#FoodPorn: A Threat to Food Photographers?


It’s almost impossible today to go to a restaurant or cafe without seeing at least one person, probably in the 18 – 30 age bracket, partaking in #FoodPorn. A dictionary definition of this questionably-named act might read ‘the photographing and sharing a meal on social media, usually Instagram, in order to share with or gloat to followers and friends.’

With a name like #FoodPorn we’d take the hashtag with a pinch of salt (no pun intended). But is this a real threat to food photographers, like ourselves, who rely on caterers, food companies and restaurants for business? Wired’s Miguel Andrade hasn’t ruled the possibility out. He says “chefs are embracing [Instagram] in a big way. A shot of a new dish posted to their own accounts, or a diner’s, can cause reservations to spike. Stunning dishes, daring ingredients and thoughtful presentations add to the experience, and encourage people to post photos on their social media accounts.”

It’s no secret that many retailers, wholesalers and business-to-business users of social media are using platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to advertise and sell on a daily basis. But does this work with food? Andrade evidently believes so.

So is there still a need for specialist food photographers in the age of social media? For us social media is the ultimate in up-to-date, ephemeral information delivery. But would we share our entire portfolio on our Twitter page every day? Probably not. We have our website to host our images on a long-term basis, as do restauranteurs and other food specialists. We believe that whilst Instagram and other social platforms are helping restauranteurs and café owners with their ‘horse’s mouth’ approach, there will always be a need for properly styled images that live in the memory.

What do you think? Are Instagrammers’ food images more valuable to a food specialist than those of a professional photographer? Comment below or tweet us @Prodoto.

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