Shooting food in restaurants, "yes" or "no"...

One of the conversations raging in some of the photography forums is whether or not it is okay to photograph food in a restaurant, specifically shooting your own food for sites like FoodSpotting and Instagram.

My thought on the subject is that I paid for the food, it's mine, why can't I take a picture of it?

On the other hand I have seen people making a spectacle of themselves shooting their food at dinner, I man really buddy, did you need to stand on your chair to gat a shot from above of that plate of pasta?

And I can also understand that some restaurants would rather have no images posted rather than some horribly composed, out of focus photograph of the food that is important to the livelihood of their establishment.

I will take pictures of my food, mostly to share with friends... not to impress them with my photo skills or because I think they are all that interested in what I had for lunch. It's more like "not sure if you've eaten here before but the food is great, take a look at this Chicken Pad Thai".

Here are a couple stories of  the "food controversy" along with a few of images of my lunch.  :)

Is it rude to photograph your food?

Upscale Restaurants Are Starting to Ban Food Photography

If you ever find yourself in Southern Maine you should consider Thai Me (Thai, but I bet their name gave that away) or Que Huong (Vietnamese) for lunch or dinner. They are both tiny places, probably no more than a half dozen tables, you'll get great food, and they don't mind if you photograph it.

Would love to hear what you think about this, if you have a minute please leave a comment.


Burt said...

I write a travel/photo blog ( and occasionally shoot the food if I expect to be mentioning it in my blog. Almost never at 'home', but when traveling, as with my recent 3 month trip to Ecuador.

I NEVER use flash -- creates ugly images and I think is rude to other patrons. I have never had any complaints of my doing it.

OTOH, I have not really gotten 'star quality' shots when doing that. I get much better results when setting up in my studio at home. As such, I tend to limit how often I do this at all.

Scott said...

Hey Burt,

Thanks for coming by the blog, and taking the time to write your thoughts.


maryann [Maryann's*****Fotos] said...

If you can't shoot discreetly and without making a distraction for other patrons, you shouldn't do it.

Gareth O'Neill Photography said...

yes you paid for the food, but so did everyone else. you wouldn't go into a clothes shop, buy a t-shirt and then sit there taking photos of it. I would consider it rude to take photos of food without telling the proprietor what you were doing and why.

Dorthy N. Weiss said...

These recipe shoots are looks spanking . Weldone for shared .