What I’m talking about are pictures that you use in your marketing to sell stuff and how important it is for your promotions’ success.

Remember after the Presidential Inauguration everyone had that picture of Bernie Sanders all bundled up with the sock gloves on? It was an internet sensation. Bernie showed up everywhere. I saw some really creative ones that people placed him at. He even showed up at one of my Zoom meetings!

Online pictures have become a big part of our daily lives and are the success of attracting people to your business. All social media sites have been dedicated to photos. And the fact that we are all carrying around a portable camera in our pockets 24 hours a day (our mobile phones) makes snapping a picture at a second’s notice really easy. We are visual creatures, and a great picture of your next big selling menu item, new mechanic, or jewelry piece that you just constructed could be worth a thousand words. Don’t discard the power of great photos, no matter what business you are in.

So, the question is, how do you use pictures in your marketing to attract more customers, and what’s the best way to take and use pictures to compel your customers to come to your business over your competitors? How to get professional quality pictures that sell for FREE? (I did this when I owned my restaurants; it works fantastic).

I’m going to use restaurants for these examples because great looking pictures of your food are super important if you own a restaurant. I used to own restaurants, so I can speak to this from both an operator and a marketing perspective.

I used to call pictures for my marketing of my best dishes a visual tasting because for a restaurant, it must look as good as it tastes. I spent a lot of time and energy on my food pictures, and it’s not easy. Sometimes a picture is the only means that a new customer has to decide if they want to try your business or not. Think about that for a second… it’s very important. So important I am going to repeat it…

Sometimes a picture is the only means that a new customer has to decide if they want to try your business or not.

When you think of it in that context, you will understand how important great photos are to attract new customers to your business.

So, let me jump in and start with the bad pictures first. This is always fun, and the purpose of these examples is to show you what a good photo looks like and how it comes across to your new customers and what a bad photo looks like. I’m not using these as examples to embarrass or poke fun of anyone; they are very generic and found on Google.

The Not So Good

This first one is a shot in a carry-out container. If you want to show your to-go food, this is a great idea. Especially right now with COVID-19 and the increase in carry-outs.

If you’re going to take a picture of your food in a container, make sure it’s a good-looking container as it’s what is showcasing your food. And make sure the food isn’t blending in the separate compartments. If you are going to showcase a menu item, try to pick items with contrasting colors – it shows better. Not all brown or green. Those aren’t good colors for food shots. Remember, your new customers look at the pictures you took and decide if they want to order from you.

Would you order this?

Here is a picture with good color contrast, but my goodness, who could possibly fit that in their mouth. There is so much going on here you can’t make anything out. It looks like an overwhelming amount of food and it all blends together in one big package that doesn’t look appealing. If you can’t identify it, you probably wouldn’t order it.

I see this a lot with food with sauces. A bunch of sauce, off-color, and you can’t make out what it’s covering. Looks like a big plate of brown stuff. You want your food to look appealing and not overwhelming with any ingredient.

Also, the plate detracts from the picture because of the design. I prefer solid-colored plates. Be mindful of what you are taking the picture on and at what angle. This dish could pass for a lot of different things but selling it isn’t one of them.

The Good

Did I ruin your appetite with those last ones? Sorry if you haven’t eaten lunch yet. But I wanted to get my point across in a dramatic fashion. Let me redeem myself with some taste-tempting pictures from our clients.

This is from one of my client’s websites. Look how gorgeous it looks. I am salivating just looking at it now. The mussels, the scallops, and littleneck clams. Oh boy! Looks delicious, doesn’t it? That’s what pictures are supposed to do; visual tasting, make you hungry and then reel you in. Pair this with a great description… sold.

Just when you thought Lasagna was plain and boring… look how beautiful this shot is. WOW, my mom’s doesn’t look like that. The sauce is perfectly laced over the top, not too much, and you can see each layer of pasta laced in-between with cheese. And the fresh parm on top with a garnish of parsley. Picasso couldn’t do any better. Notice the angle of the picture taken from the side. It wouldn’t look this good if you took it from the top. And the plain white plate contrasts nicely with the creamy red sauce. See what I mean?

I have to show you this one well because it’s chocolate and it’s dessert. This chocolate silk pie screams YUM! The angle, the contrasting colors, and the simplicity of the plat and design draws you right in. This is what I mean by using a picture to add to your sale. Our client is using this to promote Valentine’s Day, and it does a very nice job of that. Who doesn’t love chocolate and strawberries?

Don’t forget about the drinks! Craft cocktails are still the rage. It’s all about the presentation of these delicious concoctions. Use different glassware to show off your mixologist’s creative talents.

Here’s a big one when it comes to showcasing your business. Show people at your business having a good time. No matter if it’s a restaurant, auto repair, or retail. If you are going to take pics with people in them, make sure they look happy. If you do promotional pictures for the media, make sure you are in front of a sign for your business.

To sum up how to make your pictures look awesome, here are some tips when taking those killer photos:

  • Angles are important.
  • Lighting is SUPER important.
  • Mind your surroundings.
  • Make them POP with color contrast.
  • Hire a PRO.

This last part can be expensive, but I traded gift cards to my business for photos when I owned restaurants. If you find a local photographer that has done food shoots before (this is important when choosing a photographer), offer to trade or promote their business in exchange for a photo shoot. Or if you do off-premises catering, talk to the event photographer, and ask if you can purchase pictures of the food at a discounted rate. I HIGHLY recommend getting a professional.

Great pictures can last for a very long time, and you can use them in several formats to get new customers. Here are just a few:

  • Website
  • Emails
  • Social Media
  • Print Marketing

Don’t skimp on the quality of your pictures. Remember, it might be the difference between convincing a new customer to give you money or your competitors.



If you are interested in seeing how to use great pictures in your marketing and dominate your competition with your website, print, email, and social media AND attract a steady stream of new customers, click the button below. Sign up for a FREE Strategy Session with a DFY Marketing Expert (not a salesperson, a real-life Marketing Expert). First one’s on me!

(First 30-minute strategy session per business owner is FREE. Additional Strategy Sessions can be booked with a DFY marketing expert for $297 per hour.)

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