5 Steps to Instagram-Worthy Restaurant Lighting

By Ajay Awtaney, Co-Founder of Nakashi General Trading LLC

Instagram is a powerful marketing platform for restaurant businesses and it has influenced the hospitality industry immensely. This is because most Millennials -- who make up a huge percentage of the spending population -- are known to go on Instagram to determine if a restaurant is actually worth visiting.

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, say that Instagram is a platform that has helped them find out if they are doing something right.

According to Ben Walton of Ben’s Canteen in South London, Instagram is “…a good way to check whether we’re resonating with our crowd. If people are posting lots of pictures, we know we’re doing something right.”

Showing off competitive and creative edge is vital in the industry. Being “Instagrammable,” clearly, is an effective way to do so.

Not Just About the Food

Food makes up most of the Instagram posts about restaurants, but Millennials also direct attention to the interior design of the establishment as instagrammable restaurant interiors never fails to attract SMS-savvy diners.

Interior designer, Hannah Collins even points out that instagrammable has become an important variable of restaurant interior design, and it is something that young restauranteurs and entrepreneurs bring up in briefs with her.

Restaurant Lighting is Crucial for Instagram Appeal

Clever lighting plays an important role in making restaurant interior design Instagram-worthy. This is because the right lighting can capture the true vibe of a dining establishment.

For instance, restaurants that are able to make use of a lot of natural light hold the advantage of being Instagram-ready because natural light helps yield digital images that do not need to be filtered much to look nice. Adequate natural illumination does not create a lot of shadows in pictures because the light is widely dispersed.

Thus, the digital photos of a restaurant with adequate natural light sources are almost true to form, and do not disillusion first-time visitors who initially discovered the restaurant through Instagram.

Restaurants that rely on artificial lights for interior illumination, however, require careful and strategic planning. Artificial bright lights, which are important for beautiful Instagram pictures, can actually be quite harsh in a real-life setting. These run the risk of disappointing guests who came with expectations based off of Instagram.

How to create Instagram-worthy restaurant lighting tips

How to Create Instagram-Worthy Restaurant Lighting

These are the steps to follow for Instagrammable commercial LED lighting for restaurants.

1. Let light in through windows and doors

Let natural light in because this is the best kind of illumination for taking photos, according to professional photographers. Keep those windows and doors — sources of natural light — open or unobstructed.

2. Determine the ideal placement for lighting

When it comes to overhead lights, it is best to place them way up high for better light dispersion. Also, try not to place them directly above the dining tables.

Spacing of lighting fixtures is also something to take into consideration especially when one section of the restaurant transitions into another. It is important that there is no abrupt and distinct difference in light intensity because this has the tendency to distort the look of an area.

3. Neutralize or diffuse overhead lights

Overhead lights such as chandeliers, drop lights and even recessed LED panel lights tend to create unflattering shadows. Therefore, it is important to neutralize their effect by providing reflectors or surfaces that bounce off light beautifully.

See how light disperses when directed on different colors and polishes of surfaces to identify the best way to diffuse the shadow-creating effect of overhead lighting.

4. Provide lighting that is close to the ground as well

Lighting that people do not really know where the source is, presents a lovely glow. This soft glow from a low light source makes people and the surroundings look better in pictures.

Among the best lights for under lighting are LED strip lights that can be tucked into small crevices between the floors and walls.

5. Opt for dimmable lights

Lighting principles for picture-taking are rather tricky to uphold. But to make it significantly easier, you can use dimmable lights as a solution. These just make things so much easier because you can customize light intensity to achieve the most flattering glow.


Indeed, with how Instagram influences the popularity of dining establishments, it is a must for restaurateurs to have social media sharing in mind.

So, serve your guests their desired experience by making your restaurant Instagram-ready. Make your offerings beautiful and delicious, and ensure there is great lighting for impressive “food-tography” and #yummyplace posts.

Ajay Awtaney is co-founder of Nakashi General Trading LLC, an electrical lighting company in Dubai catering to the needs of clients and projects requiring quality lighting products and solutions. Nakashi General Trading LLC today is an approved vendor of reputable organisations (Jumeirah, Engineering Office, Meraas, Musanadah and Thumbay, to name a few) for supplying lighting products.