We all know first impressions count.
And we all know that we eat with our eyes first.

So thinking about these two statements, it’s straightforward to assume that photography can play an important role in restaurant marketing.

But how important is it, really? And what type of value can we place on photography? Can a restaurant justify spending $1k on a photo shoot? And would it make a difference?

To answer those questions, it will depend upon the intended use & placement. We’ll take a look at some common marketing channels and try to quantify the value using standard digital marketing metrics.

Press Releases


In the extremely competitive world of public relations, where editors are bombarded with amazing concepts, new openings & quirky ideas, submitting press releases with bad images simply won’t do.

Renae Smith of The Atticism, a Sydney-based PR Agency says, “When consulting with businesses, we almost always include budget for a professional shoot, even if we’re told they have some ‘pretty good images.’  We work with photographers who submit images to the media almost daily so we know what sort of images work and which images get the right sort of attention.”

Great photos can make all the difference and unlike other forms of media, PR is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You either get the editorial piece or you don’t.

For this example we’ll say the editorial piece will have a reach of 10k views.


Bad Photo: 0
Amazing photo: 10,000

Click through rate:

Bad Photo: N/A
Amazing Photo: 5%

Visitors to website:

Bad Photo: 0
Amazing Photo: 5% of 10,000 = 500


Social Media


Social Media algorithms are complex, even more difficult to explain and impossible to give accurate numbers to but we’re going to detail what sounds reasonable. It’s more than a guess – having run hundreds of ad campaigns – we’re able to give indicative figures.

Great photos get more engagement. We all know that. But did you know that the more engagement a post gets, the more ‘followers’ the content is sent to. How many followers does your content get sent to? Well, it varies. It could be as little as 1% or as much as 1000% – depending on how people interact with it. If a post gets minimal engagement, the algorithm responds by sending it to less people. The opposite is also true.

This also occurs across multiple posts. So if your last 3 or 4 posts have all had high engagement, the next posts will probably be sent to more people. 3 or 4 bad posts in a row, and the next one will have lower reach. Momentum is important. There’s more to consider than the quality of the photo though. The content is crucial.

For simplicity, let’s take  a social media audience of 10k followers across all platforms;


Bad Photo: 400
Amazing photo: 1500

Click through rate:

Bad Photo: 5%
Amazing Photo: 15%

Visitors to website:

Bad Photo: 20
Amazing Photo: 225


Website Conversions


Now let’s take a look at what happens on the website.

We’ve always believed in the mantra, “Words tell and pictures sell”.

Let’s look at a visitor who’s arrived at a restaurant website. There are a lot of factors which influence the booking decision; cost, location, menu, availability and of course, how good does it look.

Again, for simplicity and consistency, let’s assume that this particular website has 10,000 views / month.

Baseline stats:


They convert 5% of that traffic: 500 bookings
The average bookings size is 3 guests
The average spend per head is $50
The total revenue generated by the website = 500 x 3 x $50 = $75,000

How might that figure change with good or bad photography?


Bad Photo: 4% conversion rate or $60,000
Amazing Photo: 6% conversion rate or $90,000

…That equates to over $350k per year!

Obviously this is an over simplified model. It’s unlikely that badly marketed websites will get 10,000 users / month. But, what this does show is that any asset that affects the conversion %, even a little, can have an enormous effect on revenue. Here, a 2% swing in conversions is worth $30k per month.


Let’s now take a look at how traffic from the PR campaign, and social media, can impact revenue when using good or bad photos:


PR Campaign


Editorial and using good photos:
500 (website visits) x 6% (conversion rate) x 3 (average booking size) x  $50 (average spend) = $4500

PR using bad photos: 
A big fat zero – we didn’t get the editorial piece.

Social media:

Bad Photo:
20 (website visits) x 4% (conversion rate) x 3 (average booking size) x  $50 (average spend) = $120

Good Photo:
225 (website visits) x 6% (conversion rate) x 3 (average booking size) x  $50 (average spend) = $2025




For the purpose of this analysis, we can conclude that photography certainly does look like an investment worth making.

More importantly, this article shows how understanding your data and finding ways to improve reach, click through rate, website traffic and conversions, can be fundamental to a business success.

The larger the audience, the more justified one can be in investing in great photos. The more channels the photos will be used for, the easier it is to demonstrate the need for the best photos possible. If the goal of a website is to convert more traffic then serious thought must be given to the photography and value proposition as a whole. Even the slightest change in conversion % can have an enormous impact on profitability.



What is a branding pack?

Imagine you’re a start-up. You’re in the service industry, it’s not particularly glamorous. You have a small team, a space to work and you’re getting a website made. What are you going to do for website photos? No one’s keen for a photo shoot; finding stock photos has already been a time drain and nothing’s really suitable. Instinctively you know the website needs a little more pizzazz.

You also network on Linkedin, hope to get your social media ‘going’ and customers may want to read more about you on the ‘about-us’ section – but again, you need good content.

Sounds like you need a branding pack. Professional images of the team, individual portraits, the business and environment. All consistent, on brand, for use across socials, websites, LinkedIn, documents & tenders. It’s the best way to gather all of your photographic content needs in one relaxed photo shoot.

Brendan Dunphy from BLD Communication (a small copywriting company) needed just that recently, so we went along to his office at Here Coworking for an on-location shoot.



A Hero Shot is the ultimate image. The picture that speaks a thousand words. The image used to represent yourself, a brand, a story. An image that explains everything and entices the viewer to look at more.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Not anymore! Well, not at first anyway.

Today’s digital age can be brutal. It’s a yes or a no, a swipe left or right, it leaves no room for error and no place for personal achievement.

As a result, it’s created the ultra-ego. The selfie obsessive. The ‘look how incredible my life is’ show off.

Why is that?

There are two big fears in life: fear of loss and fear of rejection and rejection often feels like a loss. Nobody likes it and people go to great lengths to protect themselves from it.

For the first time in history, our lives are in a display box for the world to see. Some try to hide away by deleting their Facebook profile or use an old headshot for LinkedIn to avoid facing up to an older looking version of themselves.

It’s true our online world can be harsh and the book is often judged by the cover but it’s hard to stay completely offline in a digital era and why are we not presenting the real us? Have we lost our confidence?

Your profile picture is the first thing people see. It’s often the one thing an audience uses to decide if you’re in or out and it’s a powerful tool. It’s our point of difference and something we should hold proudly. The parts we pick fault at are unique to us; our insecurities don’t horrify people, only us. Our awkwardness, to others, can be endearing.

Personalities aren’t built up of the parts we like and desire to be, and if they are, this is fake and nobody can develop a deep connection with someone they see as playing a character.

People love the confident expressionist. The one who stands out from the crowd and doesn’t give energy to those who mock them. These pioneers understand that mockery only serves these people as a shield, a protective barrier.

When we are true to ourselves, people see this and we are invincible to rejection. How can something be rejected if it isn’t up for auction?

A good photographer (or graphic designer) has the power at their fingertips to slim your legs, tone your stomach and remove 15 years from your face but what does this really show? Yet another picture of your best side?

Many photographers do this and do it well, but great photographers do something more. They are perfectionists and wear every image they take as a badge of honour, it’s part of their brand and it’s important. They don’t just take pretty pictures or fake it.

In order to create an incredible image which connects to an audience, they don’t forget about the most important element of a person, their character, what makes you ‘you’.

This is the side you show when you’re not posing or acting professional. When the self-conscious voice in your head has left the building. A great photographer sees this uniqueness and captures it, even if you don’t see it.

It’s no easy task but a photographer that is interested in people and able to connect on a deeper level will bring this hidden charisma out into the forefront.

Showing the real you shouldn’t be scary, it should be empowering and the end result will be an image you are not only excited to share with others but are proud to say, ‘This is me’.

Hero Shot Photography



We’ve all experienced it, you see some great images on realestate.com.au for a property and make time in the middle of your day for the 15-30 minute viewing window, only to find that it is not as well maintained, as spacious or stylish as the images would have you believe.

“Wait.. is this even the same house?” It’s an awful feeling when you come to realise you’ve been tricked, and the property is simply not fit for your needs. Sure, you can rely on a floor plan to give you a more accurate perspective on things and if you were really savvy, you could check the street view, courtesy of Google maps. Google maps however can be outdated and how many of us can truly appreciate what a 4m x 3m room actually feels like with a king-size bed and a wardrobe inside?

The pictured photographs show a house in South Sydney as it was presented by the agent vs a Google Street View screenshot.

I’ve often been asked to Photoshop in a blue sky on an otherwise gloomy day (having worked as a real estate photographer in the UK for several years it almost became a staple of the job!) However, according to the agents behind the sale, no image manipulation has been applied.

“..it would appear from our own investigations that the photos have not been photoshopped and are instead simply taken from an angle from which the house obscures the water tank,”

Real estate Photography isn’t the only area that such “trickery” manifests itself. Fashion and Food Photography have been putting out unrealistic images for decades. Heck, I’m lucky if my Big-mac burger lid is still on the burger when I open the box, let alone look anything like the carefully staged, idealized version you see on the menu-board.

Photo Credit: Zach Weiler

Having transitioned in to Portrait photography some years ago and specialising in Professional Headshots, I’m often asked before a headshot session if I can Photoshop the images. It baffles me sometimes as a good photographer will only need to make some minimal adjustments, having already taken the time to understand your face, best angles and most complimentary lighting. Some people still don’t understand that a good headshot isn’t about making you look the best you ever have. Naturally it should be flattering, but it should communicate so much more than that: along with some ‘perceived’ flaws and imperfections, it should show people what makes you different from everyone else and what makes you ‘you’.

Photo Credit: Hero Shot Photography

If your Real Estate photography, corporate imagery or Headshot photography goal is enable you to meet up with new clients, build trust and enter in to a trusting business relationship, I would urge you to consider how an unrealistic photograph will likely damage your credibility whilst portraying dishonesty right from the get-go.

What are your thoughts? Has photo-trickery become an accepted part of our day to day lives?

Sammer Affridi is a Sydney Real Estate and Portrait Photographer and the founder of Hero Shot Photography Sydney