Today, it seems like not a few seconds go by without a new food video popping up on social media. From restaurant features to how-to videos, people love watching food. It’s an exciting time for video production companies, especially ones like us who LOVE shooting food.

To get the most out of a food video, keep these things 8 top of mind:

1. Find Colour

While it might taste great, not all dishes are created equal visually. Make sure that whatever you’re showing has a few pops of colour and some contrast to it. Fresh vegetables are nature’s natural palette, so use them to your advantage whenever possible.

If your dish doesn’t have a lot of colour as is, you can add elements to pump up the vibrancy. This can be as simple as incorporating a sprig of fresh thyme or edible flowers to a plate.

Signature Dish - Ravine Vineyard

Not only does colour draw the eye, but it also shapes the overall experience of food. We associate certain colours with certain flavours, so it’s important to get those associations across visually. Citrus, for example, is often associated with freshness so adding a curled orange rind to the rim of a cocktail or atop a salad will signal freshness to the viewer.

Don’t be afraid to play around with visuals and decorative elements. If it means making a dish a few times, so be it. It’s also okay to veer away from the typical presentation the dish gets when it’s being served during service at a restaurant, for example.

2. Sound is the ultimate sensory tool

You’ve probably heard the saying “you eat with your eyes”. While that may be true, you really eat with all of your senses and because your viewers won’t be able to smell or taste your food (just yet), sound is an incredibly crucial sense to a dining experience.

World-renowned chefs & food marketers have always known this and are constantly finding creative ways to show off sound. Oxford University professor Charles Spence won two prestigious awards for his work on how a potato chip’s crunch affects its flavour.

Sound Design in Toronto

It’s always a good idea to roll sound when you’re filming, but keep in mind that a lot of those craveable sound bites will be recreated in post. The sizzling of a steak, the clink of ice cubes into a cocktail glass, or the popping of popcorn are all sounds better recorded in isolation rather than in a loud restaurant or kitchen. There are plenty of free, or affordable, sound libraries available online. If you have the budget, you can actually have customs sounds recorded on a soundstage.  

On top of sound effects, always consider music. The tone of music you choose for your piece will greatly influence the atmosphere and environment you are implying for the establishment or product. Here’s a look into why we value good sound production so much. 

3. Slow motion helps you savour

We can all agree that most things look better in slow motion. It draws attention to delicate details and makes those drool-worthy shots of food steaming or sauce pouring.

Most cameras these days will shoot 60fps in 1080p, which will get you those buttery slow-mo shots. If your budget allows for it, opt for a camera that shoots 120fps, ideally in 4K. That higher frame rate will really bring the drama, and the higher resolution will give you the flexibility to get tighter in post-production and zoom in on details without having to get your lens right up to the food. For a look at what we shoot on, take a look at this blog post.

Photo of an amazing steak dinner

4. Find the light

The key to beautiful food shots really comes down to the right lighting. For the most part, you’ll want to create fairly high-key lighting setup. This will minimize any dramatic shadows and will keep the focus on the food.

That being said, it can be a challenge to bring a bunch of large lights into a small kitchen, so unless you’re shooting in a studio, you might have to go lean & mean. A great way around this is to capture your beauty shots of the finished food outside of the kitchen. Place your food near a window, frame it tightly and blow out the background with a shallow depth of field. This will give away less information about your background and keep the focus on the food while still taking advantage of that great natural lighting.

5. Use a Macro lens

Image of Dessert

When it comes to food, the devil is in the details. What makes food content so craveable is that it can get closer and show more of those details than the average consumer would get when sitting down to a meal.

Macro lenses are used to get sharp focus on very close-up shots. They will usually have a low f-stop which allows for that shallow depth of field that draws the eye to a specific element of the frame.

We’ve been curious to try this unusual and innovative lens by Laowa. It uses a probe shape to get up close while also delivering a unique “bug-eye” perspective. This flexibility allows you to control depth-of-field very well, meaning you can decide how much of the background you want in detail.

6. Show how much people love it

If Instagram has taught us anything, it’s that watching people do fun things, is well, very fun. The same goes with eating. The proof that the food tastes as good as it looks is all in the way people enjoy it.

However, filming people eating is a delicate art form. Always ask permission, even if they are aware you’re filming the premises. If you’re asking real-life patrons of the restaurant, be choosy about who you ask. Start a conversation and get them comfortable before you start filming.

Photo of Siblings sharing ice cream

It’s also a good idea to direct them as best you can. Tell them what bite you want them to taste and what their reaction should be.

When in doubt, everyone looks better in slow motion.

7. Tell a story

This point is perhaps the most important, but one that is often overlooked. You might be making content that is drool worthy, but people relate to and remember good stories.

Maybe the dish you’re showing off has an interesting origin story. Was it a happy accident that made it onto the menu? A family favourite from your client’s childhood? Think about what makes that particular dish meaningful and then tell that through voice over and beautiful visuals.

Oftentimes, nostalgia can trigger a lot of intense emotions surrounding food. Whether it’s authentic food from a place traveled to or lived in, or something prepared exactly the way Grandma used to make it, nostalgia marketing is a very effective tool in selling a food experience.

8. Show the people behind the food

Good food – really exceptional food – almost always comes from a place of passion and love. Take your food story to greater heights by diving into the flame that pushes the chef behind the creation to do what they do.

An origin story can be a great way to showcase that passion. Whether your chef is classically trained or got his or her start folding pizza boxes, the journey that got them to that particular kitchen making that particular dish probably has some super interesting and relatable moments.

Dean Lister

When it comes down to it, you’re not selling a product or a location, you’re selling an emotion and an experience. Food has the ability to bring people together, to fix a bad day, to nourish and to broaden perspectives. Always remember this when you’re creating food content. It’s all about the customer experience.

If you’re looking to create craveable content for your restaurant or food brand, drop us a line today.

Follow Signature Video Group on social media and start your video conversation here.

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Madelaine Sawyers

Author Madelaine Sawyers

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