The importance of colour in food branding and photography

Food branding uses specific colours in order to market products more wisely or appropriately. The photography of food is becoming increasingly more important in order to excite hunger in a viewer; therefore, it is essential to be aware of the colours and overall presentation of the food. Have a look at our pointers on how food branding works effectively and how you can use this knowledge in your photography of food.

Fast Food Industry

You may not have already noticed but yellow and red combinations dominate the fast food industry. The reason behind this is the psychological feelings evoked by the two colours. Red triggers appetite, hunger and desire, being a prominent warning or attention colour, so that an audience is instantly engaged. Yellow on the other hand evokes feelings of happiness and friendless; thus the two combined create for friendly and demanding brand marketing.

When thinking about your own food photography it is important to be aware of how bright your colours are, and during the editing process. Too bright and they will be rather garish and fake. The appeal of the red and yellow is because it is instant but not lasting. Making people want the food you photograph should not be dealt with in the same way. Flashes of colour are more appropriate.

Blue Is Healthy

Ever wondered why blue foods are hard to come by? Less associated as a food colour, blue tends to be used for marketing healthier products, with its implications of water and cleanliness. The calming effect of blue suppresses appetite and thus encourages people to eat less.

When editing your food photographs, avoid any blue colouring as it will make the image somewhat artificial. Also, photographing a food arrangement that is predominantly pale will result in a lack of interest from potential customers. Foods lacking colour fail to arouse the senses or a hunger desire

..........however if used cleverly blue can help trick an audience into believing something is healthier than it really is!

Green Strategy

Green is of course the colour of nature. Using pops of green in colour branding and photography implies a more natural or healthy appeal and is particularly complimentary alongside other muted or dull tones. Citrus tones in general help to excite a viewer’s attention whilst green as a stand-alone colour is perhaps the most striking yet subtle of food branding.

Many food dishes are arranged with patches of green to break up the rest of the colour and hint at a more healthy meal. When photographing food, experiment with a bed of green spinach leaves or peas for example, to add essential colour to a predominantly plain looking dish.

Stephen Conroy
Food Photographer & Director