The Ultimate Social Etiquette Guide to Photographing Food

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If you are reading this then there’s a very high chance that you’ve taken a photo of your food or drink and uploaded it to share with the world.

We’ve nearly all done it, although some may still be in denial, because let’s face it – when photographing food we’re still not entirely sure if it’s naff or not. So we’ve compiled our ultimate social etiquette guide to photographing food.

The argument for food photography…

With the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat then why shouldn’t we share a near perfect image of what were about to tuck into?

Whether it’s a #CheekyNandos or a gourmet meal out that you must share with fellow Facebookers, It’s a free effortless way of making your work colleagues, family, friend’s, ex’s simply  jealous.

Sharing your #foodporn on social media some how makes the meal your about to eat (not before you pick out the right Instagram filter) taste so much better.

Plus, let’s face it, food looks good. We can have bad hair days, bad body days, even I don’t like my shoes days, but when your Mum’s made the most amazing dinner and you haven’t even had to lift a finger – well it kinda seems rude not to share.

Does this sound familiar?

iPhone at the ready you dedicate the time to capture the perfect angle of your mum’s homemade lasagne. Using the filter that enhances the way the light hits that golden cheese topping you elevate the dish from a 4 to a solid 9 out of 10.

With the addition of a collection of foodie hashtags you’re more than ready to start your very own social media storm, racking up double figure ‘likes’ and getting comments from your Auntie Susan.

It’s now just a matter of time until you get the phone call from M&S Food offering you the roll of creative director for next seasons advert.
In fact taking just one photo can be more satisfying than the actual eating of the actual food itself. You are a photography genius.

The pros and cons of food photography…

On a whole we all enjoy a fellow food photographer, but there are unspoken rules of when it is appropriate to do so and at what  point you need to pop your smart phone in your pocket and just eat your food.

So here’s The Jobs Menu guide of when to photograph – and when not to photograph – your food.

Photographing food on a first date…

A big no no, face in palms, head shaking moment is photographing your food on a first date. Please do not cross the line.

Your mum’s home made lasagne completely fine, a first date at a swanky restaurant – then you’re obviously not bothered about seeing this person again.

There is nothing more annoying than sitting with someone who takes ten different photos of each course with different filters and a range of flashes. There is a time and a place for this and on a first date it is neither, along with annoying your date there is a high chance you are running others dining experience as well.

So resist the urge just this once and keep your phone well away from the table – you might even get a second date.


Making the food yourself …

So you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for what feels like the whole day when in fact it’s been a mere two hours…

Every pot, pan and kitchen utensil you own has been used and they are now sprawled across the kitchen work tops leading, to the impressive mountain of bowls and whisks forming a mountain in what used to be your sink.

But none of this relevant as your blood sweat and tears have been able to produce the most flawless Vitoria sponge cake. Mary Berry would be proud.

With the perfect strawberry jam to buttercream ratio and a light dusting of icing sugar now this is the perfect time to whip out your iPhone out and give the sponge cake the photoshoot it deserves.

Filter set and caption perfected this is your time. This is your moment to be a proud food photographer.

Holiday Food…

As if holiday pictures aren’t bad enough, you and your friends sat on the beach with a beer in hand and the most amazing plate of freshly caught seafood in front of you in the 30 degree heat, is sufficient evidence to make your any Facebook acquaintance defriend and block you.

While everyone back in the UK is left with the unsightly view of the grey daylight making its debut through the office window as they tuck into their bowl of super noodles. It’s enough to turn anyone green with envy.

But, we’re not saying don’t do it. Please share your exotic meals and cocktails – but do it with a little thought for the rest of us poor suckers left back home in the cold.

Healthy Eating…

Congratulations! You’re on a new ‘food hype’ whether it’s a new diet, trying out Beyoncé’s Vegan lifestyle or your really trying to get your FODMAP in order.

If you live the super healthy lifestyle that’s great, we’re talking about the two day dieters and health food day trippers. You post a picture of your celery soup with the hashtag #fit4life on the Monday – but by Thursday you’re showing us a picture of a quarter-pounder, drowning in melted cheese, alongside a portion of extra large chips and a chocolate milkshake. You’re not fooling anyone… Plus we’d rather see the picture of the quarter pounder, who doesn’t love a little #FoodPorn.

So please don’t be a part-time avocado on rye bread Instagrammer. And a little word to the wise, no one is that envious of your chia seed porridge.

It may make you feel full of life and super healthy but for us it just makes us feel bad about ourselves. Usually followed by the thought process of ‘I really need to start watching what I eat, I wish I was more like them’ which abruptly ends when someone is offering cake around the office. I mean it would be rude not to take a piece or three?

Our conclusion…

Taking photos of your food can be tricky business. So make sure the people that you are with are okay with you thinking you’re the food paparazzi, assess your surroundings to ensure in the environment is appropriate – and if so go for it! We love looking great pictures of wonderful looking food – so you’ll always have a captive audience with us.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing with our food in the office over the past couple of weeks so feel free to check out the result of our food photography experiment here. We’ve turned unappetising food into gourmet worthy treats and we even looked at some of the top food photography tips.

We’d love to know your opinions on photographing your food, get in touch on Twitter and Facebook!

Happy photographing, from The Jobs Menu team

The Jobs Menu is the hospitality and catering job site showcasing the best new job vacancies from some of the industries top employers. To progress your career why not have a look at the current job opportunities from The Jobs Menu here.


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