The Camera Eats First

May 19, 2017 1 Comment

The Camera Eats First

A Snapshot of Foodie Photographers


By Nell Jones - daughter, writer,
student, contributor

You are out to dinner with your group of friends at the restaurant that you found by looking through one of many famous food Instagram accounts.  (Life hack: if you are trying to decide which restaurant you want to go to, look up the restaurant on Instagram and scroll through the pictures taken at that location).

The food looked delicious in the pictures, so why not try it out?  You want to see it, and photograph it for yourself, not simply trust a good yelp review.

After some chatter and patiently waiting, the food comes out.  What is the first thing that happens?  Everyone takes out their phone to capture the pattern that the food seems to follow, the colors of different food groups intertwining together, and the steam that is still rolling off.

It has become the norm that no one dares to touch the food unless it has first been captured by the clicking of an iPhone camera.  In a sense, the camera always eats first.

In this technological age, it has become so easy to take pictures with an iPhone that can then be shared with friends, family, and the public on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.  Not only is this form of photography and social media big for people who want to show their followers what they are up to, but it is also huge from a marketing standpoint.

Most acclaimed restaurants and eateries have Instagram, where they advertise their newest specials and customer favorites.  So what are the tricks to making your friends jealous about your meal or attracting new customers?

Quick Photography Tips

The number one tip that most people will tell you is lighting.  It is best to shoot in natural lighting; it will allow the natural colors in the food to stand out and appeal to the viewer.

With this in mind, the food that you are photographing should be interesting and contrasting, not dull.  In the same sense, you want to make sure that the shadows that come with the lighting enhance the image, instead of damage it.  The shadowing allows some depth and frames the subject of the image.

One way that this can be done is with the angle of the photo.  If you look at a lot of food photography, it is taken from above. By creating a neutral background, there are no distractions and the attention of the viewer is on the cuisine, especially when it is plated or in a bowl.  By following guidelines like these you can entice your followers with delicious the food must be given how great it looks, even when they are completely removed.

Dining In Our House

This is not only true for meals ordered at a restaurant, but also for home creations.  As the daughter of the Reluctant Gourmet, I can assure you that the camera ALWAYS eats first at our house.  No family dinner can begin without the flashing of a camera. The liberty you get from photography at home is that you may have more available than just your iPhone camera.

Who wouldn’t want to brag to all their friends, family, and coworkers after preparing and cooking a meal for two hours? Or like me, brag to all my friends when I come home to an amazing home cooked meal.  And even if your friends won’t appreciate the lemon that was so carefully zested on top, the followers on the Reluctant Gourmet’s “What I Cooked for Dinner Last Night” Facebook page probably will.

Eating has always been enmeshed with social interaction, and now this social bubble is being expanded even more with the use of social media, where one person’s meal can be shared with an audience of millions.  If you want more inspiration for all things food, photography and social media, check out @reluctantgourmet on Instagram.



Last modified on Wed 20 November 2019 9:09 am

Filed in: Photography

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  1. Lori Tevis says:

    Great work, Nell!

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