Why You Should Snap Your Food


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Secret Week is going strong here on BTR and I thought it might be fun to delve just a bit into some of the physical reactions linked to taking pictures of our food. While it should come as no shock that so many people are Instagramming their food, the actual physical effects it has on us can vary.

On the one hand, it is argued that taking the photos–or really committing to any kind of pre-dining ritual–can enhance our experience. However, it is also argued that viewing others’ photos of food can “increase our sense of satiation,” making us feel less hungry and less likely to enjoy our own meal.

But science aside, I want to encourage those who cook to take part in both snapping pictures of what you eat as well as looking at photos others have uploaded. I’ll be the first to admit that I am no professional photographer. My Instagram is surprisingly not riddled exclusively with Dish + Drink photos and I hardly ever took pictures of my food before eating it prior to becoming a food blogger.

Yet once I became more and more interested in cooking my own meals, I found myself considering presentation simply for the art of the photos and this led to an increased enjoyment of those meals. Food presentation, with or without photography, is a component to consider when it comes to enhancing our appetites.

It’s one thing to take photos of your meals when you dine out, but it’s an entirely different ball game when you are considering just whipping up something quick at home. For me, there’s always at least some kind of ritual to eating something at home, even if it’s just a sandwich.

If that sandwich has a runny egg or melty cheese, I’ll cut it in half and let the insides ooze a little. Snap a photo of that and suddenly it stops feeling like just a thrown-together sandwich. With that said, I do enjoy it more on the occasion when I not only take a picture of it, but I send it as a Snapchat. Encouraging responses from friends gives me the opportunity to indulge a little in sharing what I made–even if it’s only virtually–and I feel a genuine confidence boost.

All things considered, though, I would steer clear of checking out loads of Instagram photos of something specific right before cooking it. If it’s even slightly possible that doing so reduces our desire for that flavor, I’ll not take the risk.

But when you’re just looking for some inspiration, Instagram and Pinterest are great places to go. It has helped stimulate me into brainstorming some of my best recipes, so I certainly would suggest it. Truth be told, the food photography craze isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Food porn is still in high demand and there’s no concrete reason not to join in on the fun.