January 3, 2022
Picture this… You’re looking for a restaurant to go to in a part of town you’re not familiar with. Or, you’re traveling to a new city and are looking for places to stay and eat. What do you look for? What influences your decision? Do you go to their website? Or straight to their Instagram feed? Maybe you look at online reviews?
Have you considered that all of your marketing channels can influence customers and their decision to visit your business? And it’s not just having one channel that you’ve worked hard to make it look good, it’s having multiple channels that all work in harmony and coordinate visually. Your brand should be recognizable across platforms. Often, I find that just seeing an image in my Instagram feed I can tell what the account is without looking at the name.
Is this the kind of recognition that you strive for? Do you want to set the scene and show potential customers a peek into your hotel, restaurant, bar or shop? Here are some tips for what to show on your website and marketing channels to convert customers and get them showing up at your door.
RESTAURANTS / DINING
SHOW YOUR SPACE
One of the most important things you can show on your website and social media is images of your space if you are a restaurant. Customers are looking for experiences, somewhere unique, places with soul. They not only want good food, drinks and excellent service, but they want a full experience. The vibe of your space sets the tone for the type of clients you are trying to attract, so use that to entice the right people and show images of your space, details and what the experience will be like. Transport them to your restaurant and in turn, they will visit.
SHOW PEOPLE IN THE SPACE
It’s not only important to show your restaurant space, but show people in it. Potential customers want to see the space being used and see your staff. If you offer a specialty experience, event rentals, workshops, etc. be sure to show those as well. Visuals will help potential clients see the unique offerings that you have which will plant the seed that they need to visit. Planting the seed will get them talking to their friends, calling to book a reservation or inquiring about their special event.
See more of my food & beverage brand photography
INCLUDE FOOD/DRINK IMAGES AND DETAILS
You don’t have to show your entire menu, but show some dishes, drinks and anything else that you specialize in. It’s also important to set the tone, have the dishes set on a table with people, hands grabbing drinks, servers delivering food. Create some action. One plate by itself can be boring and generic. Style the scene with other, complimentary items and objects to help tell the story of your establishment.
INCLUDE IMAGES OF THE CHEF / EMPLOYEES AT WORK
If it is a big part of your story, it’s important to share images of your staff. Is the chef known for one of your specialties? Does the staff offer a unique service that other restaurants don’t have? Show off these qualities and use them to your advantage when selling and marketing your business online.
Similar to Restaurants, you want to be sure and show your space and give customers a feel for the environment that they will step into. Showing the vibe is so important.
IMAGES OF YOUR DRINK SELECTION
Don’t leave it up to a written menu to communicate what you offer. Show your drinks on your website, both finished product and bartenders making the drink. Communicate the full experience. Also make sure to show drinks that will entice a variety of customers, or those with allergies or other requirements. Do you have mocktails? Gluten free beverages? Make sure you communicate and talk about that on your website and social feeds. Images of special beverages like this can also be highlighted in places like your Pinterest account, email newsletters and other advertising spaces.
OTHER CUSTOMERS ENJOYING YOUR DRINKS
When you show images of customers enjoying your drinks, you set a whole vibe and subtly attract your ideal client. It’s so important to show the type of customer that you want to attract, so think demographics, wardrobe, style, etc. Not just anyone will do. Who you include in your brand photos will inevitably be who shows up at your door. Make sure it’s the right person.
INGREDIENTS / DETAILS
If appropriate or part of your story, include images of ingredients or detail imagery that will communicate your brand. Highlight what makes your bar different. Is the creation of the cocktail part of the show? Are the ingredients specially made in-house? Be sure to highlight these selling points to connect to your ideal clients.
SHOW YOUR SPACE
Give potential shoppers an idea of what your shop looks like. Set the tone for what they will experience in-store and relate it to your overall branding and brand values. Your space was designed with your ideal customer in mind, so showing them images of the space will only further help to attract them to visit.
SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS
This is a given, but show the types of products that your shop offers. If you specialize in one type of product, be sure to communicate that. Do you offer a variety? Make sure potential customers know what you have for sale in store so they don’t waste time. Listing and showing your available products also helps with your SEO (search engine optimization) and can lead visitors to your site if they search for a certain type of product. So it’s not only about having images of your products, but also the corresponding written text and SEO to back them up.
TELL YOUR STORY
Do you have a unique story of why you offer/make your products? Is your business family owned and operated? Do you offer other unique services or partner with corresponding brands? Maybe you also offer in-person events, workshops or other activities. Make sure you share that on your website, as it will attract and draw your ideal customers.
See more from this brand shoot for Don Florito, Amsterdam, Netherlands
HOTELS & RESORTS
SHOW YOUR SPACE & HIGHLIGHT YOUR AMENITIES
Similar to all the above businesses, it’s key to show your space and highlight the unique design and amenities that are available. Make sure you show a variety of public spaces from the lobby to breakfast areas, restaurants, pools, gyms, outdoor areas all the way to your different room types. Details also matter here, so include images of smaller vignettes that scale down to communicate certain activities. Do you have a lounge area with cocktails? Show the entire space in one sweeping image but also be sure to have a more close up image of the chairs with a cocktail on the table. Does your lobby have a bookshelf where guests can borrow books during their stay? Have imagery that shows these offerings.
INCLUDE LIFESTYLE IMAGES OF PEOPLE
It is also key to include images with guests using the spaces at your hotel, which will help potential clients see themselves there. When we plan your shoot, we also discuss who your ideal clients are and therefore we search for those types of models that fit the look and demographic to include in the shoot. This will help further attract your ideal customer if they see someone like them in your images.
Don’t forget about the details, showing signage, food, beverages, furniture and other smaller vignettes that tell a story and highlight your amenities. If you are a resort, even images of the surrounding area, trails, local flora & fauna, etc. will help communicate the feeling of your area and what guests can expect.
See more from this brand shoot at Old Edwards Inn, Highlands, NC
If you are interested in new brand & lifestyle imagery for your restaurant, cocktail bar, hotel or retail shop please reach out to us HERE to receive more information and setup a complimentary call to discuss your needs. We look forward to hearing more about your brand!