Etiquette Tuesday: No Pictures?

[ 5 ] November 2, 2010 |

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Is it bad etiquette to take pictures of the food in restaurants? This week I pose the question to all the foodies and the likes that often snap photos at restaurants. I waiver on my tip/opinion for this behavior: on the one hand, it does take away some of the intimacy associated with dining out and on the other, how else am I supposed to share my food journey with the world??

Most diners do not mind a couple of flashes in the restaurant but some diners give you the narrow side eye when they hear the click of the camera. I have become more discreet in my approach with taking pic’s in restaurants: turning off the flash when there’s plenty of natural light/light in the restaurant, keeping the number of snaps down to 2-3, etc. I cannot say, however, that I will totally stop this because I truly believe people eat with their eyes first. Therefore, I need people to see the food I enjoyed rather than hear me ramble on in a paragraph about some edible creation.

Now some of you may look at this as bad etiquette but realistically, how many times a year will I visit Komi or L’Auberge Chez François?? (*Maybe twice in a Great year for yours truly…) If this number will only be once or twice, then pictures will be snapped. This rule, however, will be applied: no more than 2-3 snaps…this is more than enough to get my point across…

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff.

About the Author ()

Johnna Rowe is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. Rowe, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. Rowe has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9 and WJLA’s News Channel 8.

Comments (5)

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  1. I am guilty of taking photos in restaurants. I try to be quick and not use flash if possible.

  2. It’s okay to take only a few pictures without flash. Be discreet!

  3. Chasmosaur says:

    Okay – justifying that you visit a restaurant only once or twice a year doesn’t dismiss any potential rudeness. That once a year for you could be the once a year that someone has a special event of their own, and there’s no saying your flash photography might not be disturbing their evening. Just saying.

    As for the food pictures…I don’t know what to think. Plenty of people take pictures of their table at a restaurant – you taking a picture of food is no different. So the question is not whether taking pictures of your food is rude, but wheter taking pictures in restaurants is rude. Taking pictures of your food is simply a subset of that.

    I think this recommendation from the Emily Post Institute covers it:

    http://www.emilypost.com/communication-and-technology/personal-communication-devices/458-smart-use-of-smartphones-and-tablets

  4. Johnna says:

    Thanks for the input;-) I waiver on my view of this topic but I will say I can be a bit selfish in wanting to snag a pic whenever I’m having an exceptionally good meal that I may not see again or for a long while. Thanks for the link to Emily Post Institute! Etiquette Tuesday and Emily Post are like distant relatives;-)

  5. Chasmosaur says:

    Oh, I wasn’t criticizing – just pointing out the flaw in the argument.

    I’ve taken pictures of food once or twice myself (my mother passed away from colon cancer earlier this year, and she was eating vicariously through the entire family). But it was only when I had natural light. Partially because I didn’t want to be rude, partially because I didn’t want to freak out the restaurant staff into thinking I was a reviewer, but mostly because the picture would turn out cr@p anyway ;)

    And don’t think Etiquette Tuesday and Emily Post are distant relatives. She wasn’t stuffy or rarified – she used to give advice on almost every topic for everyone and was a big proponent of etiquette changing along with larger changes in society. I think if she was still alive, she’d have her own blog :D

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