Raccontare storie attraverso immagini

What does storytelling mean?

One of the basic things in a company’s marketing strategy is the so-called “storytelling”, that is, telling stories through images. The storytelling consists of a series of mainly visual, sound, perceptual representations that demonstrate how the characteristics of a product / brand can create emotions and, consequently, create a relationship with the public. Making storytelling means highlighting the labor story, the processes, the techniques used for the creation of a food, but also the brand, the product seen from the consumer’s point of view. Telling a story of food through images is not an easy thing, because they must enclose many ideas, people, projects, fulfilled dreams and failures.

Telling stories through pictures requires creativity

Knowing exactly what reaction an alleged customer will have in front of the created image, if it conveys the right message, requires good experience and great observation skills. Experience is very important because it makes creativity shine. Creativity is like a rough diamond hidden by mud and rock. Putting it into practice every day is like cleaning that diamond until it is perfectly shiny. An image that tells a story must be able to teleport the person who looks at it in that context, make the atmosphere of a certain reality feel. There is nothing photographed at random. There is everything built in detail to create the desired effect.

The food must be able to transmit tactile sensations told through the texture, the plating, the cut …Did you ever had the opportunity to look at a photo and immediately have childhood memories? The warm bread freshly baked by Grandma, or the atmosphere around the kitchen table while you were preparing Christmas cookies with your mother? Each of us has wonderful stories inside. Our well-kept memories peep out every time we see, hear or touch something. How to tell food stories through images?

What do you want to tell?

It all depends on what you want to tell. Do you need a set of images and videos to promote a product, or do you need to tell a certain situation, circumstance, capture a moment? If you want to promote a product, you have to start from the ideas behind it, from the people who created it and from its realization path. Telling the business context in which the product was developed, its human side. Instead, if you need to capture only the food at a certain time, to grasp a certain situation, the preparation or the dish, you can do it using the mood and the composition, deciding whether to use the human element or not.

How to do it?

In both cases, to make storytelling through pictures, It must assure that these are very beautiful, well made and the colors are harmonious. The images must immediately strike even if they are in the midst of many other. It’s important that we communicate a point of view on a product, a recipe or the ingredients, and this must focus on quality, aware and responsible regarding food choices. It must convey the right concepts, in line with the social, economic and environmental sphere and with the trends of the table, which respond to the demand for transparency and give food authenticity and identity. In a story, the accent must always fall on the human factor and not on the product. Must be highlighted well the relationship of people with food, especially in the products of the earth, because in the midst of the supply chain from the field to our tables there are always humans. Primarily intended for social networks, the images and videos created find the medium by which to reach consumers directly, involving them. The visual part is very important and manages to convey a message better than any other medium.

Clear and simple communication

Another important element for creating winning food images from the communication point of view is the simplicity of the composition, emphasizing the texture of the food, trying to photograph in a way that creates multisensoriality. The food, seen not only through the image, immediately provokes the desire to taste it. An image that leads to intense stimulation of all the senses and creates a bond with reality is always a winner. The success of a food photography lies in its ability to awaken appetite. The communication must be close, clear, plausible and correct.

Strudel sheet
Woman hands peeling apples and pears

Mood and colors

The atmosphere created around food can be important to convey a certain message. The style and setting immediately convey the idea of ​​the season, for example, a dark atmosphere can tell of autumn or winter, instead the white color combined with the red speaks of Christmas. The orange or turquoise make immediately summer and so on. The color is what you notice first and can affect mood and choices.

Camera angle and orientation

The shooting angle can tell various aspects of food, helping to capture a moment or transmit a sensation. In order to capture in the right way the structure of the food , you must also take into account the orientation of the images. For example, if you take photos of smoothies, dripping foods, multilayer sandwiches or very high cakes, use the vertical orientation and shoot the food on the side. When photographing a plate of simple pasta use horizontal orientation. When choosing the orientation, take into account the context where you want to insert the photos.

Video shoot

The video footage of the entire food creation process, from the origin of the ingredients to the arrival at the table, is very useful. Especially shooting video of the behind the scenes on the set.

Involve the customer

Involving the customer in the creation process is fundamental. Because it may happen that, despite a good brief, it is not possible to interpret correctly the desire expressed by it. Therefore, using a moodboard is extremely useful in the storytelling process.
The moodboard is a set of drawings, images, textures, colors, written ideas, a sort of collage that helps to give direction to what we want to tell. Using a moodboard at the beginning of the project helps the client and the photographer to get a first shared vision on the style to follow, but also to make sure the direction is right to avoid going too far with a wrong job. The client then trusts in the photographer because he sees that he is taking into account his needs and feels involved in the project.

Relying on a professional

In conclusion, the success of a marketing campaign and of a company itself depends largely on visual communication, by the way his story and products are told through the image. For this reason it is important to rely on a professional able to accomplish everything.

Here is a practical example of how, some time ago, I have used the image storytelling for a Caesar dressing.

“Having salad dressing on hand can turn an ordinary meal into something extraordinary.”

Did you know?

Caesar dressing’s name comes from Caesar salad and there are two different stories about the origin of the name for Caesar salad. One story is that it was named in honor of Julius Caesar. Another story says that Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant to the United States, developed the salad dressing in the 1920s for his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.