your favorite restaurants and food photographers. Take note of what's getting attention."

With these notes, Noel says to make necessary edits.

"Light can be tricky. Restaurant lighting is normally low, but light, airy photos are the trend right now."

To achieve this look, shoot near a window if possible, or at least increase the brightness in your edits. "Adjusting the contrast can also give it that airy appearance," Noel suggests.

She says to avoid over-using filters. "You want your photos to be timeless and natural, not harsh. Over edited photos are only appealing to the untrained eye. If you want to attract the attention of the foodie set, you need to put in the time to make it look good--that means real editing, not just applying a preset filter."

Above all, tell a story with your photos. For more tips on how to use social media to build your business, contact us today. And follow us on Instagram at @nrconsult.