Crew setting up food photography for QSR ads.

4 Tips for QSR Marketers to Get More Shots

Get the most out of your food photography budget.

Unless you’re a McGiant QSR, you can’t afford to end a day of shooting with just a handful of photos. In fact, “How to get more shots out of a day?” is a frequent question I hear from regional QSR marketers. So, I asked veteran food photographer Carlos Garcia for his insights. Together, we hit on 4 tips that will keep your food shoots moving and maximize shot count.

1. Minimize camera angle changes

As a general rule, plan to spend money on shots—not getting ready to shoot.

Even the simplest camera adjustment will invariably lead to adjustments in lighting, set, props—or worse, a food rebuild, since it is difficult to build a product with more than one hero side.

So, determine your best overall camera angle for the majority of your food before the shoot. Straight on, tilt down, tilt up, ¾ top down—pick one. Storyboarding and reference shots really help.

Nearly every camera change you avoid will give you time for one more product shot.

2. Minimize set changes

Similarly, you want to avoid major set changes.

It may sound great to switch between a weathered wood surface for a fish sandwich to stainless steel for a burger or white laminate for a salad, but each surface absorbs or reflects light differently, causing a significant relight and slow down on your set.

Best bet: Create one brand archetype set (surface and background) that can be used for all or most of your product shots. Doing so will allow you to rotate product on and off on a more seamless schedule.

3. Minimize props and plating

If your goal is shots, avoid the props.

Props and plates are supporting players. So keep them simple to avoid using valuable time on secondary information. Your food is the hero.

Choose a single plate set, or consider going without. Question the need for every prop.

Props are not for decoration. Use props for communication points:

  • Flavor or freshness reinforcement: fresh vegetables, fruit, peppers, lettuce
  • Scale reference for product size: fork, salt shaker, cup
  • Brand accents: rolling pin, ice cream maker, spatula

Before you add a prop, consider whether a simple background color change or food styling approach highlighting the product feature can do the job.

4. Get a food stylist team

A good stylist team is the surest way to buy more shots in your day. A strong team can deliver nearly perfect food to the set like clockwork, making sure you and your photographer are never waiting for product.

They will improve your workflow, and increase the number of shots you get. Plus, a team will save you retouching time by helping you avoid overlooked product details.

Hope you find these thoughts useful in your efforts to get the most out of your shoots.

Carlos Garcia, the photographer mentioned in the article, lives and works in Atlanta, Ga. From international QSRs to regional QSRs, he’s shot for almost every brand you can think of. For more on Carlos and his work go to:

photo credit: Pat Buckley

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