Request Brief Guide

Zagat Survey reviews restaurants all over the world and needs beautiful photos of their restaurant listings. Photos are the first thing potential customers look at when searching for a restaurant in a Zagat listing. Your photos will greatly impact consumer conversion for each individual restaurant. For Zagat, listings with beautiful images get more attention & bring more customers to their door.

The Gig Details

If approved, you'd be assigned to as many of these restaurants in your area as you would like to take on through our Private Request briefs.
If interested, please email with a link to your portfolio (food photos preferred). IMPORTANT: In the heading of the email, please write the CITY and STATE that you would like to shoot in. We will email you back with a creative brief and more details if you match what we are looking for. These requests are time sensitive -- please respond ASAP if interested.

Rules to Shoot By

Google's Zagat Directory will be purchasing a minimum of 3 photos for $25 ($17.50 net) per shot. We've developed a set of guidelines to ensure that every photo captured meets the required level of quality & cohesiveness for all listings. While the guide provides direction, your creative eye is important for these Requests.

Food & Entrees

Capturing food can be difficult if you've never shot food before. Follow these tips to get magazine-worthy shots of food.

1. Emphasize the focal point

Focusing on the front edge of the food naturally draws the viewer in. The "focal point" is normally the part of the food that looks the most appetizing, something that you would most want to eat.

2. Shoot with a wide open aperture

Opening up the aperture helps create a shallow depth of field which in turn makes the food you are shooting stand out.

3. Determine the best angle

If you are shooting something flat like a pizza or salad, shoot from over- head. If you are shooting something tall like a burger or a beverage, a side angle allows the viewer to see multiple layers.

4. Try for natural light

Food looks best when shot in natural lighting. If none is available, try to create some! One idea is to find the brightest spot in the room and then place a diffusion reflector above the food. Another idea is to use "daylight" light bulbs to mimic natural light.

5. Don't over-Photoshop

The majority of the work should be done with the camera!

6. Shoot Fresh

Obvious, but important. Food photographs best when it is still fresh. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get that perfect shot.

7. Add a Human Element (optional)

Adding a persons hand is much more appealing and real to viewers and also allows you to show scale.


1. Brighten up the Interior

Restaurants look bigger and more welcoming when the photographed area is well-lit. Light is critical, so be sure to choose your time of day wisely to optimize for natural light.

2. Shoot into Corners

By shooting into corners you are able to capture an interesting perspective that breaks up the flatness image. While minding the rule of thirds, use this tip to make spaces look bigger.


The exterior shot is simple but important. Make sure to capture the establishment including it’s sign. Be sure to avoid capturing neighboring establishments & recognizable people.

Scheduling your arrival

The best way to ensure success is to coordinate with the on-site manager to get approval for the shoot in advance.
Use these additional tips to help with scheduling:

Know Your Rights

All photos captured for Zagat will be purchased as a Royalty Free license. Meaning the photos will be used non-exclusively by the directory for commercial use without any further compensation. You can use the photos for personal promotion and use. All photos will be licensed by our Terms Of Service.