- Do the hardest parts of the gig first. Before I push that big green “Start Working” button, I make sure I have access to the menu and I am able to take my interior shots. Most restaurant gig questions can be answered standing outside of the restaurant. However, if you can’t get a copy of the menu or the restaurant is closed, you may not want to start that particular gig at the moment. Feel free to bypass a problematic gig and return to it at a better time.
- To ask or not to ask, that is the question. Whether you announce to the restaurant staff you are with Gigwalk is up to you. Most of the time I find it unnecessary and doing so will only slow you down. The only things you definitely need to do inside the restaurant are to snap your interior shots and maybe pick up the menu. If you are cool about it, you can be in and out of the gig in a flash with no questions asked. If you get a strange look from the staff, a simple “Can I take some pictures?” gets you what you need 99% of the time.
- Likewise with buying things at your gigs. You are not required to do so.
- In a pinch, you can get interior shots by standing outside the restaurant and pressing your phone against the front window. Just make sure you are getting good interior views and that your flash is turned off.
- Check out the restaurant’s official website on your iPhone while you are at the gig. You need to do so anyway to answer the URL question and while you are on their site you can sometimes copy and paste the restaurant hours and delivery info into the appropriate response fields in the app. Just make sure to verify the data at the restaurant before you upload.
- Make sure to list all credit cards by name. To make it easier on yourself, use abbreviations like MC (Master Card), Amex (American Express) and DC (Diners Club). Never write, “Accepts all major credit cards”. This will get you dinged by the gig reviewer.
Too dark for good photography. Time to call it a day!
- Finally, know when to stop Gigwalking for the day. If it’s getting really dark out or the weather is preventing you from taking great pictures, consider stopping for the day and picking up again when environmental conditions are more favorable.
- Getting great pictures of the menu is the key to successful gigs. Many restaurants will have paper take out versions of their menu which you can have for the asking. Ask for it if you don’t see them stacked by the door or outside the restaurant. With a takeout menu, you can retreat to yon local Starbucks, ATM vestibule or other quiet well-lit place to take your menu pictures at your leisure. If they only have a real menu, ask the hostess for one and head to the bar or the waiting area to peruse and photograph at your convenience.
- Be careful with laminated menus. The plastic lamination can cause reflections which will ruin your shot. Make sure to turn off your flash with these kinds of menus. If you can temporarily remove the menu from any sort of protective plastic cover, so much the better. Same goes for the menus that are posted outside of restaurants in glass cases. The glare from those things can be awful. Avoid using them as the menu you photograph for Gigwalk, but if that is your only choice the same precautions apply as with laminated menus.
Too long for one shot!
- Menu tips. Don’t be afraid to take lots of extra pictures of the menu. For long menus pages, you can break them up into multiple pictures. Make sure to label the pics so they are easy to decipher back at Gigwalk Central. Use descriptions like “Menu, page 1 of 1” “Menu page 1 of 2, top section”, etc. Don’t worry if you screw up a shot. Just take more pictures. The app lets you take as many as you need.
Try breaking up long menus with small type into multiple shots. Remember to clearly label the images.
- I find the Cafe or coffee shop gigs to be more difficult than the restaurant gigs. While I find I can zip in and out of a restaurant the cafe’s require alot of photos inside. Early on I was denied taking photos in one and had to abandon so now I always ask first. They dont typically have menus so you must get 4 good shots of their menu board which is often behind the counter and hard to get a good shot of sometime unless you lean over the counter. So, for the Cafe gigs I made a name badge to wear, intro myself, get permission and proceed. This has helped alot and most even offer me a free coffee :) They all seem to like seeing the name badge and definitely look at it closely when I say I am from gigwalk and motion towards my name badge. I found it helped save time repeating the company name and explaining who I was. Photos needed are 4 menu, 4 interior seating, 4 food items, 4 of anything interesting, 4 of exterior seating and 4 of entrance (or so;)). Anyway, alot of pics to just take un noticed. I recommend doing coffee shops mid to late morning or mid afternoon. When they are busy it’s hard to get the shots of food in the display case and the menu boards. Those are my tips :)