The Complete Guide to Taking Stunning Food Photography for Deliveroo

The Complete Guide to Taking Stunning Food Photography for Deliveroo

Quality and professional food photography is an essential requirement for all restaurants joining Deliveroo. They do this for one simple reason: more dish photography equals more orders. That's good for everyone.

Deliveroo found that:

  1. Providing dish photography for just 10% of your menu can boost overall orders by 12%,
  2. This goes up to 24%, when providing dish photography for 30-40% of your menu; and
  3. You can expect a 6.5% increase in orders for dishes that include photos.
Deliveroo data sets reveal one clear action. Invest in your photography
The data doesn't lie, good food photography is more orders. Source: Deliveroo

But here's the obvious catch - the photography has to be good. Poor photography actually decreases orders–that includes iPhone shots. That's why Deliveroo has such strict photography guidelines (arguably the strictest of all when compared with Uber Eats and JustEat).

How strict can it be? Put your glasses on, let's get detailed. Alternatively hire your own professional food photographer for £99, send them this brief, and let them take care of the photography while you focus on the food.

For those ready for the challenge, let's go.

Deliveroo's photography guidelines

On Deliveroo there are two types of images:

  1. Hero Images (required) - This is the shopfront of every restaurant on the platform. It should display the most vibrant selection of dishes from your menu.
  2. Item Images (optional) - These populate the restaurant’s digital menu and are a truthful representation of what the consumer will receive.

For each type of image there are different specifications. We've taken the trouble to make a comprehensive list in the table below (you're welcome ?):

This is a big table, scroll right for more!

Category Specification Image Type Reasoning Tips
? 1. Dish layout and Placement Include at least 5 different dishes in your hero image. Hero Image Shows the variety on the menu. -
  Place the most striking dishes in the middle of the frame. Hero Image The Hero Image is your shop-front; make sure it whets the appetite. A little spray of oil can make dishes shine.
  Don't overcrowd the hero Image. Hero Image The hero image will be the first photo on the menu that your potential customers will see. Avoid overcrowding the hero image as this may look messy and confusing. x
  All item images should have one dish in the centre of the photo. Item Images Clearly shows the ingredients in that particular menu item. Use a neutral background and avoid shiny surfaces.
  Focus on the food. All Images Don't send in images with any props, bottles, hands, faces, text, logos, watermarks or raw ingredients placed around the dishes. -
  Add some colour. All Images Choose a clear and clean background that will complement and highlight your product. Match the serving dishes to the background.
? 2. Aspect Ratio / Cropping Only use Landscape orientation. All Images So that the image quality does not change when viewing your menu on mobile or web devices -
  Use images with at least 1920 x 1080 pixels. All Images So the imagery you supply looks best. Anything higher than 1920 x 1080 pixels has to have a 16:9 ratio. Be mindful when composing your photo that hero images can be cropped to 16:7 and item images can be cropped to 16:7 & 1:1 (square)
  Ensure the whole dish is in the frame. All Images So that the image quality does not change when viewing your menu on mobile or web devices Use a side-on angle for stackable items such as burgers, sandwiches, cakes and drinks
  Ensure the food is always in focus. Use a low ISO and f-stop help with this. All Images As the food is the hero, it should always be completely in focus. Always use low ISO where possible. And select the right f-stop (aperture size) and shutter speed combinations that brings good sharp images and suitable depth of field. Use camera's AP mode (aperture priority) or manual may help controlling this. This one doesn't seem to fit in Aspect Ration / Cropping section.
  Light the image evenly All Images For the best results. If using natural light use a reflector to fill in the darker areas. If using a flash, diffuse it or bounce it to achieve even light. -
  Be Consistent. All Images Shoot each item with the exact same pov, light and positioning. This gives your online shopfront a slick feel. It also helps customers make decisions about which dish to order. -
? 3. Camera Settings Avoid overexposure. All Images Overexposure can make your food look washed out. If in auto-mode, your camera can automatically overexpose, especially if you are using a dark background. Set your exposure compensation level in between -1/3 to -2/3 EV to correct this.
  Choose an appropriate focal length. All Images Food looks most delicious when it appears natural, for best results use lenses with a medium focal length as they have a similar field of vision (FOV) to human eyes. On full-frame camera bodies, 35mm, 50mm and 60mm lenses are good options.
? 4. Image Specifications All images that are sent to Deliveroo must be JPEG files. All Images For admin reasons, I won't bore you. ??‍? -
  Label all images with the correct dish name. All Images To help Deliveroo to add photos to your menu quickly. x
? 5. Image Source Don't reuse images from other websites All Images Deliveroo does not accept images from other ordering platforms. Images sent must be new photos that follow their brand guidelines. -
  Don't use stock Images. All Images Deliveroo does not accept any images found on stock websites or search engines. -

It's no secret that taking photographs for Deliveroo isn't easy. At Perfocal we have worked with Deliveroo on a number of shoots. Below we've given two examples in addition to sharing some insider tips from our photographers.

Example: Kim's Korean Garden

Kim's Korean Garden is a highly rated restaurant providing mouth watering dishes from Culvert Place Editions. Arda, K one one of our top professional photographers in London gets a perfect score.

Hero Image

Hero image analysis:

  • Over 5 dishes tastefully composed (9 dishes)
  • Largest dish centred in the frame, balancing the image
  • Clean and clear background that is neutral in colour compliments the bright food colours
  • Even lighting with no harsh shadows
  • Landscape orientation
  • Pro tip: Don't overlap the chopsticks
  • Pro tip: Spoons are ok, knives are not!
  • Pro tip: Use close to a 90 degree angle, but not quite

Item images

Korean Soup, Kimchi Tofu Jjigae with Rice

Item image analysis:

  • All item images have one dish in the centre of the photo
  • Consistent lighting
  • Consistent Point of View (POV)
  • Landscape orientation
  • Pro tip: Including chopsticks helps users understand the dish size

Capturing different kinds of food

So we've covered restaurants & takeaways, but what about listing other kinds of food or beverages on Deliveroo?

If you have looked on Deliveroo recently (after Covid-19), you'll notice that a whole range of food and beverage businesses are listing their items on the platform - even my local BP garage is using Deliveroo to deliver crisps & sandwiches!

Deliveroo has some suggestions in addition to their existing guidelines:

  • Ensure the frame is filled in all images
  • Show variety in your Hero image
  • Side views and high angles are both acceptable as long as the image is colourful and in focus
  • Ensure the background is neutral to keep the focus on the food
  • Do not: overcrowd the frame with too many items
  • Do not: shoot through counters or against windows
  • Do not: include hands or raw ingredients

But what if the item is a raw ingredient?

How do I photograph raw ingredients?

That's the problem Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi - Founder and CEO of Collectiv Food had.

Collectiv Food supply 1000s of  restaurants with quality ingredients from a network of farms. Since a large segment of their restaurants have stopped operating due to Covid-19, Collectiv Food wanted to bridge the gap between the farm and your dinner plate using Deliveroo. But first they needed quality photography.

"I booked on short notice [at 10pm for a 9am shoot the next day]. The next morning at 7 am I had a text message from the photographer, Paulina. I called her as it was too good to be true to make sure she had the relevant experience as Deliveroo is very specific when it comes to pictures. Paulina was great, and so was the photography. I got the edited photos back in 24 hours. Really cool service!"- Jeremy

What Jeremy didn't know is that Paulina has worked with Deliveroo directly and has done many photoshoots across the country with them. As Jeremy put it - "it was a good match. Perfect for our needs."

Item image analysis:

  • Same POV used
  • Item centred in the frame
  • Even lighting
  • Raw ingredients used as props (normally a no-no, but given this was a special case, it was accepted)

You know the food, we know the photography

Deliveroo are particular about the food photography that is featured on their platform, they have strict guidelines but with good reason. Great food photography whets the appetite and increases order volumes. But if you want to give a try by yourself & test your photography skills, then these food photography tips will definitely help you.

You know the food, we know the photography. Get an hours worth for as little as £99, and start impressing your new customers in no time!

Raj Paul

Raj Paul

Raj is Head of Strategy & Growth at Perfocal. He loves to ski ⛷, surf ??‍♂️ and meditate ??‍♂️. When the moment strikes (rarely) he likes to write ✍?