Aside from reviews, customers depend a lot on photos when deciding if certain items online are worth splurging for, so it pays to put a little more effort when shooting your productsespecially if you're selling food! 

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If you feel like you're not particularly skilled in taking photos, don't worry! Previously, we interviewed a professional photographer for tips on how you can take photos for your online business. Below, a couple of small business owners also shared the best food photography tricks they've learned while growing their own brands. 

The Sushi Bake

1. When shooting your product photos, do you use a camera or a phone?

Both! We upload product photos taken from a DSLR and a phone camera.

2. What are the best photography tips you've learned while growing your brand?

Not only does our baked sushi taste great, but it also photographs well. Here are some food photography tips that we learned:

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  • It’s always best to use natural light because it brings out crisp and vivid colors.
  • Styling is paramount. The photos don’t need to be perfect—a little mess can make a food photo appear more real and appetizing.
  • Since we all view these photos from our phones, micro shots are vital. Seeing the food up close will pique your audience’s tastebuds even more!

3. How do you shoot your flatlays? 

We always shoot under natural light and take photos from different angles. We have an array of props for styling that is very minimal and on-brand. 

It’s always important to consider and work around your brand’s look and identity in all your product shoots.

4. Many of us struggle with lighting when taking photos at home! What’s one lighting tip you could share?

Always find the best light source. You can never go wrong with natural light. Shooting in a room that allows sunlight in is always better than shooting under overhead lights or lamps. We also make sure that we only use the freshest ingredients for our baked sushi to always bring out those fresh, crisp, and vibrant colors. Picture our kani-based topping mixed with fresh roe—photography heaven!

5. Are there photo editing apps you would recommend to our readers?

Your photos are your ads, so you have to curate your feed well. We at The Sushi Bake are a creative team. We constantly discuss our posts—from choosing the best photos, to what and what not to upload. We don’t use filters for our photos because we want our baked sushi to look as good in photos as it tastes.

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Kristiana Paras of 17R Bakehouse 

1. When shooting your product photos, do you use a camera or a phone?

I only use my iphonemostly in Portrait mode! 

2. What are the best photography tips you've learned while growing your brand?

  • Keep it simple and straightforward. It's easy to get carried away with the styling, but the focal point should be the product you are trying to feature.
  • Showcase what makes your product special or different from others. For example, we would highlight the filling of our Signature Buns and the versatility of our Nut Butters. 

  • Customers appreciate real and authentic photos. They expect to receive what they see in the pictures. Think natural lighting, and showcase the natural, perfectly imperfect shape of your product.

3. How do you shoot your flatlays?

Think about the story behind each layout. Is there an ingredient that you would like to highlight? Perhaps a food pairing or a recipe? For example, we include fresh ube in the background to aid that the dough and the filling of our Ube Buns are made with fresh ube (no food coloring and extracts!).

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4. Many of us struggle with lighting when taking photos at home! What’s one lighting tip you could share?

Don't [only take your photos] in the kitchen. Explore and look for other spots [in your home that receive good lighting] during certain times of the day. In the morning, I take photos in our dining area, which has the most access to natural daylight. Meanwhile, in the afternoon, I shoot in other rooms since I like to play around with the shadows cast by the sun. Also, try using a desk lamp! I use it a lot, especially at night.

5. Are there photo editing apps you would recommend to our readers?

I would recommend Lightroom. I use it to adjust the brightness of my photos. 

Denise Tan of Mum's Lasagna

1. When shooting your product photos, do you use a camera or a phone?

We use a phone camera and a mirrorless Fujifilm XT20 camera. Depending on the complexity of the shoot, we will choose accordingly. For daily shots [like for] Instagram Stories, we use our phone camera (IPhone and Samsung Note 10). If we plan to do a massive promotion for an event (ex. Christmas, Mother's day, Valentine's day, etc.), we use the XT20 camera.

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2. What are the best photography tips you've learned while growing your brand?

  • Plan what you will be taking photos of ahead of time and think of a theme for your photos. This will definitely help you prepare any materials and props ahead of time. It will also help you direct and conceptualize what you want to capture on camera. For example, is it the oozing cheese of our lasagna that I want to feature today? Do I want to [focus on the] Christmas theme?

  • Always make it as natural as possible. We take photos of our Mum's Lasagna with no food stylist involved. We believe it's more appealing to clients when you are selling or capturing your product as it is. You can jazz it up with props, but you really got to make your own product shine. It also promotes honesty and it sets the expectation that this is what your customers will actually receive.
  • Lighting is key! Since we DIY some of our shots at home and we do not have professional lighting tools, we depend a lot on natural lighting. 

3. How do you shoot your flatlays? 

[When fixing your layout], it really helps to place related materials or ingredients [around your] product. Shoot your products from above but also be open to exploring other angles that may bring life to your shot. 

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4. Many of us struggle with lighting when taking photos at home! What’s one lighting tip you could share?

Catch the sun! Most of us don't have lighting equipment and professional photography tools. But the sun is your best friend and it provides the best natural light. We usually pick the spot in our kitchen that has the biggest windows and shoot from there.

5. Are there photo editing apps you would recommend to our readers?

The editing tool we use are really just VSCO and Instagrambut we don't use Instagram's in-app ready-made effects. We customize each picture by playing with the brightness, saturation, contrast, clarity, and color. 

Mariell Chuateco of Taste and Tell 

When shooting your product photos, do you use a camera or a phone?

In the beginning, we just made use of what we have which were smart phones, specifically Samsung S10 and Hwawei Mate 20 Pro. But as time passed by, we also asked some talented photographers to shoot our product because photos are the ones that will entice customers to buy your products.

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2. What are the best photography tips you've learned while growing your brand?

  • Since we've just started our small business this quarantine, my number one tip (not just in photography) is to be an all-around person. With a limited manpower, you have to be the photographer, the art director, and the food stylist all in one.
  • It's also essential to work closely with the chef when taking photos so that you can also capture the little moments on how the product came to be.

  • Natural light is your best friend! 

  • Lastly, invest in a good camera because it will really come in handy, especially during times like this wherein it's not easy to hire professionals to help you with your photos.

3. How do you shoot your flatlays? 

Add a nice touch to your flat lays by displaying the ingredients you use to make your product. Also, it helps to have a mood board and a color palette so all of your ideas will be synchronized. 

4. Many of us struggle with lighting when taking photos at home! What’s one good lighting tip you could share?

Go to the room with the biggest window and remember to not go against the light. 

5. Are there photo editing apps you would recommend to our readers?

As a non-Adobe photoshop user, I use Canva when editing my photos or sometimes, Lightroom.

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