The majority of us have done it. Grabbed our cell phone during dinner to take a photo of our meal. Heck, we at WindsorEats have built a business around it. People have pictures of their kids, Pina and I have pictures of some outstanding and memorable meals. We’ve been known to request to be moved to entirely different tables because the lighting is better by the window.
But is it right or wrong?
While many restaurants around the world have started to implement camera policies (with some banning photography completely in their establishment), Windsor-Essex restaurateurs seem to be taking a different approach.
“In most cases there is an appreciation, or even so far to say a reverence, for what is about to be digested and enjoyed,” says Linda Zagaglioni, owner and operator of Taloola Cafe. “To capture the image in order to extend the enjoyment is perhaps a notable gratitude for the very activity that everyone takes part in.”
Nick Finlay agrees. The Master Operator of the mobile kitchen, Road Chef, says that in this day and age social media has become the new word of mouth.
“It’s very exciting to see people sharing and creating a viral buzz about something that you have created,” Nick explains. “Not only do I feel that having people sharing our unique dishes with their friends and family is important, I also truly believe that it is crucial in the development of your business.”
Noah Fleming, a strategic marketing consultant and president of Fleming Consulting & Co., believes that while some people love to show the world what they’re doing every second of every day, constantly sharing photos of your food may be a bit obsessive.
“If you want to tweet your eats from home, that’s fine with me,” says Noah. “In public, we need to be mindful of others in the restaurant.”
However, he doesn’t see any positives that can come from a restaurant banning cell phone photography. Noah believes that, depending on the restaurant, it can certainly help with its promotion.
“Not only are the messages seen by hundreds, or even thousands of others, but there’s an element of social proof when multiple people are talking about their experience at the restaurant on the social networks,” he explains.
Noah does caution restaurant owners that the impact of social media can be reversed by a bad experience stating that they need to be monitoring and taking part in these conversations. He also reminds restaurant owners that it’s all about the experience they want customers to have in their restaurant.
“I’ve been in some incredible restaurants around the world where cell phone usage is strictly prohibited,” Noah explains. “People on cell phones would have certainly taken away from the experience. I’m grateful for those experiences.”
As for restaurants who ban cameras, Nick has a different point of view.
“What are you trying to hide?”
Let’s hear from you. Tell us what you think? Do you take photos of your restaurant meals or do you shake your head in dismay to those that do? Chime in!
Are you looking to improve your phone photography skills? Want to be a part of the foodarazzi (ya…I just made that up)? We rounded up a few tips to help you become the superstar photographer of the food world.
Tips to Better Food Photos on Your Cell Phone:
- Always go for natural light. If I am certain I’ll be taking photos during the meal, I always ask to be seated next to a window. Natural light works wonders.
- Turn off the auto flash. Not only is it courteous to the others dining around you, but the flash will have horrendous effects on how the food looks in the photo.
- Shoot from above. Getting the angle right can make or break a photo. Shooting the photo from above helps capture what the chef intended when he plated the dish.
- Avoid pictures of ugly food. Some foods just don’t look good on camera no matter how you take the photo or who is taking them. That’s almost as solid a fact as the sky being blue.