the hankr approach: true-to-life food photography

Were excited to introduce our special guest blogger/ hankr team member, Nikki! Check out her piece on what goes on behind the scenes of a hankr shoot...

If you’re familiar with hankr’s manifesto, then you know that we are firm believers in the power of a picture. Reading a description of a menu item can definitely pique a diner’s interest, but seeing a photo of a juicy burger, a melty grilled cheese or a stack of fluffy pancakes takes that interest to the next level.

At the core of hankr is our mission to capture and share mouthwatering, true-to-life images of great food, with no artificial styling tricks.

Feeling like something spicy? Meaty? Anything comforting? Whatever your mood, the food you see in the hankr app is the food that'll come to your table.

Food Styling = Food Fraud

Casablanca chef displaying his dishes

There’s nothing worse than a meal not living up to your expectations, and our photos eliminate that risk. 

In this behind-the-scenes look at a McDonald’s photo shoot, you can see what goes into making a picture-perfect Quarter Pounder. And if you’ve eaten a Quarter Pounder, you know it’s not really worth sharing on Instagram. But, as Kottke says, “The burger at the restaurant is optimized for eating and the photo burger is optimized for looking delicious.”

Some food stylists brush vegetable oil over the food to make it glisten. Others microwave a water-soaked cotton ball and place it behind the food to give the appearance of steam. And then there are the completely styled sessions, where cardboard, soap bubbles and lard are hiding in the shot (click here for the gory details). While there is a time and a place for this type of photography, our app isn’t it.

At hankr, we aim to bridge this gap. We feel that real photos of real food make a bigger impact than a highly styled photo that leaves the diner feeling let down

No Photoshop or Filters

 hankr co-founder, John, photographing dishes

hankr co-founder, John, photographing dishes

With hankr, what you see is exactly what you get. We don’t use Photoshop to place sesame seeds on top of a bun or to make the portion size appear larger. We don’t use Instagram filters to punch up the contrast or distract the viewer from the food. We want you to see what you’ll get when you sit down at the restaurant to fulfill your craving. Any color correction or sharpening is done only to make the finished photo match what we saw with our own eyes during the shoot.

Whenever possible, we use natural lighting when we shoot the dishes. This keeps the food looking more natural and reduces shadowy areas that can hide ingredients. We work with fabulous restaurants with amazing chefs who are really dedicated to their craft. The quality of our photos is a direct reflection of the quality of the food you’ll be eating – which is the very essence of what hankr is about!


Choosy Chefs Choose hankr

 James Beard award winning chef Adam Siegel plating Le Grand Plateau Seafood Tower at  Cafe Grace

James Beard award winning chef Adam Siegel plating Le Grand Plateau Seafood Tower at Cafe Grace


We encourage each restaurant to use hankr to showcase their unique dishes, and we do make sure they're photographed in the most appealing way. We search out the dishes that help the restaurant stand out among the competition and look for items that define their approach to food. As diners ourselves, we want to see what makes them unique and find the most craveable recipes in town. This is what drives us to create the best, most true-to-life photos for hankr.

At hankr, we help chefs put their best food forward through great, true-to-life photography. Check out some of our awesome shots in the app – and find your next great meal!



Hungry for more?

Here are a few other popular stories about great Milwaukee food...check them out!

If you work for, run or own a restaurant and want to see your food alongside the above, let us know and we can come by and share a demo of hankr (we have released a bunch of new features over the last couple months...with more to come).

Milwaukee wants to see your food.