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Taking pictures at fine restaurants

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I am sure we've all taken pictures at restaurants. I can't count the number of get togethers at big box restaurants like Jack Astors, and taken pictures. But I've never gotten the nerve to take a picture, especially of just the food at fine restaurants.

What sort of etiquette is involved besides not having the flash on? Do people look at you funny, or assume you're some sort of foodie?

Bokchoi, I am looking in your direction, lol.

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  1. - NO flash. ever.
    - Quick draw. pull it out, snap it, put it back, move on.
    - Don't look at your neighbors as it will just draw more attention. Same with staff.
    - This ain't a photoshoot, compose in your head, not with the camera.
    - you may need high iso. Now when I bring my 5d I never have a problem, but with my handhelds it can be very challenging.

    other than this, i've never had a problem. As long as you don't act like the paparazzi, and be discrete.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Suresh

      Ask permission from the restaurant first.

    2. I got over my fear of taking pictures in fine restaurants in Japan since the natives were constantly taking pictures of everything (and also I knew I could get away with being a clueless foreigner). Nevertheless, I agree that discretion is key.

      But I still have a lot of trouble getting good shots in restos, particularly in places that are dimly lit. How are people making this work??

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rabbit

        I don't take pictures of the food at fine dining establishments because personally I feel that it removes me from the dining experience. I feel that it creates a bit of a disconnect between me and the food. Sushi for example, is a very time sensitive cuisine as you want to consume the piece before the fish has long to oxidize or on something like Negi Toro where a specially selected Nori needs to be eaten quickly before it becomes limp - is an example of a situation where a camera may hinder your dining experience as you're spending time trying to get a nice food shot.

        With regards to fine dining in Japan, it's excusable to take pictures if you're a foreigner but there's an underlying feeling in some restaurants there that pictures are frowned upon.

        Rabbit, as far as taking pictures in dimly lit restaurants goes it depends on your camera. I assume you're using a standard point and shoot which in general is not going to give you the best shots in low light. You could set it for a long exposure on a mini tripod but that may create noise in the shadows or noise all over the photo in general. The best solution is to get a DSLR such as a Nikon D40 which is relatively small as DSLR's go and relatively cheap for the quality of camera that it is. With a DSLR you will be able to expose for low light and get a great quality shot.

      2. Always ask first to see if it's OK with the restaurant. If it's OK, be very discret, i.e. no flash and no tripods.