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Why do people find it so strange to take photos of your food?

I've wondered this for some time now.

I often see people saying things on social media like "Please don't blow up my news feed with pictures of your food." I've seen jokes made about it on dating sites. In newspaper and magazine articles.

I totally understand not wanting to be in a nice restaurant with flashes going off and ruining the ambiance.

But what's so off-putting or bizarre about wanting to memorialize memorable meals?

Tonight for my boyfriend's birthday, I took a photo of the spread before everyone dug in. It was a casual home cooked meal amongst friends. My boyfriend gets it, and he'll often take a photo of the dinners/desserts I serve him. But our friends took pause and looked at me with this almost startled expression, as in "Why are you doing that?"

Anyone?

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  1. <But what's so off-putting or bizarre about wanting to memorialize memorable meals?>

    Funny you said that because there were studies done which demonstrated that photo-taking ruins memory: "photo-taking-impairment effect"

    You remember less when you take a photo of an object

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/sc...

    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/i...

    Better yet, here is a NPR audio interview:

    http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/3146070...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Good stuff, Ck. I am fascinated with the notion and feel like I've seen it play out over the years, but much more lately. The whole thing makes me think of the idiots who go to concerts and spend the entire show watching their cellphone screens (there's a word for it, but it escapes me at present). Used to be only a couple of 'em, but lately, if you look from the back of the arena, the number of lit screens held aloft looks like a field of digital dandelions.

      As to people taking photos of their food, I am at a point where I approach it like people taking pics of their kids. Go for it, if you must, but don't ask me to look at more than one and keep any explanation to less than a dozen words.

      Personally, I prefer recollections shared with the poetry of a well-crafted yarn, gently gilded with each retelling. I've got a hunch that the tale of Beowolf is much more enjoyable than his head shot.

    2. I think you answered why it is (to me anyway), 'home cooked meal'. I can understand why and have taken pictures of many christmas and birthday dinners etc where you want to remember the love that a friend or family member put into a meal. A restaurant...I don't get other then if you want to remember the presentation to copy. I can see if there is a person in the picture or something unique about the meal but it just seems over done. or Maybe I need to have more spectacular dinners out.

      1. I don't think it's a problem with wanting to memorialise the dish; I think it's more the act of then putting the photo on social media. If I was at your boyfriend's birthday meal, it wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest that you took photos (and it's really none of my business if you want to do that), but if I saw photos of your boyfriend's birthday meal on my FB timeline, I'd inwardly sigh -- partly because food photos being shown to people who weren't at the meal are the equivalent of the YouTube "Ultimate Dog Tease" video, but mainly because unless you're a professional food photographer, even a gourmet dish often ends up looking like roadkill...

        1. Because most peoples' photos of their food make it look like a pile of crap. Very unappetizing. Also, to me at least, it's a form of bragging and that turns me off.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ttoommyy

            Really? I would think that if you are interested in food, as everyone here is, you would love it. (You in general, not singling out ttoommyy).

            I love looking at recipes with pictures or pictures of someone's meal. My family has always taken pictures of food. We take pictures of every cake for every occasion and food at holidays.

            There is a thread on the Disboards solely for the purpose of Dining trip reports. Not attractions, just food. Pictures and all. Very popular.

            1. re: Jerseygirl111

              I am genuinely into food. I am on CH all the time. I talk about food constantly with my husband.

              I just attended one of the finest dinner parties I have ever been to this weekend at a friend's place. I didn't take one picture (though others did). I just am not into pictures of food. Whenever their is a restaurant report on CH that interests me, I never look at the pictures. They do nothing for me.

              Recipes with pictures? That's a different story. Those are instructional and I look for those.

              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                I don't think your post really addressed his concern of most peoples food looking like crap.

                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                    True. I also chose not to address the bragging comment. I was just addressing the general sentiment of the thread and pointed out I was not singling out ttoommyy.

                    Thanks for reading!

              2. Its because its moved beyond memorializing memorable meals to memorializing the mundane and banal. If the most banal of meals is worth posting on every social network site, why bother memorializing anything? If everything is memorable, then nothing truly is. Put your camera down, eat your meal, talk to your friends, enjoy yourself. Create the memorable experience. Not pictures of food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bkeats

                  I can take my camera out, snap a pic and put it away in about ten seconds. Doesn't distract from the meal.

                2. I love food pics, though sometimes I see pics of people's home cooked burnt weird looking stuff and I feel embarrassed for them that they shared. But good looking stuff, yum! I love looking at food pics on Pinterest, too. I do take food pics sometimes, too. Especially of stuff I have cooked or of favorite meals. I don't always post what I snap, though.

                  People are too pedantic about what they see in their various social media feeds. If someone posts something I am not interested in, I just scroll on down. But I don't think it is weird or rude to take pics of one's food.

                  Hahaha once I posted a pic on Facebook of home made matzo eggs and some friend (who frequently posts food pics himself, not always beauties) commented that it looked like vomit.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Oof. I wonder why people post pictures of their dirty stoves. If I am showing off my food, I try to ensure the table or stove is neat looking.

                    That said, my husband posts his food at least once a week, (I'm not on FB). His group loves it, well he gets many likes anyway.

                  2. I occasionally post photos of food here - because, well. we are discussing food and in the what's for dinner tread everyday food- they are not the best photos because I just use my cellphone - no time for staging and lighting and a tripod or whatever its just dinner but I don't post them on my facebook - maybe I would post something epic and social like a big cookout or something but everyday food seems silly on facebook - if someone makes something really cool - then its of interest.

                    but most people probably thing its weird because - well, it sort of is - I mean here at CH I have to figure we are all just a big obsessive and preoccupied about food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JTPhilly

                      I don't think it's any different from anything else. Kids' concerts, cat videos, political comments, sports. It shows what you are interested in, and presumably your "friends" share some common interests with you, otherwise it seems unlikely they would be your friends.

                      I'm intensely interested in food, growing, preparing, consuming. I say keep the pics coming!

                    2. heh, I was feeling all righteous and thinking 'I don't do that', until I remembered that I posted a pic of my latest sourdough loaf on FB yesterday. In it's defense, it's a beautiful loaf with a shiny crackly crust, and even my wobbly cell phone pic of it looks good.
                      For the most part, I don't like it when people do it. Food isn't always photogenic (hence the food stagers).

                      1. If the fact that you ate lunch today is the most newsworthy thing in your life, well, go ahead and share it with everyone who has friended you on FB. 99% of us don't care, however, and will scroll right through it.

                        But like anything else that is taken to excess, photographing everything you ate is just one more passing obsession, enabled by the cameraphones we all have in our pockets.

                        When I go to special events where food is the focus, it just cracks me up that everyone.... EVERYONE ... pulls out the phones as soon as the first dish is laid down. If I have a dish that is different from the photographer next to me, I have to wait until THEY have taken a picture of MY food before I can dig in. Again, I can let this go.

                        But I have one friend who hauls around a big, honking Nikon with a flash. No matter how dark or intimate the restaurant, EVERY plate gets a shot, disruptive flash included, because she fancies herself a "food blogger", Her "blog" is FB. She likes to mention this when she makes reservations (presuming that this will somehow garner her a few comp items, or special treatment somehow - she also thinks hauling out that conspicuous camera will make "them" realize she is important). She is traveling in a foreign country at the moment, and I wonder how the locals perceive this behavior .....

                        7 Replies
                          1. re: monavano

                            If I ever showed up to dinner and somebody in my party brought a big DSLR I'd probably, apologize in advance to the waitstaff, leave them a $20, and get out of there as fast as possible.

                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                              I was food blogging for a while, and attended a farm to table dinner at a wonderful restaurant in my neck of the woods.
                              I called ahead and spoke with the manager, asking if it would be OK to photograph the courses and it was fine.
                              But, the dinner was of course at night, and the room was dimly lit (in a nice ambience kind of way) and no way in hell could I get good photos without flash.
                              That, and I'd just got the camera, and didn't know how to manually set it to maximize exposure.

                              The camera sat, unused, by my side the entire meal.
                              Sort of a bummer, but I was not going to disrupt and entire room of wonderful, supportive (of a particular farmer for whom this benefitted) and paying customers.

                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                  Pure class, for sure.

                                  It's fascinating, to me anyway, that a kind and thoughtful gesture of not wanting to intrude on another's space is now considered something out of the ordinary.
                                  I've sat next to imbeciles who've thought they were on the only people on the planet, DLSR's in hand with flashes glowing, and were oblivious to how my experience was being damaged by their rudeness and disrespect.

                            2. re: monavano

                              Mona, she has worn out her welcome with most of our mutual friends. She's also highly critical of the food, the ambiance, and anything else she can find to complain about. You can imagine how she treats waitstaff.

                              1. re: Cheflambo

                                Oh, gosh, I'd be absolutely mortified about the waitstaff treatment.
                                I could not abide by that without leaving copious tips while copiously apologizing.

                          2. When we are presented with an interesting meal, especially at a restaurant new to us, Mrs. O often goes into Art Director Mode (she is one) and has to set up a shot or three, always with her iPhone and never with a flash, at least not nowadays. She doesn't make a big show of it, not even getting up unless it's necessary, and is done within a few minutes. The "destination" restaurants are used to it, the down-home places bemused by it, and nobody objects to it.

                            1. It's gauche.
                              But don't let that stop you, seriously. I can't really think of how it interferes with my enjoyment of a meal if other diners are taking pictures. So in that regard, you should do what you enjoy even if that includes taking pictures of your food. Though you should be aware many people find it gauche. I liken taking pictures in a restaurant to showing up at a really nice restaurant and wearing a ripped t-shirt and board shorts because they don't have an explicit dress code. It doesn't ruin my meal, but you look like a complete stooge. Now people using a flash is another story, if I were eating in a nice restaurant and somebody was using a flash I'd tell them to stop, and not in a nice way.

                              Taking pictures solely to show people on social media is ridiculous. Taking a picture for self reference, sure ok, I can accept that, but taking a picture and immediately spamming it all over your social media accounts is just nauseating. It's disgusting that people think they need to share all their experiences (even if they are in no way unique) in order for them to "count" or be validated by other people. In reality you're just bragging, and nobody gives two shits that you had pasta carbonara at wherever you had it because your picture looks like garbage anyway.

                              For what it's worth I don't think people should ever be using a cell phone during a meal with other people (unless you really do have urgent business), but this is from the point of being their dining companion, not just another person at the same restaurant. You can't wait to text somebody or check a facebook post? Get real. For super casual places, whatever, no big deal, but seeing people spending hundreds of dollars on a great meal to have their faces buried in their phones the entire time is disgusting.

                              I've never had any social media, and probably never will. The only reason I take pictures of food I make at home is for my own reference later, and there are generally some notes to go along with it.

                              27 Replies
                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                Taking pictures at the table just slows thing down. Order, wait for the food...Ahhh Haaa! The food has arrived and I am really ready to eat. I have been thinking
                                about this plate for hours, even before we arrived.
                                But WAIT! " I what to take some pictures" she said.
                                " Screw that, I'm eating" I tell my wife, "remind me to never invite her again" Breaking bread with friends is important, not supporting a person's hobby.

                                1. re: genoO

                                  Every course = ten seconds max. How fast can you pick up your fork? :)

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Taking photos of food is a hobby that sometimes is forced upon innocent people.
                                    I treat food porn like most internet news sources. I ignore the video and go straight to the text. Photos can be and are air brushed, photo shopped and just do not necessarily portray the actual subject.
                                    At least using the written word you can express emotions, environment , smells and sounds. Photos of food that have been plated to be photographed are just that.

                                      1. re: genoO

                                        On the other hand, it is said a picture is worth a thousand words.

                                        Oops great minds think alike!

                                  2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                    "Taking a picture for self reference, sure ok, I can accept that, but taking a picture and immediately spamming it all over your social media accounts is just nauseating. It's disgusting that people think they need to share all their experiences (even if they are in no way unique) in order for them to "count" or be validated by other people. In reality you're just bragging, and nobody gives two shits that you had pasta carbonara at wherever you had it because your picture looks like garbage anyway."

                                    Wow. This seems oddly harsh. How is posting a picture of food different than posting a picture of anything else on FB? People aren't necessarily looking for validation; they are sharing. They aren't necessarily bragging (rarely are bragging, in my opinion, among my friends who post food pics and "statuses"). They are...sharing. And often conversations get started. About food. Kind of like...here.

                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      <They aren't necessarily bragging>

                                      I would say many people are using photography as a way of bragging/showing off in general. Of course, there is a very fussy line between "sharing" and "showing off". Many of these photos are shade of sharing and shade of showing off.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I agree. I'm not on FB or any other similar social media for just this reason. I think posting pictures of ones life every 10 minutes is very self indulgent. I don't do it and I am not interested in others pictures either.

                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          It is pure narcissism.
                                          Also I value my privacy, I don't want people to be able to just click on stuff to find out all about me and what I've been up to. If they matter, chances are I'll see them in person and we can catch up. I'm probably one of the few people in their early 20's who have never had any form of social media. I value quality > quantity in terms of relationships.

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            But who posts every 10 minutes?

                                            I'm curious...do you ever look at friends' pictures of life off of FB? Ever sit around the living room or on the porch and share pictures of life? If so, how is that different?

                                            I have a range of connections online-superficial to intimate, just as I do offline. And I absolutely completely thoroughly enjoyed seeing a friend sharing through pictures of his tamale making day this past weekend.

                                            1. re: debbiel

                                              because its about editing - that sounds interesting and special - I love to see the christmas cookies of an Italian-American woman I went to grade school with posted on face-book - because they are magnificent, remind me of our shared heritage and make me jealous that nobody in my family actually makes a cookie like that - there is an art to something like that and it's sharing something special. Some people don't edit though and just share everything, I dont mind sharing a pic of an every day pork-chop dinner here, on a thread talking about food, but i dont need to share it with everyone I ever knew - when i finally got a beautiful sourdough loaf I did FB it - and I was bragging a bit i was proud of it and I dont feel bad about that.

                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                Oh believe me, I know people who post to Instagram all day. 10 minutes was an exaggeration, but every few hours is not.
                                                Yes, of course I look at photos with family and friends offline, so to speak. But the context is very different. It's usually after a vacation or some such event and I am actually sitting with these people and engaging in conversation. Not pictures of what they ate for lunch, a hot guy they just met, a great pair of shoes at Macy's, a random selfie, etc. ad nauseum.

                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                  Exactly how I was going to answer. Ad nauseum sums it up. I actually do have friends who go through phases where they post every ten minutes. There's one who seems to be a night owl and as I scroll through fb it seems she has posted 2 or 3 things per hour, throughout 5-6 hours of the night before. Not food photos, but inspirational quotes and funny videos and photos of her kids. Eventually you tune it out and/or unfriend or hide the person because it's just excessive. Whether it's done out of need for validation or just boredom is of no interest to me. Excessive food photos are just another form of overkill. When a friend or co-worker brings special photos from a special event, it's nice to share. Imagine if they came to your desk every day with a dozen photos of the food they'd eaten the day before...or the clothes they wore, or their kids doing random and unremarkable things. It's just tiresome after a while.

                                                  1. re: 16crab

                                                    "When a friend or co-worker brings special photos from a special event, it's nice to share. Imagine if they came to your desk every day with a dozen photos of the food they'd eaten the day before...or the clothes they wore, or their kids doing random and unremarkable things. It's just tiresome after a while."

                                                    Exactly!

                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      Your response makes me feel so validated! ;)

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                        I agree completely, so long as by "a while", you mean six seconds.

                                                    2. re: ttoommyy

                                                      But most people do not. I prefer to not use "worst case scenarios" to argue a point.

                                                      In my typical, not atypically bad, experiences on FB, friends who post food pics do so out of sharing, not bragging. They are not professional chefs nor photographers, nor do they think they are. Sometimes the pictures will lead to conversation, sometimes they will not. Are there people who are horribly annoying with what/how often they post? Yes (don't get me started on my colleague with a selfie addiction). Is that my experience with most? No.

                                                      So FB friends of mine, having a meal that makes you smile? reminds you of how much you appreciate your local food community? marks your trying something new? brings back a memory? is a funny flop? Feel free to post it. I won't assume you're a narcissist or a braggart or unable to connect with the "real world" because you posted a picture of french toast.

                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                        "Feel free to post it. I won't assume you're a narcissist or a braggart or unable to connect with the "real world" because you posted a picture of french toast."

                                                        Of course this whole topic is subjective and all of us have our own individual feelings. There is no right or wrong. I, for one, have not one iota of interest in seeing anyone's French toast and would laugh my friends into next week if one of them ever sent me a text or e-mail of their French toast (I'm not on FB). Different strokes...

                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  I RARELY (maybe even never) post food pix on FB. But am I "bragging" if I post a pic of my grandchild?

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    <But am I "bragging" if I post a pic of my grandchild?>

                                                    I cannot say exactly what will go on in your mind.

                                                    However, I think most people who take a photo/video of a child and take it out to show it to another person: the intention is to get a positive confirmation -- showing off. Nothing wrong with showing off, especially a mother of a newborn. Why shouldn't she? The important point is that taking photos does not help remembering.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      I mis-wrote :) Will OTHERS think I'm "bragging"? (What am I bragging about btw?)

                                                      When I post a grandchild pic it's to share our joy. When I post a pic of food, it's different. If it's Home Cooking, it's to let folks know how the dish looks. In a restaurant it's the same.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I am not trying to define "showing" vs "showing off". I don't even think it is a bad thing to show off. Why shouldn't a mom be showing off her photos of her newborn?

                                                        What my original intent is to say that taking photos or taking video of an object/event makes you remember less. When you see a person who takes out an iPad to video tape the museum visit (which I have seen), he/she will likely remember less because it. A person actually absorb and process more when the camera or videotape record is put away. Now, if you want to share that experience, it is another thing. I was just saying that there is a "photo-taking-impairment effect"

                                                        Here is a short quote from George Clooney as well:

                                                        "GEORGE CLOONEY: We've lost our sense of actually experiencing things. We're just constantly recording things.

                                                        CORNISH: That's the actor George Clooney. Two years ago he told my co-host Robert Siegel why camera phones have made it even harder for him to connect with fans.

                                                        CLOONEY: You'll reach out to shake out their hand and they've got a camera in their hand. And they don't even get their hand out because they're recording the whole time. And you can tell people that you've recorded Brad Pitt but it'd be very hard for you to say you actually met him because you were watching it all through your phone. I think that's too bad because I think people are experiencing less and recording more. "

                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                      Posting a pic or two of a grandchild is of course fine. Posting 10 of the kid eating his first (whatever) with food all over his face and hands, with captions of how "cute" he is, not so cool. And then more the next day, and the next day, etc. etc. You get the "picture." ;)
                                                      My point is that with the advent of digital cameras and social media, people who tend to brag and boast are encouraged and given the tools to do this to excess. There's a line that is all to often crossed these days.

                                                  2. re: debbiel

                                                    I'm not quite as passionate on the issue as EatFoodGetMoney, but I think they are right. It's one thing to take a picture of a memorable meal, and quite another to photograph your dinner, crop out all the people around it, and filter it to perfection before sharing with your Instagram friends. You are literally cutting out humanity to display an airbrushed version of a consumer product. Serially posting snapshots of your edited life cheapens reality and your sharing becomes less about memories and more about commodities that you can show to your friends, which, if you think about it, is sorta showing off. I don't ascribe any negative intent to people who eagerly use social media to share pictures of their dinners and babies, but some Millennials "share" in a way not very different from people who in a previous era felt the need to "share" slideshows of family vacations to any would-be visitor. It's kind of showing off, even if they don't know it.

                                                    Narcissistic is a little more harsh a description, but I do know people who will ask their fellow diners to refrain from eating until they've gotten the right shot. And I have had to ask photographers to leave my small galley kitchen when I am cooking because action closeups of my hands or machinery whirling is extremely intrusive, not to mention kind of weird if you are not a food media professional. At the very least, the professional would not be so selfish as to papparazzi the making of their dinner in so tiny a space.

                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                      "less about memories and more about commodities that you can show to your friends"

                                                      Perfectly said.

                                                  3. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                    Gauche for one reason but not for another? Not sure I get that one, buddy.

                                                  4. I think if you're a food blogger, where people actively tune in or get your feed, it's great to snap a quick pic with no flash.
                                                    If you're quick and discrete.

                                                    But, if you start to style your food, get multiple angles and arrange a "bite' photo just so, then it's disruptive and you become a spectacle and embarrass yourself.

                                                    And, btw, if your doing this, don't expect me to wait to dig in!

                                                    Smart phone cameras can be amazing nowadays, so amateur food photos are getting really good.

                                                    Also, I think people appreciate photos on Yelp and such.

                                                    It can be enticing.

                                                    1. The other day in a dim sum recipe I used someones pictures to identify what I wanted. I even showed a picture to one of the cart ladies and said "I want this!".

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                        That's a great idea if there's a communication barrier!

                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                          That was supposed to say dim sum RESTAURANT, but now that I think about it, even better with ingredients at the market.

                                                          At the restaurant ( Yank Sing in SF ), I was looking at the pictures and trying to match them with the cart. Sometimes I could, but then I decided I should go gauche, and get what I wanted.

                                                          Here is the article

                                                          http://sffood.net/yank-sing-san-franc...

                                                          and my picture! (tee hee)

                                                           
                                                        2. I take pictures of a particularly nice dish or interesting cake or holiday meal but it's not that frequent. Maybe once a month or so. And never in a restaurant. I'd say a food shot makes it to Facebook a couple times a year. My friends aren't posting tons of food pics so I'm interested to see the ones they do post. It can start a neat discussion.

                                                          1. I think people don't necessarily want to see a stream of photographs of food without choosing to do so. That's why I throw photographs of the stuff I cook - and accompanying reflections/commentary/recipes/things to remember - up on a WordPress blog that I shared a couple of times on Facebook. If people are really interested they'll go there, and the everyone else can keep on undisturbed.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                              DING DING DING!!
                                                              You sir, are doing it correctly.

                                                            2. Sorry, I didn't read all of the replies, so forgive me if this has already been said…

                                                              Most people are super annoying when they take pics of food. Not all, but most. I've been at restaurants/dinner parties where the host/hostess is taking pics of the food, while it's getting cold and everyone is waiting around for them to take pics so they can eat. That sucks!! However, I have "liked" many an Instagram photo of food, prob because I wasn't there, waiting to eat, while they took a photo. But on the other hand, I have not "liked" plenty of food photos because, honestly, it really didn't look good. A lot of people think they are amazing chefs/food stylists/photographers, and they aren't. They just aren't.

                                                              1. Wow, thanks for all the responses. Sounds like people are torn on this one.

                                                                It sounds like there are a few different types of food photos anyway, which I hadn't taken into consideration. I can see some of these being more annoying/obtrusive than others.

                                                                I personally love seeing photos of peoples' food. With the exception of utterly unappetizing looking dishes, and multiple photos of the same dish.

                                                                To me, the quantity, frequency, and quality of photos plays a part in how I feel. First off, I'm not super into social media, but I do have an Instagram and a Facebook account which I mostly use to keep in contact with old friends and colleagues, and I will browse the news feed only when bored.

                                                                I have an old coworker who is always traveling across Europe and his career allows for very expensive solo meals. He posts a photo of his dinner at least 5 nights a week. Typically they are sly cell phone pics in upscale and dimly lit restaurants. Don't look great, but it doesn't bother me. Often, if not for a description, I'd have zero idea what I was looking at. I just scroll by them.

                                                                I have another friend I grew up with who just loves food and cooks a lot for herself and the fiancé. She posts her dinners several nights a week. Sometimes they are the most unappetizing photos ever but most of the photos look great. They are not staged or specially lit, but I can tell she just loves food and is proud of what she made. I don't take it as bragging, but can tell her smoked pulled pork took her hours to make and she is proud of the meal she cooked that night.

                                                                I've only ever shared one photo of a meal I made, and it was of multiple homemade pizzas for a party. They were gorgeously topped and the crusts were bubbly and black. I couldn't resist sharing a photo.

                                                                I do post photos of things I bake, partially as a form of self advertisement. It's yielded me more requests for birthday and special occasion cakes, party desserts, etc. than I can count. I will probably post such photos twice a month and I always get emails or comments from people requesting something similar for upcoming events.

                                                                I agree with whoever said if you don't like the photos, just scroll past them. I do that when I see the umpteenth selfie or baby photo, and I'd do it with food photos too. That's the part I don't understand about people getting annoyed with food photos on social media. If you don't like the content of someone's news feed, you can very easily block, hide, or unfriend them. Nobody is forcing you to look at their photos.

                                                                Lastly, I think we can all see the difference between looking at something like poor Martha's Twitter food pics: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell... and someone like Kenji Lopez Alt from Serious Eats: http://instagram.com/kenjilopezalt#

                                                                I follow Kenji on Instagram and love seeing his beautiful photos.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  So THAT'S what instagram looks like! LOVE the skewer idea!

                                                                2. I'll say that before all the social media my FIL took pictures of every holiday meal. Do you think we'll ever look at those pictures again? On the other hand, I like a picture or two on Facebook when people are on vacation or special occasion.

                                                                  1. Reading through this thread I think people must HATE me. I post pictures of my kid eating food on fb. Man I must suck. *note, this is known as the humble brag, when you post something you are proud of but make it sound terrible.

                                                                    1. love seeing what others make-failures-perfection-somewhere in between.
                                                                      a meal out or your concoction doesn't matter...love seeing it

                                                                       
                                                                      1. These kind of posts make me thankful that the majority of my dining companions are entertaining and enjoyable enough that I am rarely aware of what the other tables are doing.

                                                                        1. I'm going to have food pix made into ceramic tiles and do a backsplash in the kitchen!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Make sure they're taken with 1 megapixel cell phones.

                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                              I usually use my camera. Why would the cell phone be better please?

                                                                          2. Attached are two pix of last night's dinner. Don't they tell you more than if I said that we had pork burgers with grilled onions and mushrooms, avocados and tomato? :) The ultimate "stacked" food!

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Uh, there's an arm growing out of your hamburger ;-)

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  "Excuse me, waiter? There's something in my food..."

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                OK, here goes. You posted, I reply.
                                                                                This does not look appetizing at all. I am sure it was delicious in person, but that picture does not make me hungry in the least. Food is a funny thing to take a picture of; if you cannot realistically capture what it looks like, it just looks bad. Sorry, I do not mean to hurt your feelings at all. But you posted the picture to prove your point and I am using your picture to prove mine. It's all good though. :)

                                                                                Edit: I speak from personal experience. I posted a picture of focaccia that I had recently made on the Home Cooking board and when I went back to look at the thread I though to myself, "Why the hell did you post that picture? It looks awful!"

                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                  And I think the pix are hilariously scrumptious looking!!! To each his/her own :)

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    "hilariously scrumptious"

                                                                                    ???

                                                                                    And yes, I agree, to each his own. I am only commenting for myself when I have posted replies in this thread.

                                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                    I agree with your point in general- food styling is quite nuanced.

                                                                                    My question is- did you have to unhinge your jaw to eat that monolith?!

                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                      "Smushed" it down and nibbled around the edges to start. Considering it was only a 4oz. patty, we had quite enough to eat :)

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Good strategy!
                                                                                        I attack from an angle and around the sides.

                                                                                  3. re: c oliver

                                                                                    <Don't they tell you more than if I said that we had pork burgers with grilled onions and mushrooms, avocados and tomato? >

                                                                                    Of course it does. I cannot speak for others, but I never said that photos (or videos) are not great for communicating/showing. In fact, I said that. Taking photos do not help me remember things. It help me to show things.

                                                                                    Some of my most memorable meals were the ones which I never took photos of. Now, I cannot show you want they look like, but I remember them very well.

                                                                                    I just don't buy the idea of "I need to take a photo of this food before eating so that I can remember". Same thing about the George Clooney's comment. If a person cares about George Clooney, he/she will remember meeting him with or without taking the photo. Photo taking in that case simply serves as method to show others that you have met George Clooney, but like George Clooney said. If you take photos the whole time, then you didn't really "meet" that person.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      I agree with the George Clooney thing. I have been asked to film events before and frankly was annoyed because I HATE having to watch things through a camera/cell phone/camcorder. You really do miss out on the experience.

                                                                                      But that is much different than snapping one or two photos of a meal and then putting your camera down. You aren't eating through a camera lens the whole time.

                                                                                      As for "remembering" your meal, I think it's less about literally remembering what I ate and more about the food porn aspect. I can only speak for myself, but I actually do enjoy going back through some of my food photos from time to time. Whether to get inspiration for dinner, or to attach a photo with a recipe someone asks me to email them. I have a file in my photos on my computer with dishes I've made, and another with my baked goods which I surprisingly "need" to use often.

                                                                                      As to photos of food looking unappetizing, is there anyone here who thinks professional food photos look unappetizing? Like those in magazines (Bon Appetit, Saveur, Martha Stewart)? Or is it just home/cell phone pics with bad lighting/styling? I'm just curious.

                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                        If food in magazines look unappetizing, the food stylist needs to be fired!

                                                                                        What I find unappetizing is overwrought "tablescapes". I looked at one recently that made me laugh- a picnic presentation featured a table with a live sphagnum moss runner.
                                                                                        Yeah, I'll get right on that one.

                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                          < You aren't eating through a camera lens the whole time. >

                                                                                          You are right.

                                                                                          < I think it's less about literally remembering what I ate and more about the food porn aspect. I can only speak for myself, but I actually do enjoy going back through some of my food photos from time to time. >

                                                                                          You have a point. I don't think most people are as insightful as you though, or at the very least not as self-critical as yourself.

                                                                                          I also took photos of my foods and other things, but the more I think about the NPR and the research, the more I think they are correct.

                                                                                          Some people truly believe that it is important take photos or videos of everything or else they will miss out the moment. What they don't realize is that they are more likely to miss out by taking massive amount of photos. Ironic, isn't?

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            Agreed. But there's a big leap from one photo to "massive amount of photos."

                                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                                        That looks delicious. Also, this is definitely the appropriate place to share this. We all love food around here, so no complaints.
                                                                                        You mix anything in with the pork for your burgers or just the pork?

                                                                                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                          Just ground pork shoulder.

                                                                                          I can't remember if I've EVER posted a photo on FB. Unlikely. Different audience.

                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I think it looks delicious! But even if it did not, I would still be interested and happy to see the picture.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            seriously, I will bet it tasted great. BUT, if this photo was shown on a restaurant menu I would have ordered something else.

                                                                                          2. I took a photo of a food truck meal of pap and fried chicken in South Africa, and the two people sitting across from me were agitated and confused as to why. One man said something to the effect of "it's just food," and the other agreed.

                                                                                            I can't recall my response, but I do remember that it was a good meal.

                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                              "It's just food."

                                                                                              THIS. This is the mentality that I have heard most often from friends and acquaintances about why they are so bothered by food pics on social media. Because it's "just food" and we all interact with it multiple times per day... like it's not special enough to want to look at any more than necessary.

                                                                                              This is what baffles me. Why not look at food as much as at sports or tabloids or cats or whatever it is that people spend their free time looking at? Then again, I guess that's why I'm signed up on a site like Chow...

                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                For me, food is to be eaten, savored and enjoyed. My memory of food is much more important than a picture of it. I just do not get staring at a photo of it.

                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                  I wish I could give you 1000 recommends.

                                                                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                  " "It's just food."

                                                                                                  THIS. This is the mentality that I have heard most often from friends and acquaintances about why they are so bothered by food pics on social media. "

                                                                                                  Why not have a little fun with them. Some of them are probably sports fans. When they go on and on about their favorite team remind them that it's just a game.

                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                    I actually am a bit frightened by any sports fan who objects to "it's just a game." And I'm a guy who paid for college by playing those games.

                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                      Lol, excellent observation. Those people are in fact the same ones who post nonstop about baseball, hockey, football, basketball, boxing. Like during a game/match, they will literally post updates to their Facebook feed every couple minutes. "GOOOOAL!!!" "Martinez saves the day!" "Knocked out!" It is super irritating because all 20+ updates will blow up my feed and I figure if anyone cares, they'd be watching it too.

                                                                                                      And if you want to make commentary on it, why not watch the game with someone else who cares instead of sending it to your acquaintances on Facebook?? Seems really odd.

                                                                                                      I just scroll past it all, but maybe now I will fire back. One occasional photo of food can't be nearly as annoying as what they do, though I've never thought about it that way.

                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                        "And if you want to make commentary on it, why not watch the game with someone else who cares . . . ?"

                                                                                                        I believe that is #3 on the list of reasons why god invented bars.*

                                                                                                        I knew a guy who used to tweet photos of his television screen freeze-framed on big plays in football games, "Did u c that???" Uggh. I gotta admit, I feel the same way when I see a "Here's tonights dinner" with snap attached.

                                                                                                        *It used to be Number #4, but changes to the laws in most places knocked "chain-smoking" pretty much off the list entirely.

                                                                                                3. It is not the pix. It is I'm sitting in a restaurant trying to enjoy a meal with my husband that I have paid good money for and other people are treating the occasion like a day at the amusement park. Rather than jumping around taking pix. I would like people to treat the dining room as a place where people gather to talk and eat. Guess that is considered old fashioned.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                    "It is I'm sitting in a restaurant trying to enjoy a meal with my husband that I have paid good money for and other people are treating the occasion like a day at the amusement park."

                                                                                                    You mean celebrating and having fun? Gasp!

                                                                                                  2. I love the artistry of a beautiful plate of food. I am happy to be there and i want to share it. Before we all dig in and ruin it. I am not a foodspotter exactly,but when some amazing sushi roll comes out i cant help it

                                                                                                    1. I sometimes take pictures of food when I travel. The food, a local beer, my guidebook, the table, a bit of the background if I can get it in. When I look at them later it takes me right back.

                                                                                                      1. I will occasionally take photos of food, mostly BBQ, but it does not bother anybody because I don't post the photos, not even here.

                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                          By according to many on this site the mere fact that you are taking the photos is bothersome. It doesn't matter if it for a special memory or your twitter feed.

                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                            I am only taking the photos at home, nobody knows about them except for the members of my family. I put them in my photo folder of my laptop. The screensaver is random photos. My eldest brother was over and he was watching the 'slideshow', saw a photo of BBQ ribs on the smoker and he said "so you take pictures of food too." Apparently our middle brother takes photos of his BBQ as well.

                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                              I think it's the people who stand on their chairs and take multiple flash photos of every course who are annoying.

                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                I worked somewhere once where this did actually happen. Tiny girl, giant slr. She wasn't standing on a chair, but she was getting in and out of the booth. It wasn't busy so we didn't say anything, in fact we thought it was fairly considerate that she came at 230 on a Tuesday. That was until she took seven minutes cutting up her food to get a perfect "bite shot" then spent a few minutes trying to balance holding a fork and her giant camera, then complained her food was cold. :/

                                                                                                                1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                                                                  Talk about not seeing the forrest for the trees.
                                                                                                                  That idiot deserved her cold food!

                                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                  I live in NYC and dine out frequently. I've never seen a person taking flash food pictures. I *have* seen people taking flash photos of each other but that's a different type of moron. And even that is rare.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                    Maybe in NYC people wouldn't put up with it. I've seen it once in Toronto. On the chair, running around the table, with a large iPad no less. And a few other occasions where no chair was involved but much jockeying around the table for the best angle.

                                                                                                                    Lots of wanna be food critics in Toronto, I guess. But a professional would send a photographer back after their visits for a few discreet staged shots after hours.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                      And here I thought all Canadians were polite.

                                                                                                                      :-)

                                                                                                                    2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      Lol lingua... I agree. I've never seen it, especially not in a nicer restaurant.

                                                                                                                      I always wonder when looking at food blogs how they take their photos. The pics of restaurant dishes are always taken from above, and I just can't picture anyone in their right mind literally standing up on their chair and taking these photos in front of a restaurant full of people.

                                                                                                                      I know sometimes bloggers are given special tasting menus (free food, back room, before/after hours, etc.) and wonder if that's the case, at least with the more well-known bloggers.

                                                                                                                3. Maybe because it's so "me - me - me"
                                                                                                                  Look at me! Look what I ate! Mommy! Look! Look!
                                                                                                                  Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.
                                                                                                                  The exception would be if you write a food blog and want to show your readers what a dish that YOU prepared, should look like.

                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Houcasey

                                                                                                                    Does the food blog only apply if it is a commercial endeavor? A vocation rather than an avocation? Because if it isn't part of one's income, isn't a food blog pretty much "me - me - me?"

                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                      No necessarily.
                                                                                                                      For me, my food blog was about sharing my passion for food, cooking, farmers markets and photography.
                                                                                                                      It's a creative outlet and yes, it's nice to get feedback and comments, but that's often not the case.
                                                                                                                      So immediate gratification and ego-stroking, it is most certainly not, in most cases.
                                                                                                                      It can be hard work, actually.

                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                        I should have been clearer. I love a lot of food blogs. I just wasn't sure why one would think that, as a hobby, it was less me-me-me than posting food pics elsewhere.

                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                          My answer would be because of the work and dedication it takes to run a blog and make it something really good, current and meaningful.
                                                                                                                          I think that's different from Instagram.

                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                            I don't doubt that it takes an incredible amount of work to produce a quality blog. There are, of course, many very low quality blogs out there, too.

                                                                                                                            While your effort and probably your expertise are more than most friends of mine posting pictures on facebook, I don't think that means anything in relationship to "me-me-me." You can be a casual FB picture poster who is or is not "me-me-me;" and you can be a blogger who is or isn't. You can be "me-me-me" with very little time and effort or with a great deal of time and effort.

                                                                                                                            And I am not in anyway suggesting that you are "me-me-me" with your blog. I just originally brought up the blog-Facebook comparison because I think acceptance of food sharing and chat on some sites but not others is...odd.

                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                              Thanks- I didn't think you meant me- "mememe!!!"

                                                                                                                      2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                        CHOW is a food blog.
                                                                                                                        A food blog is, or should be, an instructional site not a self centered display to promote your own gluttony. The mistake most people make is thinking they're so important that people are really interested in their fatuous postings.
                                                                                                                        The second mistake is assuming that your friend's politeness is genuine interest.
                                                                                                                        Your mommy might be interested. No one else really is.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Houcasey

                                                                                                                          To be clear, the irony is intentional, right?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Houcasey

                                                                                                                            "No one else really is." But see, that's just not the case. A lot of us are interested. I love seeing friends post food pics or descriptions about what they're eating. My friends respond positively to my similar posts. We have conversations. It's not about displaying gluttony. It's about talking about food.

                                                                                                                            So my response above was really more: why is it ok to have a food blog but not okay to post about food on Facebook?

                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                              Again, level of dedication.
                                                                                                                              My food blog took a lot of time. Ultimately, it was just too much food!
                                                                                                                              My work involved going to local markets, cooking (mostly) seasonally, photographing, downloading, photoshopping, posting, having DH edit because I'm blind to my own mistakes...ugh...exhausting!
                                                                                                                              Not to mention, not good for my waistline!

                                                                                                                              Throwing up a food photo on social media seems more extemporaneous and certainly isn't as involved as crafting unique posts on blogs.

                                                                                                                              That said, there's nothing wrong with Instragram and the like, and if your friends are liking your photos, then it benefits mutually.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Houcasey

                                                                                                                              My mommy could care less about my blog. What does that mean?

                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                I suspect you mean your mommy "couldn't" care less. Either way I think it means you're a changeling and have magic powers.

                                                                                                                        2. Just wanted to say that last night on my Facebook feed, this guy I know posted to no one in particular: "Yeah, keep posting those pics of your dinners. I really give a damn." This from someone who thinks he's an "artist" and posts progress pics of his "art" LITERALLY every hour on the hour during the day. This goes on every day. Selfies in front of his canvas, close ups of his brush work, his palette, his paint-covered hands, his sh*tty sketched canvases.

                                                                                                                          Coming from someone who's made her living with fine art for many years now, I was tempted to say something, but luckily someone else said it for me.

                                                                                                                          The only comment back on that post was "Great, okay, as soon as you stop bombarding us with pics of your paintings."

                                                                                                                          I think most people are really that self righteously arrogant that they can't figure out when their "interests" border on obtrusively annoying to others.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                            Which goes to show that most blogs and Facebook postings are more for the benefit of the author than the recipients.

                                                                                                                            Posts on Internet forums, too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                              "Posts on Internet forums, too."

                                                                                                                              I guess the only difference being that I'm aware 99.9% of the general population couldn't give two sh*ts what I have to say... about anything.

                                                                                                                              Don't you find any difference though between a site like this versus someone's Facebook feed? On internet forums, people are obviously actively seeking out information/conversation/discussion on topics. I wouldn't sign up for a site like Chow if I wasn't interested in discussing food. Or if I signed up on a cat website (?) I would obviously be into cats. Or cars, relationships, makeup, etc.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                Why on earth don't you "unfriend" or "unfollow" this person (whatever the terminology is)?

                                                                                                                          2. I don't photo my dinner when eating out but will often photo at home. I cook off the cuff and so it helps me remember what I've done if I want to try to do it again. It also helps to describe what I've made on food forums