If there is one personality trait that is shared among us foodies, restauranteurs, and self-styled nosh critics, it is detailed attention to aesthetics. Just as a Michelin Star Chef adds elevation to a dish by propping up the garlic bread, so too must the food blogger, restaurant owner, or marketing specialist find ways to make their grub-based imagery stand higher than the competition.
Finding the best stock food photos is, quite fortunately, not as difficult as it used to be. There is a trove of innovative, on-demand sites that not only host the best food stock photography on the web, but also a series of intuitive search systems that make it easier than ever to find the perfect stock photo for your food-related business.
The Key to Good Stock Food Photography
Whether you’re trying to capture the essence of an avocado or the flavour of your fish-n-chips, sourcing the best visual content is the best place to start. Restaurants, hotels, review sites, and culture blogs all share the need for high-quality stock food photography.
And contrary to what our ‘Instagram Influencer’alter-egos might tell us, our hastily snapped iPhone pics are not as good as we think they are.
Here are some of the elements to pay attention to when thinking about the modern trends of gastronomical photography:
The arrangement of the food objects inside the frame of the picture needs to create a visual equilibrium, otherwise known simply as balance. This does not necessarily mean that every element of the shot needs to take up the same amount of space, but rather, each element draws the same amount of visual significance.
Here is a great picture of a stylized Trout Dinner that we found on StockPhotoSecrets. Notice how the different textures, colours, and lines are arranged in the image. The balance does not come from symmetry in the traditional sense, but rather in the equally-striking representations of the red tomatoes, leafy rosemary, and bright, silverfish skin. It's a perfect example of what great food stock photos should look like.
#2. Movement / Action
When food photographers refer to movement, they might mean one of two things. There is physical movement (or action), like the way that any picture of pancakes that is worth its flour usually includes the slow, sensual drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
A second kind of movement refers to the way that the viewer’s eye “moves” across the image. Pictures with stark lines can direct the eye to a particular part of the image, which is a good way to make sure your reader knows which element they should be paying attention to.
Pattern can be used in food stock photos to stunning effect. Multiple rows of freshly baked bagels will create a more orderly and interesting pattern than a single bagel sitting off-center on a cutting board. Patterns that repeat are also a great way to enhance a sense of aesthetic movement … in other words, directing the viewer’s eye to precisely where you want it to be.
Where to Buy High Quality Stock Food Images
Searching for high resolution food stock photos isn’t something that you are only going to do once or twice. Your next blog entry or marketing campaign will not be the last time that you’ll need high quality content. This is especially true if you're planning on using Instagram and other platforms to support your project (if you don't know how to, check our guide to use photos in social media, it has everything you need).
One of the keys to getting ahead with your marketing plan is finding the best food stock image providers that work for you.
You know this to be a truth: the time you spend trawling the web for marketing content and food stock photos is time you’d rather be spending in the kitchen (or in your favorite booth). That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite sources for colorful, engaging food-based images, along with some tips on how to get the most out of each one:
Photocase: Stock Food Images with Diversity & Reality
You aren’t going to draw in any new customers without digital imagery that truly represents the present moment in time. Photocase is one of the places where you can find high-resolution photos of things that people are actually eating today, like carefully-arranged charcuterie plates and mouth-watering cheese boards.
Discover this agency's perks in our Photocase review.
Get 5 free credits and a 10% discount to save in your food images with our special Photocase Coupon!
Shutterstock: The Most Expansive Collection of Stock Food Photos
Just as not all cheeseburgers are created equally, not all cheeseburger pictures come close to capturing the iconic textural symphony that is a pub-style burger. Fluffy bread, crispy bacon, melty cheese … most stock photos don’t come close to faithfully capturing the spirit of the dish. Shutterstock has one of the largest stock image libraries on the web, and as we can now attest, enough burger pictures to keep a foodie salivating for weeks.
Get the full scope on this image bank in our Shutterstock review.
Maximise your budget with our exclusive Shutterstock Coupon Code and get up to 15% off in your food pictures.
iStock: Flexible Purchase Plans for Food Stock Photography
The seasonal nature of food and food-related media means that your needs as a business owner are in a constant state of flux. As your content plan changes with the season, your stock photography plan should be able to change along with it. iStock is a popular service by Getty Images that offers a number of different flexible purchase plans, and their Getty-backed image library is stuffed with all the vibrant food-based images that you need to keep your brand connected to the seasons.
In our iStock review, you'll find all the details about the company.
Looking for a way to reduce the cost of your stock photography? Then our iStock Promo Codes are ideal for you as they come with up to 15% off in your purchase!
Adobe Stock: Curate Your Food Brand’s Emotional Impact
If the only thing you expect from food photography is to make people hungry, then you’re doing it wrong. The best stock food images aren’t just an appeal to the appetite, but an appeal to the emotional core of potential readers, members, and customers. Adobe Stock allows you to search for images and illustrations with the help of thoughtfully curated collections, so you can find the picture with the emotional energy that best suits your specific brand or campaign.
All the must-know info about this service can be found in our Adobe Stock review.
And to kickstart your food-related projects without spending, do take advantage of the great Adobe Stock Free Trial with up to 40 free photos for 30 days.
123rf: A Growing Base of Food Photo Contributors
It has only been in the last few years when up-and-coming stock provider 123rf began to see a significant increase in download popularity. This has allowed them to attract a diverse team of photo contributors who know how to find the meat of a good image.
We have all the deets on the agency's offer, just check out our 123RF review.
We also have a cool deal to save in your images, in the form of our special 123RF Coupon Code with as much as 20% off!
BONUS: Food Delivery Images for Lockdown Times
Quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing that are currently the norm around the world –in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic– food (and food images) can be a great comfort. However, eating out is out of the question for a while.
A good way to channel that pleasant feeling of food into something both available and enjoyable is to focus on food delivery images. Something most food establishments are doing anyway, so all the more reason to explore pictures on the topic.
The above-listed stock photo agencies all include this theme on their libraries. Just have a look at the selection available at Stock Photo Secrets right here!
A blog entry about the top restaurants doing delivery in your area. A relatable Instagram post about craving yummy food delivered to your door. A simple yet efficient social media ad promoting your food delivery services to your community. The possibilities are many, and the stock photos are there to make them come to life!
Delight Them All with Stock Food Images
Now you know you have no excuse to not start that foodie blog you've been writing in your head for the past months, to promote your restaurant just like the big fishes in the industry do, or to improve your food truck's social media presence.
Food stock photography is pro-quality, varied enough and affordable just to make it possible for you to realise your projects without neglecting the visual factor and equally important, without draining your pockets dry.
So get hands down to business! We'd love to hear what cool designs you developed using food stock photos!