Why I Take Pictures Of My Food

I’m one of those. Often when having a meal at a restaurant I haven’t eaten at before, I will take out my phone and take a picture of my food.

I don’t use Instagram, I don’t often serve the pictures to Twitter, nor do I feed them to Facebook. I take the pictures of my food for my blog.

I’m a reviewer. A word of mouth marketer. I’ve taken pictures of my food in Argentina, in Iceland, in Calgary.

My blog is monetized with ads, so it brings in some income. This means I need to pay taxes on that income when I declare it. This means I can also deduct expenses incurred to make that income. Do you see where this is going? I take pictures of my food, because I need the deductions against the income this blog makes.

But the restaurants shouldn’t be threatening concussions to people who serve up shots of the chef’s snapper online, they should be welcoming them. I get that the lighting isn’t always great. I get that an iPhone in my hands is not the same as a Nikon in the hands of a photographer from Saveur, but the picture I take still goes to my audience. Along with that picture goes my experience and thoughts. Shout me down while I take a pic of the poutine, and that’s the comment that’s going to go alongside it.

2010-07-19 porcao - 19When I went to Brazil with Team Diabetes, I was taking pictures of the restaurant because I was a tourist and it was my first time in a Brazillian steakhouse. The experience was fresh and new and exciting. Guess what the waiters did? They invited me in to the kitchen. They took my great experience and instead of diminishing it – they expanded it!

In New York, the New York Times is reporting that many restaurants are banning photography from their establishments. Chef David Bouley tells stories of people popping flashbulbs like they’re paparazzi and even climbing on chairs to get the right angle of the antipasto.

That’s ridiculous. So what does Bouley do when he sees someone setting up for a cover shoot? He invites them in to the kitchen.

“We’ll say, ‘That shot will look so much better on the marble table in our kitchen,’ ” Mr. Bouley told the Times. “It’s like, here’s the sauce, here’s the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no.”

Bon Apetit has a great response to the NYT article where they give step-by-step tips to Foodstagrammers for getting the perfect shot.

Finally, and this is important folks, don’t act like a jerk. If you’re at a restaurant that clearly states its no-photo policy on the menu–like they do at Momofuku Ko or Blanca in New York–put down the camera. The minute a waiter or manager walks up and asks you to stop taking photos, you do that. Yes, you’re paying for a service. No, you don’t get to make the rules. Read More

The only change I would make is putting “polite and discreet” at the top of the list. We may like taking pictures of the food for friends, business, or otherwise, but you don’t need to make a big deal by announcing your foodstagramming to the entire restaurant.

It’s about respect really. I take my pictures discreetly when I’m out, and to be honest I feel like a bit of a hipster douche when I do it, so I make it quick. And that’s what it should be. I appreciate the foodstagramming is getting out of hand. I get that seeing a Facebook stream filled with fettucini is annoying.

Restauranteurs may not be fans of the trend, but they need to get used to it. Just as I will price compare items with my smartphone when I’m shopping, I will discreetly take pictures of my food.

So be my friend, I will be your friend, and I can get my tax deduction.

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Comments:

Buzz Bishop

Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Two time Guinness World Record Holder. I run marathons for Team Diabetes.

7 Comments

  1. I completely agree. I think it’s a social experience and how people connect with their friends a family. Plus, for the most part, it’s positive “word of mouth” for the restaurant.

  2. While I understand that some people can be disruptive with their “foodstagramming,” restauranteurs also have to understand that this is effectively free advertising for them. I think even a simple rule like “no flash photography” could fix a lot of problems.

  3. Absolutely disagree.

    Sure, some blogging can be called “bragging” because it is a personal diary, but to discount all food blogging as bragging is totally off base and not speaking to the issue.

  4. Unfortunately there are people who can only see one view (that’s why stereotyping still exist), like this guy Phil here. I have a food blog myself and it started out that I live pretty darn far away from my friends and family that I grew up with. My grandmother was a cook, my mother is a cook, I happened to get a hold of camera since polaroid, I love taking photos. I wish that people are not so judgmental on what other people likes to do (when it harms absolutely no one)…

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