Friday, May 21, 2010

Confessions of a Food Blogger: to pic or not to pic?

I was in a good mood.  Things were going well for me the whole day.  I have planned for this dinner for almost a week, and made sure I got my camera battery charged, placed it in my bag, and strolled my way to the restaurant with excitement.

I had this gut feeling that I should ask permission to take pictures which I don't normally do otherwise, its stated or posted across the walls. (me and my big mouth) .  And of course, I got a big NO. 

I just enjoyed my dinner with HT hubby but of course, i was a little bit disappointed of not being able to take wonders of the food.  (as i'm really a fan of this place)

When I got home and searched for the restaurant where i was forbidden to take clicks, guess what?  There were a number of pictures posted by bloggers.  So I'm not sure what is really the norms here or maybe, I shouldn't have ask then I have no reason not to take pictures?

My fellow food blogger friends, tell me, which is the proper way?  Do we ask for permission if we can take pictures, or we just take pictures unless there is a sign of no photography?  Let me know your thoughts and experiences so that we amateur bloggers can learn the best way, to protect the reputation of food blogging.


  1. i usually just take pictures without asking, unless my actions attract the attention of the staff. i've never been stopped from taking pictures so far, probably cos i rarely visit restaurants. but in the situation that i have mentioned, i'll ask if i'm allowed to take photos.

    sometimes i don't get to photograph my food, or take good pics cos my family think it's weird

    haha at tatsuya, the itamae was looking at me amusingly when i whipped out my phone to take pictures. he cheerfully granted me permission to take photos and even volunteered to take a photo of me with my food (:

  2. hey Lorraine, just my thoughts here. I respect the restaurateur's no photography stance. If it's stated no photography allowed & if I know even before I dine in the restaurant that they disallow photography, I'd either ask politely for permission or not take at all. I won't sneak photography as I'm really not bothered even if I can't photograph my food. I think a good food blog do not need to rely on photos to prove its worth. Words speak louder than pictures. I've touched on this topic before in few of my past posts.

    I don't advocate taking pictures of the restaurant's interior & surroundings either as I feel it's kinda impolite to impose on the restaurant's property. An analogy would be, say an outsider taking photos of your abode without your permission. I generally only take pictures of my food.

    As for Nanbantei, yes they don't allow photography.

  3. Hi Stargirl, thanks for sharing your experience. Same here, when I'm with my colleagues, they find it weird that i'm taking pictures of my food. haha So usually, i just give it some quick shots.

    Hi Ice! Thanks for your insights here. I know you're one of the senior bloggers here *haha sounds like a profession* I guess, I always associate food blogs with pictures and words, if one is missing, then its kinda incomplete. I do respect the restaurant's decision, but i was just surprise with the pictures over the internet. If Nanbantei, doesn't allow photography, then it was good that I ask.

  4. I can empathise bec I usually just take photos without asking unless I see a no photography sign. On occasions when the wait staff politely stop me I just concentrate on my meal and my dinning partners welcome the break :). There was once I was commanded by a waitress with a very condescending tone and I had to remind her of the need of mutual respect before I deleted the photos. After all, dining is meant to be a happy experience and so I will try my best to resolve any issue as elegantly as possible.

  5. Hi PY, thanks! This is a good feedback! And thanks for emphatizing with me, I thought I was a bit weird to be disappointed, after all, it's the dining experience and the food that matters most.

  6. I agree with Ice and whenever anybody is caught in such a dilemma, just ask yourself. Your house is beautifully renovated and your friend, without asking start taking pictures of every single corner of your house, how would you feel? What's more, a stranger whom you first met.

    There is no right or wrong to whether one ask for permission or not but rather how comfortable you want to be when dining. To me, the last thing I want was to be told off, hence risking to foul my mood. Don't forget, the staff in any restaurants or shops and even security guards in shopping malls have the rights to stop photography.

    I have been told off before and seriously I felt very embarrassed. Since then, I always make it a point to ask, once the intent is made known, I feel more comfortable to take pictures or if photography is not allowed, at least I know I will not be caught in an awkward position or risk ruining my meal for no reason.

    At the end of the day, do we eat for the sake of blogging or eat for pleasure and leisure?

  7. Hi Fen! Thanks for sharing. Noted all the points.

  8. Hmm, for me, I don't ask first. I just take and be prepared to be told there's a no photography policy, to which I would politely and humbly obey. I know what you mean by it spoiling the mood quite a bit, but what I always tell myself then is: okay, hot food time, it's been a while too! :)

  9. Thanks Harris! This is the same advice by HT hubby. Just take pictures if there's no sign and if i'm told not to, then just follow the rules. Thanks, I think this would work well for me and for the establishment. Just makes everyone happy! :) Appreciate your sharing!