I’m always the friend grumbling quietly (or not so quietly) in my chair waiting for everyone to finally finish photographing our food. I’m actually pretty sure that I’ve yelled at a friend in an embarrassing #hangry mood for making me wait even longer to eat the food I just bought. I’ve pretty much always adamantly opposed what I thought were tacky, usually underexposed Instagrams of lackluster food.
But no more.
I think my true change in opinion starting during my photography internship with Atlanta Magazine. It became an almost weekly occurrence to tag along on a professional photo-shoot for food of some sort. From photographing stacks of cupcakes to photographing tables full of dishes compiled from across the city, I saw all sorts of food photography. The team would work to find ways to make photographing even just slices of pizza unique and exciting.
Through them, I learned that food photography can be pretty and even unique if you put enough effort in. And even if it isn’t, what’s the harm?
The final change in my opinion, though, had to be when I read about recent research on how photographing your food can actually improve your satisfaction with the food. Led by researchers Sean Coary, Ph.D., and Morgan Poor, Ph.D., the study found that photographing your meal prior to eating it leads to increased gratification, especially when the meal is indulgent.
The study also found that scrolling through photos of other people’s healthy food could make the participants more excited about eating healthy themselves. So maybe your friend that posts all of her chai bowls and veggie plates is actually helping others to make healthy choices in their day.
Food photography is actually a huge trend on Instagram at the moment. Besides your friend who diligently posts every meal they eat out, there’s hundreds of Instagram accounts dedicated to creative food photography with hundreds of thousands of followers. From artists who stylize food like Samantha Lee to restaurant reviewers like The Infatuation, these accounts have amassed huge followings with devoted fans who interact with them daily.
Even without the research study and the creative photography trend, though, the battle had already been done and I had accepted the fact that photographing your food was something I had to stop fighting. Because if it makes someone happy, does it matter that I had to wait another two minutes to eat?