Perhaps you’ve seen this article talking about how certain restaurants are banning the use of photography by diners. Honestly, I think it’s silly. Dining in a restaurant isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. Really, it’s not the same as it was 10 years ago. Back then, people weren’t taking out their phones and checking their emails, or checking a game score, or even checking a text. (Okay maybe a text did happen ten years ago but that wasn’t that common yet.) Technology has made its way into the restaurant environment, like it or not.
So how does taking a quick snapshot of my food with my phone make any sort of difference? Is it different than taking a picture of my dining partner or the group that I’m with? I may be taking out my phone (which is emitting light) for a different reason, one that the restaurant encourages, like using a Groupon or checking in on Foursquare. Why is that okay and not distracting but taking a picture is not?
That said, when I do take pictures at restaurants, I try to be discreet about it. I judge each unique restaurant situation on whether or not I feel it’s appropriate to take a picture. For me, that mainly has to do with two things – the amount of light in the restaurant and the company I’m with.
If a restaurant is too dark, the pictures aren’t going to look good. I don’t like using the flash for two reasons – I do think it’s distracting to others and also it makes the pictures look bad. I’ll sometimes take a picture sans flash and lighten it up in Photoshop but that never looks really great ether. So if a restaurant is dark, I usually keep my phone hidden in my purse.
I’m more likely to take pictures if I’m just with Jason because he knows that’s what I do. Let’s face it, it’s weird to take pictures of your food. If you’re reading this, you might do it too, but to the rest of the world, it’s kinda strange! Sometimes I just don’t want to explain myself, so I keep the camera away.
That said, I think if I’m dining in a restaurant, giving them my money, I should be allowed to have the experience that I want to have and if that includes taking a picture of my veggie burger and blogging about it later on, I should be allowed to do so. Really, it’s good publicity for the restaurant. I’m much more likely to write a blog post talking about something that was really delicious (and showing the picture) than something that was really horrible.
What are your thoughts on taking pictures in restaurants?