I’ve been to some great restaurants over the years and have lugged a camera with me all the way from Alinea to per se to Trotter’s to ad hoc and everywhere in-between. I have yet to run into a restaurant that forbid me to take photos. Of course, I work very hard to keep it discrete.
I almost never shoot with a flash. I try never to use a flash under any circumstance. I typically use a point and shoot (Canon 790 or Canon G9) but have used a DSLR (Canon 350D) from time to time. The key is to stabilize the camera in low light situations and I’ll use whatever is handy – from the tops of water glasses to plates to anything that can help me frame the shot I want. Once you stabilize the camera then almost any image is possible.]]>
Using a good digital camera, not using the flash (the candlelight setting works beautifully instead), making sure to respect other diners’ privacy and being respectful of the Chef all goes a long way towards creating a positive experience in the restauarant owner/G.M.’s mind.
So far I’ve only had one owner ask for ‘approval rights’ before I published anything on my blog.
He then sent me pictures he preferred for me to use, which frankly I thought did not do justice to the food anywhere near as well as mine had.
Most restaurants/Chefs are happy to have the publicity, and the marketing tools that bloggers provide via their writing and food photographs.
People tend to drool over my photos – but I think it is because the presentation is so lovely the majority of the time.
It isn’t my picture that necessarily made the food gorgeous – it came out that way thanks to the thought, effort and care of the Chef
That said: most restaurants have low light. No P&S camera can take a good exposure in low light without flash. Flash photos annoy people at other tables. (They probably annoy people at your table who are too polite to say so.)
So if you’re taking P&S photos without flash at your table, why? If it’s just so you’ll remember the components of what you ate, fine. But scads of people post these terrible photos to their blogs. Why do they do this? I don’t get it.
Many blogs have extremely high-quality photos, so this is not meant as a blanket indictment. Hillel, what are your tips for good restaurant photography? Yours is not what I’m dissing here.]]>