The next time you’re sitting at the table of a nice restaurant, giddy with excitement when the waiter brings you your food, stop yourself before you whip out your phone and take a moment to think. Does the world really need to see another photo of avocado toast?
The reality is, no one cares what you eat.
You may think that the 226 likes you got on the last Instagram post you hashtagged with “food” tell a different story, but you’d be wrong. No one cares.
Social media has developed a strange sense of responsibility in some of us, especially millennials, to show the world what we’re eating all the time. But before your phone could take such high quality pictures, did you ever ring your friends when you sat down to eat to let them know what was on your plate? Of course you didn’t.
That’s because no one is closely monitoring all of your meals to make sure you’re eating all the right things. And aren’t you glad of that? Maybe that kale quinoa salad with blueberry-acai dressing looks impressive, but it also creates a specific image that you want to share with the world. After all, there’s a reason you’re not Instagramming that bowl of ice cream that you’re guiltily snacking on at midnight (unless, of course, it’s #vegan #glutenfree and you can just #latergram it).
How do your friends and followers even know the food was any good? Did you even eat it? We never get to see your empty plate afterward.
Even if a cook has put a lot of effort into food presentation, the best compliment you can give is by eating it all up. Maybe you should be sharing photos of your meal once it’s done instead, when all you have left to show for it is your squeaky clean plate. That couple that just sat down at the table next to you aren’t going to see that Snapchat story of your cacio e pepe, but they might ask the waiter to bring them whatever you had if you can’t stop raving about how good it was.
If you really can’t kick the habit of letting the world know that you’re sitting down to a meal, here are some suggestions for what you could be taking pictures of instead to give your photo album a bit of diversity:
- The restaurant’s décor: Restaurants aren’t just about the food – they also provide customer experiences that are more memorable than simply eating at home. So instead of worrying about snapping the perfect photo before your food gets cold, use your waiting time to find something notable about your surroundings to photograph instead.
- Your dining companion enjoying their food: Seeing another photo of a plate of food from above is boring. Instead, wait for the ideal moment to snap your friend slurping up a piece of spaghetti. If your argument for food photos is that it helps to promote the restaurant, you can still tag your friend as being there, but you get a much more entertaining photo of your experience.
- Your view: If you’re going to all of these fancy restaurants, some of them must have a great view of a mountain or ocean from their patios. Take a picture of the nature that your food came from.
- Your pile of dirty dishes: Sure, you may get to eat a beautiful plate of homemade ravioli stuffed with mushrooms and served with a goat cheese and honey sauce. But show us a picture of all the dishes you needed to make your exquisite meal, or your stovetop covered in spills after you let the oil get too hot.
- Your guests: Did you really make that four-course meal all for yourself? While we all need to indulge ourselves sometimes, chances are you have company at your table when you make a big spread at home. Instead of chronicling every plate you serve yourself, show how much your guests are enjoying themselves around your food.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that all those likes on your food photos mean anything. You could add #cleaneating to a photo of a deep-fried Mars bar and get similar results. So don’t worry about getting that perfect shot of your pumpkin spice latte and zucchini chocolate cake in just the right lighting with just the right filters – no one cares. Just enjoy your meal and your company. You don’t need a food photo to remind you of your happy experiences.