Taking Pictures of Food in Restaurants


Instagram, Flickr, Facebook all are littered with pictures of food and many of those pictures are not just the meals created by people cooking at home but people who are at restaurants and snapping pictures of the meals that they order.

This can be great promotion for a restaurant in that people are giving free publicity and showcasing the appetizers, meals, desserts and more.  But this can also be a negative for restaurants in a few ways which may cause more restaurants to try and ban cameras or picture taking inside of them which some restaurants have attempted to do though there will always be hidden cameras taking photos regardless.

Here is a list of some of the negative aspects of picture taking in restaurants.

chocolate eagle
Pic of the Chocolate Bald Eagle on Display at the M Buffet in Las Vegas

Food Quality is On Display

Some restaurants may serve great food but lack the presentation on a plate that high end restaurants have, this could lead to pictures of food that looks unappealing even though it may taste fantastic and leave the reader happy.  Likewise if a photo is taken after the meal has been touched or partially eaten this ruins the initial presentation if it was impressive.  Also if a plating wasn’t done right, or just was poor this can be exposed and lead to criticism or negative attention but this usually isn’t such a big deal if the food taste good and the reader is commenting with positive remarks.

Annoying Other Diners

Imagine in a formal restaurant there are people on dates, enjoying family time or one on one time with each other and you hear and see camera flashes from the table next to you.  Then the table across from you and so forth.  Disruptions and the atmosphere at a fine dining establishment can quickly be ruined and in a formal setting one shouldn’t be on their cell phone anyway at the dining table even if it is taking pictures.  This is why formal restaurants are the most common ones to attempt to ban picture taking inside of them even though the publicity of the food could be good, if people complain about the atmosphere or disruptions of others it could negate the expectations of a fine dining atmosphere.

My own view is that I think taking a quick photo of your meal if it was impressively presented and sharing it with your fans or photo albums is a good way to memorialize where you were, the food you ordered and who you were with.  If you don’t use flash unless you have to and you consider etiquette I think it is acceptable in all restaurants except the finest dining and it really depends on the occasion, if the person you are with are in a casual setting read the cues, but if it is very formal and you are dressed up in a suit and tie, I wouldn’t be whipping out your camera to take photos of the food.

I myself have taken food pics at restaurants and shared them online, usually it is to showcase the presentation of the meal and food and let others know that the restaurant I am at is worth trying.

What are your thoughts about photo taking in restaurants and dining establishments, are you a foodie, do you take pics of all the food you order and post to Instagram or somewhere else?

Share your thoughts.

Author: Justin Germino

Justin Germino is currently a resident of Arizona and is a blogger, poet, father and husband. Visit this Arizona Blogger and see what it is all about.

6 thoughts on “Taking Pictures of Food in Restaurants”

    1. Well of course they take care of food presentation but some food just may not have such great visual presentation regardless if it tastes good. I personally don’t find split pea soup visually appealing for example.
      TheSaltyChef recently posted..Taking Pictures of Food in RestaurantsMy Profile

  1. You should have proper equipment.You can make great food photos with an iPhone, but at a certain point low-light photography suffers because of the hardware limitations. That’s when you’ll want a full-size DSLR camera.

    Even a fancy DSLR like the Canon 5D Mark III (my camera), is useless without the proper lens. You’ll want a lens that can hit a low F-stop to allow the most light into your photos as possible. I.e., so you won’t need to use that damn annoying flash!

    1. True, but can you imagine if 50% of the people brought larger DSLR’s into every restaurant they went into to take pictures of their food they ordered, talk about even more obnoxious for the sake of a better photo. Also may be rude to the person you are with.
      TheSaltyChef recently posted..Taking Pictures of Food in RestaurantsMy Profile

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