Tag: photography

Telling the Story of Food

Compiled and presented by Stephanie Heinatz of Consociate Media and Sara Harris of Sara Harris Photography.

 

Think about this…where do you often find yourself telling, sharing the best stories? For us, if it’s not in writing, it’s while breaking bread together. That’s what made a recent event at Waypoint Seafood & Grill for the Virginia Chefs Association so great…where we joined Sara Harris Photography in leading a discussion on telling the story of food through imagery and social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS

Pick two social media channels.

We get it! Chefs are B-U-S-Y! Don’t get overwhelmed by social media. Identify the top two social media channels you think will reach your audience AND that you can effectively maintain. For the chefs in a suburban, we recommend Facebook and Instagram. For chefs in a more urban setting, we recommend Twitter and Instagram. Also, try at the very minimum to create a LinkedIn profile.

Create your personal brand.

You are a brand as a chef and representative of your restaurant’s brand. Don’t rely on just your personal accounts on social media. Create ones that are unique for you as a chef. Diners enjoy getting to know the chefs behind the dishes they enjoy as much as the restaurants themselves. Also, share posts and photos with your restaurant’s marketing team for use on those marketing channels. Special note: ensure you have a professional headshot as your profile picture for accounts you are branding for yourself as a chef.

Be social.

Social media is meant to foster social relationships. Don’t just post it and forget it. When people comment on your photos, comment back. Start a conversation. Go and like and comment on other brand and personality pages. Tag people.

Use hashtags on your photography.

These (noted by a #) are used to unite posts on a single topic. It’s like a targeted search engine. There are thousands of acronyms, cryptic phrases, and nonsense words (#instafood, anyone?) chefs are adding to their photos – and sometimes getting tens of thousands of likes for it. #hastagit

Photos. Photos. Videos. Photos.

Photos and videos are the top pieces of content users on social media engage with, like, share or otherwise comment on. Use imagery always. On all platforms.

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

Find the light.

Lose the flash. iPhone and Andriods have robust camera software. Turn off your flash setting and use an existing available light. Natural lights is always the best option and some of the best light can be found near windows or doors. Shoot with the light, rather than into it. A trick to exposing properly is to simply tap the screen on your phone where you would like the focus/sharpest point of our picture to be.

It’s all about perspective.

With food, it’s visually compelling to shoot from directly above or at table level. When shooting from above, hold the phone perfectly parallel to the surface of the food. When shooting at table level, hold the phone at a low angle perpendicular to the table, or even use the table to balance the phone.

No zooming.

Zooming often distorts image quality. If you want to get in close to your food, physically get much closer to it. Also remember that story may be better told including the entire vignette. For example, the busy motion in the kitchen or the whole scene at the farmer’s market.

Keep it simple and skip filters.

Backgrounds add to (or can subtract from) the story. When the food is the star, keep the ground simple, a wood cutting board, a table top with a fork. Look around and think about the entire scene before you take the picture. You’ve worked hard to create a beautiful plate, so don’t let Instagram filters dictate the color palate. If the image needs a polish, a subtle adjustment to contract, exposure and vibrancy may be all you need.

Lift the curtain and go behind the scenes.

For better or for worse, we live in the age of reality shows. So give the people what they want. Wide-angle shots of the kitchen in action (blur included), the bustling of a farmer’s market, or even what you cook at home are compelling to your followers.

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The Power of Imagery in Social Media

Let’s face it. We are visual creatures. Even as a writer, when people say “a picture is worth a thousand words” I tend to agree…and totally get it. Especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Why?

Just look at the stats.

90% of information the brain receives is visual.
Visual content is processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than plain text.
72% of all Internet users are now active on social media.
40% of people respond better to visual content rather than text.
Facebook posts with photos get 39% more likes than other posts.
What proof do we have here at Consociate? Of all the stories we tell across social media for a wide variety of companies in various industries, photos, memes and videos are bar none the most popular pieces of content.

The Office Dog -Severn, a frequent subject in Consociate social media images. She's always LIKED and LOVED.

Severn The Office Dog- a frequent subject in Consociate social media images. She’s always LIKED and LOVED.

So how can you incorporate more imagery into your social marketing? Here are a few tips you can use.

Not all photos are created equally. Use strong imagery.

Photos of poor quality can do more harm than good. Consider the composition, clarity and context of any photos you share.

Post relevant photos.

Photos shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and more should be relevant to the brand they are intended for. PETA won’t be posting pictures of a happy couple eating steak so be sure you stick to similar lines important to your brand. This includes “sharing” photos from other users. Post photos your target audience would want to see.

Include your link.

While photos are visually appealing, be sure to include a link back to your webpage. ALWAYS! Your goal is to gain more followers and ultimately bring them to your page where you can convert them to an actual lead.

Take real time photos.

Your audience wants to know what’s going on now! Don’t hesitate to take impromptu photos and post them right away. Being social is about being in the moment…even online.

Keep your images fresh.

While not all of your fans will even see what you post on social media (that’s just reality), for those that do follow you regularly, they likely don’t want to see the same images constantly recirculating. You’re more likely to get bored and click away, right? Take new photos when you can. Make it easy. Use your phone. Try using different filters and test out different angles (not too many angles…think get low and get high) to keep your photos fresh and visually appealing.

Have a right to post.

One important item to note, always be sure any photos you are posting are your own images or images, such as stock images, that you have a right to post. Posting photos that you do not have privileges to may result in a fine and have negative impact on your business. Photos are art and owned by the photographer. Be sure to respect their rights.

Sources:

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/17/20-social-media-facts-and-statistics-you-should-know-in-2014/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/photos-generate-engagement-research/

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx

http://www.fastcompany.com/3022301/work-smart/7-powerful-facebook-statistics-you-should-know-about

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