Iphone Photography + Instagram Strategy for Restaurant Owners | Natalie Black | Skillshare

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Iphone Photography + Instagram Strategy for Restaurant Owners

teacher avatar Natalie Black

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. The Intro: What you'll learn

    • 2. What You Need to Get Started on a Budget + Lighting

    • 3. The Shoot: Take Better Photos on Your Phone + The Assignment

    • 4. The Edit: #1 Technique to Edit Like a Professional

    • 5. Plan + Upload: Instagram Planning + Design

    • 6. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Join Natalie Black (@thenatalieblack) and learn to take better photos on your phone and to develop a beautiful aesthetic for your restaurant's Instagram.


My goal is to teach you tips to keep your brand alive during the recovery of Covid with the fundamentals of phone photography and Instagram strategy. This course will help you take better photos with your phone, upload without anxiety, and grow your audience organically. 

Course Plan Includes

Shooting on a Budget - You don't need the latest phone or gear to take incredible photos on your phone. This lists out what you need to get started and affordable gear recommendations.

Beginners Lighting Tutorial - I'll teach you how to work with natural and artificial lighting as well as share gear recommendations. For a full list of gear to purchase on a budget please visit my website HERE

3 ways you need to shoot your product - We will review how to plan for Instagram during your shoot and understand where to begin when designing your own aesthetic. We'll explore a series idea that I've designed for my fake restaurant to help inspire your own!

The Edit - My #1 tip for making your iphone photos look more professional plus how I edit

Planning + Uploading - Planning your content schedule ahead of time will help alleviate posting anxiety and it will also help you create a beautiful grid on Instagram to grow your audience.  


Contact: DM me @thenatalieblack

Visit my website for free photo editing tools: www.thenatalieblack.com

Meet Your Teacher

I'm Natalie Black. I have 8 years of experience as a professional photographer and head of digital media. I've managed brand strategy for 20th Century FOX, Fandango, The CW, and I currently lead the visual creative direction and digital media footprint for the Michelin star restaurant, Crown Shy. With a proven record of quick audience growth, I use data to create high-performing content and position new brands competitively.

My work has been featured in New York Times, Forbes, Eater, New York Magazine, New Yorker, Grub Street, Vogue, Time Out, and The Today Show.

Follow along with me if you want to gain skills in photography, video, and Adobe Creative Suite. 


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1. The Intro: What you'll learn: I'm only black. I'm a food photographer and director of digital in New York City, and welcome to five steps to mobile photography or restaurant owners or small businesses just looking to up their mobile photo data. They're useful tips in this for everyone. But the Brush, History struggling right now. And I'm about to provide the most important fundamentals to taking photos with your phone and creating a grid to grow your audience and whatever view, what you need to do this on a budget, the setup, the shoe, the edit and upload, and most importantly, creating consistent and beautiful feed and to make people follow along with whatever it is that you're doing. Let's go check out our restaurant. Here we are in the restaurant. I'm going show you. 2. What You Need to Get Started on a Budget + Lighting: The first thing you need is your phone. You don't need latest version to take good photos. You need a soft box or natural light and can also use a small portable light like this one. Headphones, I have volume control so you can take a photo without touching your camera and tripod for your phone, a microfiber, cloth, the cleaner lens, seriously clean your lens and gaffe tape or household supplies if you don't have a tripod. Now I'm going to assemble this light and talk to you a little bit about lighting. Lighting is the most important element to consider in photography, the absolute best option for beginners are these interface soft boxes. You can get two of these for a $120 and they're really easy to assemble. It only takes about four minutes. You can leave the diffuser off for a bright daylight look or pop it on, and then you have some nice, beautiful diffused lighting for any situation. There are three different links, which is on the back so you can adjust to the strength of the light there, really durable if they fall. It's such an incredible way for beginners. I really can't stress it enough. I still use them to this day. Throughout the course when I'm shooting, I will be showing you some of the photos I'm taking. If your restaurant already has really great lighting, I love a harsh daylight on food or behind drinks. I think it looks really, really nice. Here are the photos that I took with harsh light. I love the way the shadows look. Just think it looks so good. But a partially it's not for you. Just by small diffuser like this one to put in front of the window and bam but make shifts off box. And here is look with the diffuser. And that concludes my brief overview of lighting for beginners. 3. The Shoot: Take Better Photos on Your Phone + The Assignment: Alright, let's get ready to shoo. Okay, the shoot, I'm centered myself box of num and over than light source would naturally be coming in if it were the right time a day. If I'm going to use this window later, I wanted to have a similar look. I shoot through the Lightroom app because it has the most powerful editing capabilities. Each stores your photos for you in exports JPEG so that you can upload them anyway and shoe on auto within here. You can also change the little lens to telephoto or wide. So go ahead and plug in your headphones and use the volume control button to take the photo. And it will take a photo without adding any shake to the camera. Once you shoot in Lightroom, it stores the moment in the app and you can easily organize them. In labor. Mobiles free. Some messing around with a bunch of different angles here. If you don't have a tripod, This is an excellent opportunity to expand with Daft tape. I'm using gaffe tape and I'm taping it straight above the food, so parallel to the surface on which the food is sitting. And next up, I'm going to review flat liaise with you a little bit more since they're so popular and I want you to have a good idea as to how to execute them. But first, the assignment. Here's the assignment developed three ways or angles to shoot your food or product. Just to clarify, here's what I want you to do. The pilot I showed you about lighting, about shooting, and what I'm about to teach you to this assignment. Pick one dish or ingredient from your kitchen and photograph it three ways. This can be an angle for location or a concept or anything else you can think of. Export three different photos of that dish. Don't forget to share your three photos with me in the comments below, I'd love to see them and give you feedback or help you brainstorm. Now, on to flatlands. Flatly is RA super popular way to shoot and for good reason, trim, setting up a background that I made on which I'm going to shoot the food. There, I'm cleaning my lens. It's really obvious to take photos of the final dish, but try taking photos of the process. Here my son minerals finished out of the oven for flatly make sure the cameras perfectly parallel to the surface or taking photos of I'm getting ready to isis cinnamon rolls Now. Here's one of the photos I got during this Ising process, the final icing shot. And then we have a photo of the cinnamon roll plated. And for this one dish, we're able to get five different flat ways. While there are no rules to how you should eat your food here at angles that I consistently use, the 45-degree angle straight ahead and the flat lay like we just reviewed. Another way you can shoe is but your food or drink on the corner of the table with the restaurant in the background. That's really beautiful and popular shot. Consider these different angles and ways of shooting a series for your restaurant. Here's another idea I thought I'm forced series naps can shin at home because our world right now requires a lot of restaurants to prioritize, to go and delivery and develop naps, kitchen at home where I'm gonna take photos of all my life to go offerings on a bed. I have this New York Times at home section. I'm using harsh lighting, coming in from a window, harsh natural lighting. And I'm going to use this as a series. So I'm gonna take photos of every single to go off. And I have like this, it's not only looks really good, but it might entice viewers to 1B create this photo and take their own photo at home. What you wanna do is create consistencies so your audiences looking forward to the next installment of your series, but also for your own peace of mind if you know what is coming and every time you produce a dish, you know how to shoot it. The net alleviates a lot of the pressure and nerves that come along with uploading photos. So every time you produce a dish, take a photo with all of these different series, you take a 45-degree angle, you take a flat lay, the draped a head shot, and then you bring it over to the bedroom and take a photo on the bed for your at-home offering. And this isn't gonna get immediate results, but it's going to help you think about how you're taking photos and how you can simplify that process. And you're ready to start the edit. 4. The Edit: #1 Technique to Edit Like a Professional: The main reason I use Lightroom is because it's just one of the most powerful editing tools out there. But I'm going to teach you to do in this next segment is to identify a look that you want to achieve and edit all of your photos in the same way. This is really personal preference, but I'm going to share some of my thoughts and how I edit, and hopefully that will be helpful to you. Like I said, editing is really personal preference. But here my tips, I'm going to start with this photo here. I'm brightening it up with the exposure and then deepening the shadows. This next step is my number one tip for editing food photos that look professional. You're gonna desaturated or remove any colors that don't fit in your photos. And let me explain. In portraits, I end up removing a lot of the yellows because it makes people's teeth whiter in food photos, I remove all the blues because there's not often naturally occurring blue in food, but there are always tones of blue in the shop, even if it's not immediately impairment. So I'm going into the Color Mixer here. Go to color the bottom right press mix. And then you're presented with all of these colors and you have hue, saturation and luminance. We're only going to pay attention to saturation. I'm desaturating the blue completely. I'm gonna go in and increase the clarity and give it a little bit of a vignette. So once I edit a couple of photos to my liking, what I'm gonna do is click these three dots in the upper right-hand corner and press Copy settings. So now I'm gonna go through all the photos. I'm gonna hit three dots again and then paste. And do that for all of the photos that are taken in the same location. And you can see this is giving them all the same look. And then you can even organize your photos here. I'm creating a folder called next kitchen. And that's where I'm going to drop all of my edited photos. All of the photos from this shoe are going to look really consistent within the grid because I'm using the same settings, Teddy, all of them. So you only really edit one photo from each location and then you get a copy and peace the settings everywhere you go. For the cinnamon rolls on applying the same concept. Copy the settings from one photo and then paste them on to the next. You're really only editing one photo to your liking and then you're going to copy the settings and then paste them and all the other photos that are from the same location. And you can see how it really brighten the whites and removes any blue cast. And this photo, you can see how much more professional these photos are already looking. You can of course, use presets and filters if that's what you're comfortable with. But Lightroom is a tool that we use to create those presets and filters. This app is how you're going to achieve a really professional and unique look by creating your own editing style. You're going to be thinking like professional and it's gonna help your photo stand out even if you're taking them on your phone. 5. Plan + Upload: Instagram Planning + Design: The second reason that I use Lightroom is that the file upon export as a JPEG. You'll see the on the iPhone, you get a PHEIC if you AirDrop it to your computer or send it over to you computer once you're ready to export, if you just want to forget the rest of this course, then you're ready to upload at this point. So you're just gonna edit and X4 and they're already JPS. You can upload them to anywhere you need them to be. But here is probably the greatest tip in here for getting rid of that posting anxiety. I think we all know that instagram should be a major component of your marketing plan. Creating a beautiful grade is the biggest draw to capturing new people in your audience. So this is my planning app. I'm going to upload all my photos from gnats kitchen folder that we created. Unlike I'm going to export them in an upload them into my planning app. I'm going to click the free knots, but a select, select all the photos that I would like to export. And then you're gonna export them to the camera roll. Just click the share button below. And then export to camera roll. And it's going to take a minute. So I use the preview planning app. You can really use whichever, like, whatever works best for you. I liked this one because it's really simple and straightforward. Grade they've done export a. Okay, so go back to preview. I'm going to click the plus sign. And then adding all of the photos that I exported from my library interpreted if you have the eye for it, one method layer in here is just to drag and drop these until it looks aesthetically pleasing. I started taking some photos of the backsplash and I think really represents my restaurant and is really unique. And they started adding those into the planner. So I'm pulling these backsplash photos. If you had some negative space, it ends up helping the grid look more balanced. Because I am a new restaurant. I've only done two shoots and a lot of these photos are and look really similar and that's okay. This is just our beginning and this is what it's gonna look like. The final grid version one, there is sufficient negative space with these backsplash photos. The coloring is consistent and I'm adding photos of restaurant details that my customers want to photograph. Like the view out the window, the surrounding area, and the food in front of a backsplash here. And the method to make it really, really good. What I'm gonna do is add a lot more of this backsplash photos. So I'm going to add a bunch of it in here and this is good if you don't have the I to understand what looks aesthetically pleasing next to one another or you just don't, you don't feel confident enough. And this is a really good technique to use if you want to create a beautiful grid without really having to think about it very much. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to basically move it to every other photo. And I'm being a little strategic about it because some of the food has the backsplash in back of it. So I want that to count as part of the design. But I'm using this because it's very unique to my restaurant. I want people to be interested in a, I want them to come take photos of it. Any also creates a lot of negative space and just looks really interesting. For the final grade version to this technique gets the grid looking really clean. If each has a unique design element for my restaurant that I want to attract customers. It also lends itself to a consistent color scheme. Okay, so when you're going to post another big part of this app is that it saves all of your hashtags. So I took this photo of the first time it snowed outside my window. So what I'm gonna do is create a post this as first now. And then I made all these hashtags for it. And then I'm going to press the plus sign and it's gonna save this hashtag group for me when it call it snowy New York. And then as a group of snowing your cash tanks. And next time it snows in New York. First now at Netscape Jin export post. Go through the standard motion of posting and you press paste, and then you already have all of your hashtags in your caption saved there. It just makes it so easy. So what you need to do is plan out all of your posts, all of your captions and hashtags ahead of time. And I fully understand that everything in the restaurant industry changes week to week. So the next time something changes drastically, you can just add it in there. I have this photo that I took outside of my window and I'm looking at it within the grid, I see that there's this blue curtain in sky looks really blue too. And I know that they're not gonna go well with my grid. If we take a look at what we have here in preview, there's no naturally occuring blue in here. I know this seems crazy, but it just doesn't look as good and it's gonna throw everything off. Likely one of the reasons that your whole grid looks on the inconsistent color tones. So I'm going to light room. Then I am going to the Color Mixer. You're going to select saturation on both Blues and lower it all the way to 0. We don't need any blue in their Nobel. And here's the before and after. 6. Final Thoughts: I shot this course using the iPhone X r. So you do not need the latest phone by any means to market a restaurant. And I know that this slump work, but it doesn't have to feel that way. If you plan out your post develop series for shooting, create an editing style that's uniquely yours and then use it across all of your photos and clean your lens. And you're on your way to shooting professional looking photos on your phone. These are obviously really complex lessons of which I barely scratched the surface. So if you'd like me to dive in a little bit deeper, please do comment down below and let me know what you'd like me to review. If you'd like some free tools to aid you in your photo editing and social media planning journey. Please visit my website and down below. And if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and from DME at v Natalie black. Thank you.