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Using Photography Motion Blur in Restaurant Marketing

Using Photography Motion Blur in Restaurant Marketing

Learn how to create the effect of motion with photography and how to apply it to your restaurant marketing plan.

One photography technique that can be easily used in restaurant marketing is to create some editorial type ‘action’ shots to share on your website, social media outlets or printed collateral.  These types of shots work well in contrast to standard food photography of plated dishes.  They help to add personality to your business and shares with your customers, and others, the inner workings and behind the scenes views of what is happening in your restaurant.  By showing employees at work, or ‘the action’ of meals being prepared, the viewer becomes more interested and connected to the process, your restaurant, and all that goes into what they see on the plate.

One way to highlight the ‘action’ of your restaurant in a behind the scenes shot is by creating ‘motion blur’ in the image.  By using the captured blur of a moving object a photographer can bring a livelihood to an image and create visual interest.

There are multiple ways in which images with motion blur can be used in the restaurant environment:

Show the wait staff in motion:

Whether it be selecting wine or setting up a dinning room for dinner service, showing the wait or bar staff at work creates some nice images to share alongside food photos of plated dishes.

market your restaurant with skillful food photography

an idea to help promote your restaurant

Show the action of the kitchen

Many of your customers may be interested in the techniques that go into creating the dishes and with the increase in popularity of shows like Top Chef, many people are excited to see into the kitchen.  Highlighting the hustle and the bustle of a busy kitchen can help put some perspective on what actually goes on back there.

showcasing your chef in action with photography

photography of the kitchen in action

Show the action of food prep

Using motion blur is a great method to share some detailed shots of kitchen techniques you may be using.

show the action of preparing biscuits

Follow these tips on how to create motion blur in your photography:

To create successful motion blur you will first need a camera or device that allows you to adjust ‘shutter speed’.  So refer to your manuals and get familiar on this option and how to adjust it.  Capturing motion requires slower shutter speeds, sometimes referred to as ‘dragging the shutter’.  When a slower shutter speed is chosen, the shutter remains open longer and allows your camera to capture the motion of a moving object or person.  If your camera is set for 1/500th of a second the shutter opens and closes so fast that a moving object is ‘frozen’ or ‘suspended’ in the action.  Adversely, if you ‘drag your shutter’ at speed of say, 2 seconds, the shutter will remain open for longer and the result will be the blurring of moving objects.

As a general rule of thumb:  Shutter speeds faster that 1/60th of a second will freeze action, and speeds slower than 1/60th of a second will begin to show signs of motion.

Please keep in mind, this is a general rule and a starting point.  The speed of the subject, the amount of light, your aperture, and ISO will all effect the variables.  But usually, I start 1/60th as a beginning point and typically start to note real noticeable motion blur changes at 1/15th and 1/8th and further down.  Since there are multiple variables…there is no hard and fast rule for the ideal shutter speed.  You will just have to treat each situation individually and adjust accordingly.

Another helpful tool to complete a successful motion blur is a tripod, or any other camera securing device or method.  Since you may be slowing the shutter below 1/60th the likelihood of you capturing ‘camera shake’ while trying to hand hold is highly feasible.  Use a tripod, and be gentle on the shutter release button.  If you can use a remote trigger, even better.

If you find that the selected shutter speed to capture the motion you want allows too much light then adjust the other variables that you have control over accordingly: such as selecting a smaller aperture, or a lower ISO.  Again, each situation will be unique so you will have to find the happy medium for your desired results…but this exploration is what makes photography so fun.  


 We have some other suggestions on how to Market Your Restaurant with effective Food Photography…See them ALL here on Your Kitchen Camera!