I love shooting restaurants and cafes. There’s something about the hustle and bustle of a restaurant that makes my job so much fun. Restaurants are very similar to a swan; calm and relaxing to the eye but what you don’t see is all the hard work underneath the water. As customers, we don’t always see how hard the staff work behind the scenes.
I recently shot at a 2 AA Rosette restaurant in Aylesbury called The Five Arrows Hotel and it was fantastic. It was fast paced and I loved it. When I spoke to the manager before the shoot, I like to run through the brief and gain an understanding of what they need and expect of me. I then create a mood board to gather inspiration for the shoot.
As a photographer, it’s my job to judge the lighting and make sure I have everything I need to create eye-catching images. I like to shoot with natural light if its sufficient enough, if not I will set up my studio lights. On this occasion there was beautiful light coming through the windows that lit the scenes perfectly.
Not only was I asked to shoot the food, but also the surrounds, drinks and action shots. Therefore I had to be quick on my feet and change my settings up for each scenario. I found myself shooting at the bar, then running into the kitchen to get some chef shots, then back at the table to shoot the food he just made! I loved it and it was great for my step count.
There are many challenges to a restaurant shoot. From trying not to disturb their normal service, lighting issues to shooting the food at its best and before it wilts. It’s all things that I have learnt over the years and continue to learn about. I’ve never appreciated the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ as much as I have recently. The more you do something, the more confident you become doing it. It allows you to deal with any issues systematically and allows your client to put faith in you.
Contrary to what people may believe, shooting a restaurant is not all about shooting the food. It’s about breathing life into the images and capturing the ambience of the venue. This can be done simply be showing a customer at the table or a staff member serving a customer. It’s demonstrating what a customer can expect if they came to dine here and therefore enticing them in.
It’s days like these that make me so grateful for what I do. I get to meet lovely people and generally have fun! Do you run a restaurant/cafe that needs new imagery? Do you need a bank of images for your social media? If so, feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat. I’d love to hear from you 🙂
My name is Bhavisha Surti and I am a food photographer and stylist based in Milton Keynes. Please subscribe to my blog below and check out my website to see more of my work at www.jbimagery.co.uk. Thank you!