There are those that grind their teeth whenever someone put out their camera to take a picture of a restaurant meal, or eve their own cooking. In fact, many chefs are starting a world wide campaign to ban food photography (or food porn to some) because by the time people take all the pictures they want to take the food has cooled off. Chefs find it insulting that “guests”, who are paying them money, are not enjoying the hard work they put into having the meals savoured hot.
I mean I get it, but ultimately you want people to enjoy the entire experience, including the look of the food which is really what they are appreciating when they take pix, and after all – we do eat first with our eyes. So I have to say that some chefs need not take it personal and get off their high horse.
Having said, that there needs to be a balance when taking pix of food, and some thinking behind it. I am guilty of taking some food pictures, after all I am a foody and have enjoyed different restaurant concepts and cuisines. Really want to keep those memories with me, especially since some concepts come and go as trends change.
So here are a few of my food picture etiquette/tips if you would like to apply them:
- It’s fine to take a top view of the whole meal, but you’ll see close up views are more expressive, bring out the colour more and by default highlight the details of the food which you’ll miss with too many elements in the same image.
- Hold the camera between eye level and the table, with a small angle viewpoint.
- Don’t fill the entire picture with the dish, have some blurred out background, with a sharp forefront, to make the food “pop” more.
- Avoid flash if you can, usually mood lighting in restaurants are designed to highlight the food (I’m not talking Taco Bell, but fancy ones). Plus flash gives it a clinical feel which doesn’t really help it much.
- It’s fine to stand a little at your chair area, but to walk around the table to get every possible angle is annoying and unnecessary, be slightly discreet on how you take them.
- Avoid people’s arms and fingers in your pictures, politely ask those joining you to move their arms and hands, you don’t want to distract from the food, other plates are fine but people appendages are distracting.
- You don’t have to take a picture of every plate or every meal, be discerning, you’re not obligated to document the whole meal, only the star plates.
- Savour the meal afterwards, you want to have that memory so that whenever you look at your food pictures you remember how it felt.