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Does taking food photos bother customers or staff?


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#61 gfweb

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

I don't mind cameras but I hate the flash. Whether its the food or Mom's birthday, its intrusive, esp at a nice place. Pix of everyone at the table?...please.... they'll less viewed than wedding photos; why take them at all?

#62 rotuts

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:38 AM

I think small cameras, no flash is fine. not too many now ... your food is getting cold.

#63 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:57 PM

I suppose an occasional discreet photo is fine but... I have an in-law who is forever taking pics of everyone at the table with her phone, then uploading them instantly to Facebook, then commenting on FB with her friends about the pics, then texting her other friends about the pictures on FB and what she's eating, who's at the dinner, etc. etc. This drives me mad. She is, sadly, well old enough to know better.

Perhaps we should be like knights of old but, instead of checking our weapons at the door (of a restaurant), we'd have to check our technology.

#64 mugen

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

I'd love to see more restaurants ban cameras, though the trend is firmly against me.

It is absolutely ridiculous to watch, as tables are served, every person at the table pull out a smartphone (well, more accurately, lift it from where it had been prominently left on the table) and start memorialising the dish, as though it is the most momentous thing to have happened in their lives to date (it probably is), and as though anyone on Facebook actually pays the slightest attention to their preening, aspirational posts about such-and-such restaurant they've attended (I'm more certain here: they don't).

Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"

/rage

#65 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

No flash and all that, yeah. Altho' I can understand why a restaurant mightn't want people to take photos (of the food, at least) at all. Still, I can't help but wonder if strongarming a guest out the door, Changstyle, is really the best way to do it. Maybe it'd come across better if you offered/gave customers a CD-R (come on, they cost a few cents per unit) with chef-approved photos of every dish from the menu/season/whatever. Only if they persisted with the photographu would you then be a bit more forceful, pointing out that it's not allowed. I know that Chang's supposedly a bit of a rock star chef--and don't get me wrong, I love his book and want to visit his restaurants in Sydney and New York--but still, dude, tact is a beautiful thing.

I suspect that the desire to photograph one's dinner is a response to a few things. Firstly, there's the obvious social media influence. You can very easily share any and all aspects of your life with your friends, family, random people via imgur/deviantart/et al. There's that. Secondly, if celebrity chefs acquire (well, some of them) 'rock star' status, again, it's natural. Thirdly, especially if it's a fine dining restaurant, a lot of effort has (hopefully) gone into how the food is presented: not just how it's plated but also it's probably interesting in terms of ingredients/techniques/et al. I can see how people would want to take a photo of that. And, too, a fine dining experience isn't inexpensive. It's kind of a big deal for many people. Also, digital cameras, smartphones and accessible editing software (often in-built into these very devices) allow people to pretend for maybe a moment that they're taking that close-up wank-shot from the frontcover of last month's Gourmet Traveller/delicious/Saveur, just like blogging lets some people make believe that they're honest to gawd journalists.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 23 January 2013 - 02:29 PM.

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#66 Ericpo

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

That is an interesting article, rotuts.

I am definitely of two minds about this...Flattering though it is to see people excited about something you cooked, the disruption to the table, and tables nearby, is awful.

As with many things in American Culture, I expect the larger problem is not the action itself, but the lack of consideration for others. My particular restaurant pet peeve is vulgarity at neighboring tables. I really do not care how you choose to speak, or the things you choose to disuss. At least, I do not care until I have to hear them.

I suppose I really have a similar feeling about cameras. If it can be done discreetly with a minumum of fuss, ok. If not, exercise your brain and try to record the experience the old fashioned way.
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#67 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

I don't think it's specifically an American thing. It's also very common in Australia. That said, I've rarely seen people use an actual flash. Even when the lighting is dimmed down, giving you a sort of third-world-caveman-in-a-mine-after-10pm-during-the-apocalypse dining experience, people I've known and seen tend to just accept the lighting and make do with a dull, hazy shot. I've heard a couple of Australian chefs talk about the evils of photography to the media but I've never heard of anyone, anywhere actually doing anthing about it. I mean, the one chef that seems most outspoken about it, he's also outspoken about basically any issue to do with anything related to the restaurant business and is also one of the hosts of maybe our most popular cooking show, so he seems to come across as less of a kitchen person and more as a media person.

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#68 Tri2Cook

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"

Meh. it's my food. If I want to commission an artist to paint a portrait of it for me, what's the big deal?
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#69 mugen

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

I suspect that the desire to photograph one's dinner is a response to a few things. Firstly, there's the obvious social media influence. You can very easily share any and all aspects of your life with your friends, family, random people via imgur/deviantart/et al. There's that. Secondly, if celebrity chefs acquire (well, some of them) 'rock star' status, again, it's natural. Thirdly, especially if it's a fine dining restaurant, a lot of effort has (hopefully) gone into how the food is presented: not just how it's plated but also it's probably interesting in terms of ingredients/techniques/et al. I can see how people would want to take a photo of that. And, too, a fine dining experience isn't inexpensive. It's kind of a big deal for many people. Also, digital cameras, smartphones and accessible editing software (often in-built into these very devices) allow people to pretend for maybe a moment that they're taking that close-up wank-shot from the frontcover of last month's Gourmet Traveller/delicious/Saveur, just like blogging lets some people make believe that they're honest to gawd journalists.


It's even more inappropriate in a fine dining restaurant, because they're one of the very last places where some sort of vestigial decorum is expected to hold. I don't care if someone rarely has the chance to attend fine dining; having to see him photographing every item makes the whole thing declasse for other diners like having to watch him licked the jus from his knife with relish, just to make sure that he was extracting every last atom of value from the precious experience.



Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"

Meh. it's my food. If I want to commission an artist to paint a portrait of it for me, what's the big deal?


Do it at home. At a restaurant, 'Meh. it's my food' doesn't hold, unless you're so utterly self-absorbed that you think that your table constitutes a perfectly sealed little bubble of reality, within which you have a divinely-granted right to do as you please: to photograph, answer calls, speak as loudly as you will, or whatever.

Edited by mugen, 23 January 2013 - 02:51 PM.


#70 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

Also, I'd suspect even having an eG membership, especially as a non-professional, is a higher level of food geekery than anything involving a smartphone's camera function.

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#71 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:52 PM


I suspect that the desire to photograph one's dinner is a response to a few things. Firstly, there's the obvious social media influence. You can very easily share any and all aspects of your life with your friends, family, random people via imgur/deviantart/et al. There's that. Secondly, if celebrity chefs acquire (well, some of them) 'rock star' status, again, it's natural. Thirdly, especially if it's a fine dining restaurant, a lot of effort has (hopefully) gone into how the food is presented: not just how it's plated but also it's probably interesting in terms of ingredients/techniques/et al. I can see how people would want to take a photo of that. And, too, a fine dining experience isn't inexpensive. It's kind of a big deal for many people. Also, digital cameras, smartphones and accessible editing software (often in-built into these very devices) allow people to pretend for maybe a moment that they're taking that close-up wank-shot from the frontcover of last month's Gourmet Traveller/delicious/Saveur, just like blogging lets some people make believe that they're honest to gawd journalists.


It's even more inappropriate in a fine dining restaurant, because they're one of the very last places where some sort of vestigial decorum is expected to hold. I don't care if someone rarely has the chance to attend fine dining; having to see him photographing every item makes the whole thing declasse for other diners like having to watch him licked the jus from his knife with relish, just to make sure that he was extracting every last atom of value from the precious experience.


Maybe. I mean, culturally and all, Australians are laid back. Even at a fine dining level--and I've been to a few places in Sydney and Melbourne--I've only encountered maybe two? three? places that are truly formal (Vue de Monde and est., for locals). Photography doesn't seem barbaric in, say, even a place as well-regarded as Attica or Quay or Marque (all on the San Pellegrino list, for context). I can see how it might be inappropriate in other contexts but I've never felt that it was a sign of behaving badly in these restaurants in the same way, say, being really noisy always is.

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#72 Honkman

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:11 PM


I suspect that the desire to photograph one's dinner is a response to a few things. Firstly, there's the obvious social media influence. You can very easily share any and all aspects of your life with your friends, family, random people via imgur/deviantart/et al. There's that. Secondly, if celebrity chefs acquire (well, some of them) 'rock star' status, again, it's natural. Thirdly, especially if it's a fine dining restaurant, a lot of effort has (hopefully) gone into how the food is presented: not just how it's plated but also it's probably interesting in terms of ingredients/techniques/et al. I can see how people would want to take a photo of that. And, too, a fine dining experience isn't inexpensive. It's kind of a big deal for many people. Also, digital cameras, smartphones and accessible editing software (often in-built into these very devices) allow people to pretend for maybe a moment that they're taking that close-up wank-shot from the frontcover of last month's Gourmet Traveller/delicious/Saveur, just like blogging lets some people make believe that they're honest to gawd journalists.


It's even more inappropriate in a fine dining restaurant, because they're one of the very last places where some sort of vestigial decorum is expected to hold. I don't care if someone rarely has the chance to attend fine dining; having to see him photographing every item makes the whole thing declasse for other diners like having to watch him licked the jus from his knife with relish, just to make sure that he was extracting every last atom of value from the precious experience.



Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"

Meh. it's my food. If I want to commission an artist to paint a portrait of it for me, what's the big deal?


Do it at home. At a restaurant, 'Meh. it's my food' doesn't hold, unless you're so utterly self-absorbed that you think that your table constitutes a perfectly sealed little bubble of reality, within which you have a divinely-granted right to do as you please: to photograph, answer calls, speak as loudly as you will, or whatever.


As long as I don't use flash other tables will most of the time don't even recognize that I photograph my food. I simply like to to document what I eat (and I do the same at home) so I don't see what the problem is if I do it discretely in any restaurant. I don't think that taking a photo of my food discretely (which is the key word) will diminish your restaurant experience.

#73 munchymom

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

I take pictures in restaurants because I have a food blog (mostly for my own entertainment, as I don't think anybody besides my mom reads it). But you'd have to be watching me really closely to see it - small hand-held camera, no flash, and only one or two shots. (I want to eat the food while it's still hot!) Anyone who is watching closely enough to be bothered by me taking pictures ought to be minding his or her own business.
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#74 lesliec

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

Now, kids, play nice ...

Seems to me there are various factors involved here. Certainly there is a degree of rudeness, intended or otherwise, in using flash in a restaurant, but mostly I wonder if it's not just plan ignorance/technical incompetence/call it what you will - many people probably don't know how to turn flash off!

I've noticed many times people taking photos of (or from) cruise ships, in sports stadiums or - my favourite - of Wellington harbour from Mount Victoria, all using flash ... which isn't going to have the slightest effect at the distances involved. It's probably the same in a restaurant; although avoiding flash would almost certainly (a) improve the photo and (b) make the act of taking it more discreet, people just don't know how to turn it off.

I have no problem with people documenting every moment of their lives, if they must, as long as they don't bring me into the process. But as for restaurants imposing a blanket ban on all photography - bad idea.


[Edited for a speling misteak]

Edited by lesliec, 23 January 2013 - 05:37 PM.

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#75 Honkman

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

Now, kids, play nice ...

Seems to me there are various factors involved here. Certainly there is a degree of rudeness, intended or otherwise, in using flash in a restaurant, but mostly I wonder if it's not just plan ignorance/technical incompetence/call it what you will - many people probably don't know how to turn flash off!

I've noticed many times people taking photos of (or from) cruise ships, in sports stadiums or - my favourite - of Wellington harbour from Mount Victoria, all using flash ... which isn't going to have the slightest effect at the distances involved. It's probably the same in a restaurant; although avoiding flash would almost certainly (a) improve the photo and (b) make the act of taking it more discreet, people just don't know how to turn it off.

I have no problem with people documenting every moment of their lives, if they must, as long as they don't bring me into the process. But as for restaurants imposing a blanket ban on all photography - bad idea.


[Edited for a speling misteak]


I am always surprised that people talk about using flash in restaurants. We go all the times to different types of restaurants and take pictures of our food and see other people doing the same and i can't remember when we saw the last time anybody using the flash in a restaurant. I don't think that this is an issue anymore.

#76 kaszeta

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:00 AM

Those that know me know that I love food photography, but if I'm in a restaurant, while I do use my big honkin' SLR, I'm pretty firm on several things: (1) No flash, ever, since it annoys other diners, and generally doesn't result in good food photography anyway, and (2) Don't get between other people and their food. I might take a bit of time with my plate, but it's just rude to expect someone else to delay their eating due to my camera fetish. :)

The primary reason I do the food photography, however, is that I like to show people the food that they are likely to get if they go to a place. Not the gussied up pictures (or craptacular pictures, for some places) on the places website or menu.

And FWIW, I'm okay with a restaurant ban on cameras if the owner really thinks it interferes with the enjoyment (David Chang has had some great screeds about this).

#77 naguere

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:21 AM

I'd love to see more restaurants ban cameras, though the trend is firmly against me.

It is absolutely ridiculous to watch, as tables are served, every person at the table pull out a smartphone (well, more accurately, lift it from where it had been prominently left on the table) and start memorialising the dish, as though it is the most momentous thing to have happened in their lives to date (it probably is), and as though anyone on Facebook actually pays the slightest attention to their preening, aspirational posts about such-and-such restaurant they've attended (I'm more certain here: they don't).

Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"

/rage

Recently being dined by my 4 sons , partners and children at a Raymond Blanc Resto, we were in our own pod. photos, were taken, laughter was the rule and the staff did us proud, ready to respond at any moment to our needs. It was a lunch to remember, We did not interact with other clients, and also noise levels were kept low. (no chefs were harmed during this event)
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#78 The J

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

It's even more inappropriate in a fine dining restaurant, because they're one of the very last places where some sort of vestigial decorum is expected to hold. I don't care if someone rarely has the chance to attend fine dining; having to see him photographing every item makes the whole thing declasse for other diners like having to watch him licked the jus from his knife with relish, just to make sure that he was extracting every last atom of value from the precious experience.


Do it at home. At a restaurant, 'Meh. it's my food' doesn't hold, unless you're so utterly self-absorbed that you think that your table constitutes a perfectly sealed little bubble of reality, within which you have a divinely-granted right to do as you please: to photograph, answer calls, speak as loudly as you will, or whatever.


Assuming a person doesn't use flash and doesn't stand on their chair or something, if you actually notice a person at another table taking a picture of their food or licking their knife, then you're the one breaking "decorum" by actually watching diners at other tables. You should exercise appropriate "decorum" by focusing on your own meal and your own companions.

I don't take pictures of restaurant food that often. That being said, there are times I like to do so. I would have a problem with a restaurant that forbids it. Of course, there are times I eat at restaurants alone as well, and I like to sit at a table and read (and if someone, god forbid, calls me, I might even answer the phone!), which I'm sure is not "appropriate" behavior in many places.

Of course, I think the aversion to photography is partially this idea that technology is "rude". I've had people in situations tell me that I was being rude because I was talking on my cell phone in a public place (indeed, this even happened to me on the train once). Generally those same people are standing/sitting next to someone else, carrying on a conversation just as loudly as I was speaking, if not louder. But because the person I was speaking to is in a different location, and I had to use technology to speak to them, I was being rude. Usually I ask those people if they think I was being rude because they could only listen in on one side of my conversation instead of the whole thing :raz:

If a chef wants to prohibit photography, then I think they should provide (even by email, if they want) photographs of the meals for people.

#79 ScottyBoy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

Free advertising for me. Also somewhat flattering when people would take a picture of something I've made.
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#80 PSmith

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:02 AM

Friend emailed me this photo

http://www.thecritic...tachment_id=229

If I am not aware of another diner taking a photo, then it is fine. But when they start flexing their elbows, then it becomes annoying.

Personally I will rarely take photos of my plate, unless the food resembles genitalia or something funny. For me there is something a bit impolite about photographing your dinner in a public place, but then I am English and was brought up not to put my elbows on the table.

Edited by PSmith, 25 January 2013 - 04:06 AM.

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#81 ermintrude

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

Some tips from the BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-21235195
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#82 Spanishrecipes

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:34 AM

I used to feel a bit awkward taking photos in restaurants but now I just go ahead. It is a compliment to a well-presented dish.

It still attracts some odd looks but if you are going to write about food then you need pictures to go with it. Plus we live in a social media age where sharing is everything.
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#83 Karlos1968

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

This made me think of this

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#84 OliverB

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

next time I'm at the French Laundry I'll bring two off camera flashes and a tripod :laugh:
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#85 ScottyBoy

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

When I first saw that video I fell off my couch laughing. So spot on.
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#86 tsp.

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:34 PM

How about the trend of reproving foodies now taking pictures of people taking pictures of food, I've written a bit about it here. I have to admit, it's quite funny. I'm now starting the trend of pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of food.

#87 mkayahara

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:59 PM

We now have what is apparently the last word on taking photos of your restaurant meals: http://otherside.quo...ur-food-is-dumb
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#88 PSmith

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:35 AM

We now have what is apparently the last word on taking photos of your restaurant meals: http://otherside.quo...ur-food-is-dumb


:laugh: Excellent rant. Loving the Racket Bar sign "Instagram your meal and receive a free concussion"

Edited by PSmith, 07 February 2013 - 09:48 AM.

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