Is It Rude To Take Photos Of Your Food In A Restaurant?

Since the earliest days of photo sharing, shutterbugs have been posting images of their restaurant meals online for all to see. That behavior has only become more common through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and whatever other service was launched yesterday. Now some chefs say it’s gone too far.

“It’s reached epic proportions,” a spokesman for a number of New York City restaurants tells the NY Times. “Everybody wants to get their shot. They don’t care how it affects people around them.”

One of the celeb chefs he reps is David Bouley, who says that when people pull out their cameras — some even going so far as to stand on their chairs to get a bird’s eye shot — “It’s a disaster in terms of momentum, settling into the meal, the great conversation that develops… It’s hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes.”

Brooklyn Fare, a tiny little restaurant where all 18 diners sit at one large table in the kitchen, banned food photography in the last year. The eatery’s owner says that some customers are not happy about the policy.

“Some people are arrogant about it,” he tells the Times. “They don’t understand why. But we explain that it’s one big table and we want the people around you to enjoy their meal. They pay a lot of money for this meal. It became even a distraction for the chef.”

Even his offer to provide customers with professionally taken photos the next day doesn’t satisfy them: “People want to e-mail their photos to their friends right then and there; instant gratification.”

A woman who teaches a class in iPhone food photography (Yes, this is an actual thing.) says that the first rule she gives to her students is “no flash.” Not only do some consider it rude, especially in dark restaurants, but it often makes the food look like a mess.

For his part, Chef Bouley is trying to appease food photogs and keep things civil in his dining room. He tells the Times that he’ll sometimes invite people to take photos of their meal in the kitchen. He’s also working on a system that would provide customers with pics of their food before they finish eating.