Foodie Photography: Shooting in Restaurants

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Unfortunately for many foodies in this day and age, they have become the poor man’s paparazzi. When it comes to taking pictures of food in restaurants, some foodies can be rude and ruin the ambiance of the environment. If it is too dark, they use a flash. Some use tripods to get the right angle much to the chagrin of the servers. Oftentimes, restaurants do not appreciate them because some make the food look bad with poor choices in composition and technique. Some are ballsy enough to use cell phones or the cheapest digital camera they can find. Let’s changes this.

Camera Gear

This is incredibly important. If you want to make sure you get the shot quickly and politely, a decent camera is needed. I personally recommend against a point and shoot. A camera that can shoot in low light is needed. If you can afford it, a low end DSLR, like the Canon EOS Rebel T2i(full review here)or Nikon D3100(hands-on here) and a 35mm or 50mm prime is your best bet. A camera with a prime lens will give you better control over the light. If you do not like the size of a DSLR, take a look at a Micro 4/3s camera. Cameras like the Panasonic G2 (reviewed here) and the Sony NEX 5 (reviewed here) are compact with interchangeable lenses and give high quality images.

If you have a DSLR and a decent lens

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Try to avoid using the flash. It’s distracting and disrespectful to others. If you have a 35mm or 50mm prime lens, use it to your advantage. Raise the ISO to increase you shutter speed. You want your pictures to be as sharp as possible.

Practice

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You can hone your skills at home. It’s really simple. Make a meal or order out, and eat at the table. Try to adjust your lighting to resemble that of the restaurants you like to visit. Work on your shots and settings until you have more of an understanding of how to quickly set things up at restaurants. If you want to see what good plates look like, look at any food magazine or restaurant website. There you will get a good idea on how to compose your photos.

Preparing to get your photos

Use the internet to your advantage if you can for inspiration. Try to plan out what you want to eat. If you would like to get photos of more than one dish, bring a friend and let them know what you are doing. You will find things go faster if you prepare ahead of time.

When to Get your Foodie Photos

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there. If you get to a place at opening time, the wait staff and cooks are fresh and there are few people. You will definitely have a better photo experience, and you might be lucky enough to get a window seat, which affords much better lighting.

Help Others Help You

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If your wait staff makes your experience pleasant and you want to take more photos at the place, leave a decent tip. Your next visit will probably have better service. Not leaving a tip can earn you poor service in the future.

Writing About What You Ate

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Try your best to do a good write up. Don’t try to be a food critic. Just talk about the food in your picture and the experience. Be honest in your descriptions and whether food tasted good or not. If you don’t know a lot about the food, do the researches before you rip it apart. The food could be sublime to people who are used to eating it.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.