Choosing Your Restaurant’s Primary Photo

Your Primary Photo is the first thing potential diners will see of your restaurant when looking through a list of places to eat in your area. Here are our tips on picking a great Primary Photo that will entice diners to choose your restaurant.

What Is Your Primary Photo?

Of all of the photos on your Tripadvisor page, your Primary Photo is the most important. It appears in search lists, your Tripadvisor Ads if you have them, and is the main profile photo on your restaurant’s Tripadvisor page. As potential diners scroll through Tripadvisor, your Primary Photo will be the first introduction to what it’s like to dine at your restaurant.

What Makes a Great Primary Photo for a Restaurant

Consider first and foremost your restaurant experience when looking for a subject for your Primary Photo. The photo you choose should capture exactly what your restaurant is all about. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So what does your Primary Photo say?

There are a few possible categories your Primary Photo can feature. You can choose your Primary Photo from your current diner or Management Photos, or take a new one. Consider what makes the most sense for your brand when deciding what category fits you best:

Your Cuisine

This is the most popular choice for restaurants — 55% of all Primary Photos for restaurants on Tripadvisor are of food.* It’s a natural choice since your cuisine sits at the heart of what your restaurant is all about. On average, restaurants with food as their Primary Photo see a 5.27% click-through rate from diners searching on Tripadvisor.*

When choosing to make your Primary Photo a signature dish, make sure it will make someone’s mouth water. Double check that the dishes are clean and the surrounding area of the photo is aesthetically pleasing. Next, try shooting your food from an interesting angle — from the top to mimic how someone will see it in front of them, from the side to show off interesting layers, or diagonally to create a dynamic composition. More than anything, take your photos with lots of light.

Your Restaurant Interior

Another great choice is your restaurant’s interior. This is a great way to showcase your table settings, decor, and general vibe. This gives potential diners a view into what it’s like to sit down and experience a meal at your restaurant. Interior shots convert at almost the same click-through rate from search — 5.17% on average* — if the essence of your restaurant is better shown through what it looks like on the inside, consider featuring it as your Primary Photo.

The key for interior photos? Lots and lots of light. The size of your Primary Photo in search results is pretty small, so the better lit your shot is, the better chance diners will “get” what your restaurant is all about.

Your Restaurant Exterior

Exterior restaurant shots perform the best in terms of click-through rate from search at 5.59%* Potential diners treat your Primary Photo like the online version of your storefront. As they scroll through Tripadvisor, they imagine themselves walking through your door.

When taking photos of your restaurant’s exterior, be sure to show whether or not you offer sought-after amenities like outdoor seating, parking, and accessibility. Frame your restaurant against the rest of your street with enough space around your building. That may require you to take the picture from across the street so you can fit your building into the picture. If that won’t work, focus on your doorframe, awnings, or patio — anywhere you’ve displayed your logo.

If your restaurant is on a super busy street or is difficult to take a good picture of, don’t worry. The quality of the photo and how well it captures your restaurant experience is what matters most.

For more tips on taking a great photo without fancy equipment, see our guide.

What to Avoid

When it comes to your Primary Photo, there are a few things that don’t perform well. Avoid:

  • Photos that primarily focus on people
  • Photos with added text, watermarks, or copyrights
  • Collages of several photos
  • Photos of alcohol or other drinks — these performed the worst out of every category we analyzed, with a click-through rate of only 4.76%*
  • Photos of your menu — you can include your menu in your listing by following these instructions
  • Blurry or low-resolution images

How to Choose Your Primary Photo

The good news? If you’re not sure what you want your Primary Photo to be, you can let us choose for you! The auto-select option uses advanced technology to analyze the quality and attractiveness of photos to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. Best of all, your Primary Photo will automatically update if a better one becomes available.

If you do want to choose your own, you still have that option. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to the Management Center. If you haven’t yet claimed your listing, it’s free and easy to do so here.
  2. Under the “Manage Listing” dropdown, choose “Photos.”
  3. Click “Primary Photo” on the right hand side.
  4. Select the “Manual” button on the right hand side and choose from your existing photos or upload a new one. Be sure to choose a high-resolution photo in landscape orientation — wider than it is tall — that’s at least 1200 pixels wide by 628 pixels tall.

You should see your new Primary Photo within 3-5 business days.

Log in to edit your Primary Photo

Source: Tripadvisor 2019 Primary Photo Study. Methodology: Using machine learning techniques to classify photos into categories, we then analyzed click-through rate performance of each category relative to one another.

Log in to edit your Primary Photo

Last Updated: December 6, 2017
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