The Kitchen Think: Fed Up with Foodie Cell Phone Photographers


Mama’s guilty. I’ve done it many times. I’m sure you have, too… at least once. Now I’ve come to believe it’s just plain rude. 

I’m talking about taking cell phone photos of your food in restaurants.

Bad Image

What is this anyway?

What’s most annoying? The flash. If you need a flash, then you don’t have enough light, which means your image is going to be slightly out of focus and look like an overexposed hot mess.

So you snagged a great table at the hottest place in town. I’m sure you’ve already Tweeted and put your plans on your Facebook page. Is it really that urgent that all of your 4,321 friends know you’re eating sweetbreads AT THAT VERY MOMENT?

Many restaurants are making it simple: No cellphones. That’s actually a blessing in abundance: No texting. No phone calls. No photos.

Mama can hear your complaints already: “But it’s free advertising for the restaurant,” and “I’m just giving the chef a shout-out for her creativity.” Baloney. You have a toy and you want to use it because you think you’re creating art. This is what I mean:

I’m not deluded. You’ll continue to Instagram everything that’s served you so you can Pin It and put it on your Tumblr feed. There are entire websites and Facebook pages dedicated to making your foodie cell phone images look better. But there are also a few Cell Phone Food Photography Hater pages, too. So can we all agree on a few things?

  • Obey the restaurant’s rules. If the restaurant says no cellphones, then put it away.
  • No flash. Turn the flash off before you point the phone at the plate. If the image looks bad without a flash, the Party Gods are sending you a message. Don’t move your plate around or stand on your chair to get a better angle.
  • Be discreet. Don’t make a production of it. One shot… two tops. And remember: No Flash.
  • Respect other diners. If they give you dirty looks, stop. They’re there to have an enjoyable meal, too.
  • Ask if the restaurant can send you some images. Better still, go to their website. Most likely, those are professional images (but give credit where credit it due).

What do you think? Do you agree? Would you eat in a restaurant that bans cellphones?



I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: