Food Photography: Revenue stream for shared use kitchens

Food photography, a specialized form of commercial photography, can be a great source of revenue for commercial kitchens.  The reasons for digital image production abound: product features, education, celebrity chef and entrepreneur interviews and more! Who hasn’t been mesmerized by a Tasty or bon appétit video recently? Not only do videos and photos make food more appealing to the everyday chef and consumer, it’s also a growing industry.

Photographers may think of restaurants when considering where to shoot, but restaurants may not have the lighting, the space, or the schedule to deliver what photographers need.  If this is something you want to do, here are some things to consider:

How much will you charge?
Professional photographers can charge between $50 and $500 an hour based on experience.  Will you charge your normal kitchen rental rates?  Charge a premium due to the nature of the usage? Would it be simpler to just rent the entire kitchen out during the shoot?

Where will this be done? 
You need a clean, beautiful, well-lit area.  Will the photographer have access to all of your kitchen space?  A certain area?  Where will they setup?  How much space will they need?

How can you get clients? 
Some kitchen managers with experience in this area recommend registering with your local film commission so that photographers can find you more easily.  You can also make sure your food business clients know that you work with photographers, in case they need some photos.  You can also google for ‘food photography <cityname>’ and let the prominent photographers in your area of your availability.

Other things to consider…

Current Clients – How will this impact your current clients?  Will they have to delay supply delivery or avoid areas of the kitchen during the shoot?  How will you communicate this?

Time – The shoot may take longer than the photographer estimates.  Plan for a buffer, especially for the first few times you work with a photographer. The photographer may want to take your space for a surprisingly long period of time (some kitchen managers mention days).  Make sure everyone’s clear about how long they need.

Sound – If the photographer is also doing video, noise may be an issue, whether from your other kitchen users or from equipment. Make sure the photographer knows that kitchens are not quiet.

As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

…and food photography may be a great way to earn additional kitchen revenue.

This post inspired by the Network For Incubator And Commissary Kitchens.

Does your kitchen rent to photographers? Have you installed kitchen equipment specifically for photo and video production? Let us know!

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