Taking Photos of Your Food in a Restaurant

Many of us have dined at a good restaurant and have wondered-should I take a photo of my meal? Obviously the result will not be as nice is having pro lighting equipment, tripod and a professional camera system. However there are solutions to this problem. Generally speaking restaurant lighting is dim necessitating a high ISO like 800 or more and a steady hand. Electronic flash pictures are for the most part unacceptable due to glare and light fall off. The best solution is to move your plate to a better lit part of the restaurant using available window light if the restaurant is not crowded. If you are dining outdoors more light may be available. If dim lighting is the only choice then select a high ISO and support the camera with your elbows resting on the table gently pressing the shutter release. Most compact cameras these days have better high ISO performance than in the past though still not as good as a DSLR. Macro mode may have to be enabled depending upon how close you are to the subject.

Once you have your photo post processing involves lightening the subject, increasing contrast and saturation. Lastly the photo is run through a noise reduction program. Here is small sample of successful restaurant photos taken with point and shoot compact cameras. Some were done with window light at lower ISO settings and others with the dim light at high ISO's. Just be careful about copyright issues if the restaurant objects owing to plating design. I have not had any problems yet though. I Hope you can take many photos of delicious food.

Outdoors-80 ISO

Savory Puebla Chicken Mole

Indoors-400 ISO

Mexican Food Specialty

Indoor and outdoor lighting-200 ISO

Mexican Food Breakfast Taco

Indoors-800 ISO

Hanger Steak Tapas

Window light-100 ISO

Swordfish Sandwich Platter With Fries and Coleslaw

Photo credits: Richard Gunion.
Richard Gunion
View blog View portfolio
  • Shootalot
  • Washington, United States
I like to travel and have been to many places like California, Europe, Maine and Mexico. I live in Washington D.C. and have also taken pictures around my home including the new WWII Memorial. Digital cameras come and go so like everyone here I am always trading up. The summer is coming to end here in Washington DC and I am doing sunset shots and looking forward to Autumn.

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