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Aug 2, 2012 07:05 PM

Photographing your food


Everyone's photographing their food in restaurants now. I do it to, but usually just while travelling. I know it's incredibly dorky, but is it rude or does it bother other people?

  1. It drives my family nuts.

    1. As long as a) you're not using flash b) you respect the food (i.e. don't spend so long taking pictures that hot food starts to cool or special effects dissipate) and c) you respecting the time and privacy of staff and other diners then it's nobody else's business what you are doing at the table. I like to take pictures just as a memory aid as it really helps me remember things later.

      It makes as much sense for someone to be annoyed by another customer taking pictures of their food as it does for them to be annoyed by the colour of my necktie.

      6 Replies
      1. re: bytepusher

        I completely agree with BytePusher on every point.

        And for me, mostly it's so I can remember each individual dish. Sometimes, when there's wine involved, my memory can get foggy.

        1. re: justxpete

          That is why I always request a copy of the menu, and will make notes on it, along with the wines served.

          Being a commercial photographer, prior to retirement, I have photographed food, though usually for resort ads and brochures, and not REAL "food photography." If I cannot light it properly, I do not want a quick snapshot of it.

          The menu, my memories, and my notes, are much better, than a flat, on-camera flash snapshot, by a great many levels. However, that is just me. I see so many photographs, of what are probably very enjoyable dishes, that I would never order, in a million years. They look like dreck, in my humble, though studied opinion.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            That's just because most people do not know what they're doing with a camera, and how low-light impacts their pictures - they elect to use a flash when a flash should never be used. You can take reasonably good pictures of food in low light, you just have to up the ISO and have a fairly steady hand.

            I also take pictures or samples of the menu in addition to my very subtle photographs.

        2. re: bytepusher

          I fully agree with all the above points.

          1. re: bytepusher

            totally agree.

            i think it's a control issue, if there's no flash involved, for people to mind what i'm doing to my food if it's not messy, distasteful, or loud.

            1. re: bytepusher

              Me too! It's not my thing, but as long as it's not disruptive, why should anyone care.

            2. It bothers me only if (1) you are using flash and (2) you are including me or my companions in your wider shot. Do both and we are are likely to be having an exchange of words.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                Yes, but with your British accent, Harters, that "exchange of words" would still sound very nice. At least to us Americans. Well, at least to me. :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  That's very kind, Linda. But, in truth, it wouldnt be at all nice. It's one of those things that really bugs me.

                  1. re: Harters

                    oh dear. when you finally make it out to the west coast i will have to abstain.

                    then again,i never use flash, and never put people in my shots.

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Did you do the bacon shot used in your avatar? I had no idea what it was until I looked at it a bit larger by putting the cursor to it -- thoroughly great!

                2. re: Harters

                  Is flash also a "no-no" if a shot or two are taken of your party when celebrating a special occasion? We frequently see others doing so and it doesn't bother us at all...indeed I've sent over a couple of gasses of champagne more than once when others are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, etc.

                  1. re: josephnl

                    Generally speaking (as I am a grumpy old man), the flash bothers me whatever the circumstances. I dont like my dinner to be intruded on. That said, I guess that I'm already going to be irritated by what I presume is going to be a noisy party celebrating their event, so the fact that they use flash is just going to be a minor additon to the reasons for grumpiness.

                    1. re: Harters

                      I, also, do not like being seated next to large parties. I was referring to a couple, or perhaps a foursome, celebrating an occasion. In this circumstance, I find no fault with their taking a few flash pics to remember the event.

                      1. re: Harters

                        Wow, I think that we are twin sons of different mothers!

                        I share your observations, and your feelings.


                      2. re: josephnl

                        I am not keen on that either, but that is just me. I try to avert my eyes, when I see it coming, but if one is in conversation with their dining companions, or involved in their food, it can be difficult to do.


                      3. re: Harters

                        I suppose we could all imagine strange and odd (but not likely) scenarios. My dining partners and I have never been included in the photo someone at another table was taking of the food on their plate. But it could be very different in England. People may try to take a photo of their fish and chips while attempting to also catch some people across the room.

                      4. Rude when you use a flash. Also, the shutter sound can be annoying if you're taking a lot of pictures, but not that big of a deal in a loud casual restaurant.

                        Other than the flash, I doubt people would pay attention or care what you're doing at your table.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: dave_c

                          Many digital cameras have a setting to silence the shutter sound. One of my pet peeves is people who don't do this and people who dOn't silence cell phone buttons especially when the send text messages. I don't want to hear your incessant beeping.

                          1. re: melpy

                            Yes they do, but most do not know that, and seldom turn those sounds off.


                        2. Agree with everyone - do it discreetly and quickly. Don't make a full-blown photo shoot out of it. And don't involve the waitstaff in any way.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tcamp

                            See, if I cannot make it a full-blown photo-shoot, with no patrons in the room, then I cannot imagine trying to do it. That is just me.