Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Mar 10, 2011 04:33 AM

Photography in restaurants [moved from Las Vegas board]

[NOTE: We've moved this digression from the Las Vegas board, at -- The Chowhound Team]

Well this is an interesting debate. I for one would welcome a ban on any and all electronic devices at restaurants, which I know will never happen. Yes cell phones are vital to our lives now and keep us connected (being a father of 3 young children I understand the importance of that). But it has gone too far. Why do people feel like they need to whip out their cell phones in restaurants to "Hey Dude" their buddy? Then there is a table of four all on their crackberrys texting away. Maybe I am showing my age (grumpy old man at the tender age of 46?) but remember when people would go out for dinners and actually have conversations? Isn't that what a night out is all about?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Completely agree with the crackberries/phones, as a wicked old hag at 42. :) HA! However, photographing amazing meals is not only fun for me, my friends and family love the photos. Many people won't get the opportunity to experience meals like this, but they do like hearing about it and seeing the photos. So I'm bummed when I can't take photos (I always, always ask first) or my photos don't come out right (too much wine, bad settings, etc). And looking at other people's photos of their meals (and the descriptions) helps me decide where we're going to enjoy our next blow-out meal. This is just totally my $.02. Komi in DC prohibits photos, as does Momofuku in NY, and I'm sure others that I am not aware of. When we go out in groups, our friends already know in advance that I'll be whipping out the big camera....though I do also ask them if they mind if I take photos as well. Anyways. Let the debate rage on! We should start a new thread!!!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Galaxy Girl

      Komi's photo policy is navigable. Ko's is not. My blog bears this out. :-)

      I've heard the debates - I see both sides - but I disagree that it is "just food" and as it is art that I am purchasing I should have the right to photograph it.

      I'm not suggesting allowing people to whip out the SLR and Tripod, and if they use flash they should be thrown out (they do this at concerts on ocassion) but a discreet non-flash photo should not be "banned."

      1. re: uhockey

        Agreed. Once you hit a certain level/price point for your food, it's more than just sustenance for your body. Personally, I take photos of food to help me remember what I ate, and to describe what I've eaten to friends.

        I also agree that electronics in restaurants have gone too far, but I think banning them is a step too far in the other direction. Without electronics, how would we get Uhockey's great reviews w/ pics? I use blogs like his all the time to determine if I think a restaurant is worth a visit. I'd be lost without them.

        For me, I try to use my own set of imposed rules to not upset any other diners.

        Cameras -
        Ask the restaurant if it's okay.
        Ask the people you're with if it's okay.
        No flash.
        Stay in your seat. No constant moving around the table to find the best camera angle.

        If you gotta text, do it fast, tell them where you are and that you're busy.
        Have to take that call? Go outside or to the restroom area.

        At that point I sort of feel if the guy across the room takes offense to me taking pictures, so be it. You can't please everyone all the time... but you can try to be as polite about your electronics as possible :-)

        1. re: jsa056

          Well said!! It's all about courtesy and respect, which it usually is, right??? Happy eating!

          1. re: jsa056

            As noted in other threads on this topic, I'm pretty anti-photos in restaurants. I suppose, however, had your list of rules been adhered to by others I have encountered, I might not feel that way.

          2. re: uhockey

            I think the "art" argument doesn't hold much water when most museums and galleries prohibit photography, too. It's still unclear to me why restaurants care about non-flash photography, and whether it's based on customer complaints or not.

            1. re: Dave Feldman


              Not in my experience.

              Less than 25% I'd imagine.


          3. re: Galaxy Girl

            Yeah 42, you probably qualify for the "blue hair special" don't ya? HA... I'm not sure where I stand on the no pictures debate. I even have done so myself for the exact same reasons you described. But I also understand the restaurants side and completely respect it. I guess what happens is if they allow pictures then people take advantage of it. Not everybody but there are those who will use flash, ask the chefs to hold a pose and so on and so forth. I know that's the minority of people but those are usually the ones who ruin it for all of us. Not to mention others trying to "copy or steal" their ideas. One of the things I have come to love is READING restaurant reviews and using my imagination. I believes that makes the actual dining experience all that much better. When was the last time you heard someone say, "The book was good but the movie was much better!)?

            1. re: LVI

              I do have too many gray hairs, so you're probably right. One blue-hair special please! I do love the reviews too, and try to imagine what it would look like, but I'm a very "visual" person, so that really adds to the experience. And blogs with pix (uhockey and ulteriorepicure)...they take such great photos (almost professional, really!)'s truly a pleasure. But you're right about the book/movie thing. Hopefully everyone has some great dining ahead this weekend!

              1. re: Galaxy Girl

                UE is at a whole different level - but thanks. :-)

                There are some pictures from e out there if you look - looks quite minibar-esque w/o the insane difficulty to get reservations.