Some food styling tips for Bed and Breakfasts

A few notes from a recent B&B conference seminar I presented at.

On a personal note I found something extremely interesting while putting together my presentation for the seminar.

I went through over 800 Facebook Bed and Breakfast fan pages trying to find some food photos taken by innkeepers to use in the powerpoint portion of my presentation.

Only a very VERY small fraction of B&B fan page had food photos, even the ones taken by professional photographers for the B&B on their fan pages. Those are your photos, you paid for them, you should use them.

Of the photos I could find (which really were not very many) statistically more comments were put on photos by fans then on a regular facebook post on the B&B’s fan page. Even photos that were fuzzy, dark and not very appealing had positive comments.

This is important for B&Bs to address. Photos sell!

B&Bs need to start taking pictures and put them on Facebook!  A little photo editing to lighten, sharpen and crop if needed (using the links below if you don’t have a photo editing program) and post!!!

Keep in mind you can use them on your blog and to post to twitter as well. Keep your digital in the kitchen and snap at every opportunity! While your making the muffins! In the muffin tins! the muffins on your china! Happy Guest eating your muffins! Snap Snap Snap!!!!

Some Easy Food Tips

  • Take photos from all angles, walk around the item and take photos from various angles and move the items or plates themselves, what looks great in person and through a camera viewfinder looks entirely different 2 dimensionally
  • Zoom in on the food
  • Use natural light as much as possible
  • Use Props, Goodwill and Thrift shops have great inexpensive knickknacks if you don’t have things in the inn that are appropriate (or specific like for a holiday) for shots.
  • Take your photos, look at them on a computer and evaluate them, reshoot, redo and revamp, go from kitchen to computer and back
  • The focal point should be the food, so make sure, so look at your flatware, plates and other accompaniments and make sure they are complementary and not overwhelming the grouping or clashing in terms of colors. Red strawberries on a red plate or blueberries on a blue or black plate with not show well.

There are some very nice food garnishes and directions here at:

Some Easy Inexpensive Food Tricks

  • Motor oil makes great pancake syrup
  • Sub Honey for Maple Syrup if you are doing a pour as part of the shot
  • Sheer curtain/drape/sheet to diffuse natural light or direct lighting if you need to use lamps
  • Sub ice cream with mashed potatoes or cream cheese. Cream cheese picks up food coloring very well
  • Crisco as a sub for butter
  • Spray deodorant on fruit or glassware, it gives a frosty veneer
  • Hairspray, which sprayed on a drying out muffin or bread can refresh the look
  • Spray fabric protector, to prevent syrup from soaking into a pancake or waffle
  • White glue, sub for milk for cereal
  • Cotton balls or tampons, which can be soaked in water and microwaved. Put behind a plate or dish give the illusion of hot steam coming off food.
  • Photograph your food cold

A suggested food styling kit that won’t break the bank (as you probably already have most of it in your kitchen)

  • Citrus Zester
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Sieve or Chinois
  • Butter Curler
  • Hand Grater
  • Small Scissors
  • Skewers and Toothpicks
  • Paring Knives
  • Small and Large regular and serrated knives
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Large Buttons, bottle or canning jar tops
  • Brushes
  • Cookie Cutters assorted
  • Grapefruit Knife
  • Melon Ballers, small and large
  • Citrus Stripper.
  • A camera tripod
  • Eye Dropper
  • Plastic Squeeze bottle
  • Small Offset spatula
  • Food Safe Glycerin
  • Small pins (sewing pins)
  • Food Safe Glycerin, available in craft stores like Micheals, you can cut it 50/50 with water for a different consistency.

Free Online Easy to Use Photo Editors

Fastsone Photo Resizer A great FREE application for mass resizing photos, works quicker then photoshop and you can also custom watermark them as well as add borders.


About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials
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6 Responses to Some food styling tips for Bed and Breakfasts

  1. fishaxalison says:

    Great lateral thinking – thank you!! No photoshop required will add more pictures soon: WQoops – I will add tags too!!!! Now just got to get those Lamb chops on the BBQ first!

  2. Tammy Doriot says:

    Great article. I’ve been adding more pictures of breakfast as we go along. I’ve been gaining confidence with all the articles written lately. Thank you,

  3. Sandy says:

    Members of the Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association sure did enjoy having you speak at our conference this week, and I enjoyed working with you. (Hope the knives were sharp enough.) These are great tips. Any innkeeper who wishes to attempt his or her own food photography should save this blog entry for future reference. One additional point you made in your presentation was that the process of preparing food — cutting board, chef’s knife, eggs, flour, rolling pin, etc. — also creates some good photo opportunities.

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Sandy, Thank you!!! for all your help!! and yes the knives were sharp enough 🙂 And thank you for adding about the cutting board and other kitchen implements, I think I will end up doing a follow up post on this as well. It was a pleasure working with you and Linda and I truly appreciate all the help your provided.!

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