4. Food Photography // Restaurants vs. Instagram

Sweet Life Patissre

One of my favorite things about twitter thus far has been discovering interesting articles people tweet about. I have come across articles from advertising professors creativity by brainzooming, and even food photography 101. At heart, I am a giant foodie. So I was thrilled to discover this retweet from J school Professor Suzi Steffen on food photography.

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Lets talk about the platform on which food photography is dispersed. I would argue that food photography is mainly distributed through  instagram. Not that it isn’t done through other social media hubs such as: twitter, facebook, tumblr, and most definitely pinterest, but I find most of my friends post food photography on intstagram. Instagram is the perfect outlet because it allows “filters” and unlimited amounts of hashtags- #yummy, #foodporn, and #delicious, to easily track subjects. Unlike facebook, on Instagram you can “like” the photo without your friends seeing, and bridges the gap between high-end DSLR cameras to simplistic iPhones.  It even has created the phrase “foodstagram” and “instagood” because of the popularity.

Anyway this tweet led me to an entertaining post written by foodie Matt Duckor who explains detailed tips on how to take GOOD food photography. Mr. Duckor proves that food photography can and be done well. These basic tips can allow delicious chocolate cupcakes and tantalizing steaks to be proudly displayed on various social media sites such as Instagram for viewers to enjoy.

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However the New York Times article “Restaurants turn Camera Shy” reports how many higher-end restaurants are banning food photography forever. The chefs and restaurant owners describe that food photos are“ a disaster in terms of momentum, settling into the meal, the great conversation that develops,” he said. “It’s hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes.” (NYT) Restaurant owners argue that taking photographs while in a restaurant disturbs other guests, and disrupts the ambiance of the restaurant, and plainly produce bad photos. Foodstagraming has become so popular that wait staff has had to “reprimand” those photographers.

This seems absolutely ridiculous to me because ,frankly, its FREE advertising! People are taking these pictures not to be stored away in a photo album to show family members while sitting down on the couch to recollect memories, but to be SHARED  via social media sites, texted to friends, or posted to websites. Food photography, when done properly,  can be a productive form of free advertisement.  I understand that chefs are worried about whether or not the food looks good or how taking a photo is disrespectful to guests. Yet simply word of mouth is one of the best advertising techniques there is.

The above picture is a picture my roommate took a couple of weeks ago and then posted it to instagram.  If restaurants are so consumed with the disturbance of photography they need a solution. Here Is my creative solution to this problem. This small picture I created (foodstagraming 101)  can be printed on the back of menus and hung in store windows. This minimal amount of space will limit “disturbance” to other guests at a restaurants while allowing food photographers to conduct their photos while advertising at the same time with #’s.  Below is a mock-up for Cornbread Cafe a 1950’s vegan diner.


What do you think of the food photography instagram revolution?? Do you think my idea would be effective?


(Food Photography courtesy of Carolyn Gilchrisse)

2 thoughts on “4. Food Photography // Restaurants vs. Instagram

  1. This winter, Instagram led me to a new restaurant that my taste buds really thanked me for. I think it’s a great way for restaurants to get their name out there in a free and easy way!

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