Foodography’s cravings for Social Media

I love cooking, eating what I cook, and… taking pictures of my culinary experiments. Every time I try a new recipe, I take a picture of the final result with my camera and post it on my Facebook page I have created with my friend Nicoletta. As an Italian/ Portuguese I am proud of my gastronomic heritage, but I love to experiment new recipes, at the same time. My kitchen is open-minded, pairing Italian tradition with flavors from around the world.

My Social Media Open Kitchen blog inevitably had to talk about Food Photography and Food Blogging. I am not sure if this can be considered as an industry per se, but as far as I know everybody craves for it!

Sharing food…a digital trend

Before the advent of Social Media and the digital cameras, Food Photography (called also “Foodography”) was limited to professional studio photographers and food stylists, hired for advertising and commercial purposes in order to shoot mouth-watering food still life. The combination of Social Media and digital and mobile devices has transformed this industry, as now potentially anybody can become a food photographer by posting and tweeting food photos, from homemade dishes to chefs’ creations.

The user friendly social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and more recently also Pinterest and Instagram have further amplified this trend; “by the end of 2010 more than 80 billion pictures were shared on social media” (360i, 2011). In 2005 I have participated on a forum where we shared recipes and pictures, but it was all about recipes. The situation is completely reversed now, as it is all about the pictures first.

Food Photography facts

Food Photography Infographic

Food Photography Infographic from Flowtown-Dine-and-Dish

Here are some interesting facts about the relationship between Food Photography and Social Media. The 360i survey reveals that:

  • 52% of people take photos with mobile phones at least once a month” (360i, 2011);
  • 19% of people upload food photos on the web at least once a month” (360i, 2011);
  • 25% of people use the food photos as Food Diary and 22% for Self Creation Documentation” (360i, 2011).

The infographic created by Flowtown (based on 2012 data, in partnership with Column Five) reveals that:

  • 49% of surveyed consumers learn about food through social networks”;
  • 29% of social media consumers are on social networks while they eat or drink home”;
  • 9% have downloaded a mobile food app in the past year”.

The 360i analysis in 2011 had another interesting finding: “only 12% of the photos had a brand mention”. This low percentage reveals that food industry brands have to use this huge potential to further improve their brand presence in the food photo sharing and blogging communities.

Food Photography: the starter’s toolkit

It is easy to get started: all you need is a digital camera (even better a digital reflex camera with a good macro lens) and a photo editing tool. For beginners I can recommend Google’s Picasa which has nice editing features.

For smartphone users I would definitely suggest to take the pictures with Instagram which has built-in filters, and pictures are easy to share on social media. Always make sure to use natural light and use filters that preserve the colors as natural as possible.

Sharing your pictures has become very easy, too; the only thing you need to do is to create at least one account on one social media network, e.g.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. For example, Instagram users can upload pictures on Facebook and Twitter instantly. Facebook pages like Food&Wine invite its fans to post photos on their page, or to participate to give-away contests.  The feedback from food community members is precious, as it helps to improve your skills. Photographic skills can be improved also thanks to a variety of tutorials available on youtube, or books dedicated to Food Photography.

Once you feel confident with your Food Photography skills, you can jump to the next level and start a Food Blog. WordPress offers some free and premium templates, like Delicious Magazine or Vintage Kitchen that are dedicated to Food Photography and Blogging.

The blogosphere is crowded with food photography bloggers; each of them has started blogging in a different way. You will find famous chefs like Jamie Oliver, who started a food blog and published videos, not only to increase his audience, but also to support his Food Revolution in schools. One of my favorite bloggers is the photographer Heidi Swanson who started to use her blog  as a recipe journal in 2003; since then she won several awards and published two great cookbooks (my friend Nicoletta recommended them to me!)

There is all you need to get started!

What are your favorite Food Blogs? Do you have any recipe to share? Or do you rather create your foodie pinboards on Pinterest?



References are available on this page

11 thoughts on “Foodography’s cravings for Social Media

  1. Great post!! I work in the food industry, but unfortunetly for me I am not a great cook so I am impressed with what you have done. Food art is a great way to expand a line of food product especially if you are using SM to do it. People eat with their eyes so it is extremely important to visually show off the product you want people to buy. Sometimes the prices is not always what closes the deal! 🙂

    • Thank you, Mel. You are right about Food Art and the importance on how food needs to be presented for advertising purposes. I have still a lot to learn, especially continue to practice on correct lighting and an attractive composition. Cooking takes practice, but I am sure you will get there. Maybe you are just waiting for the right inspiration!

  2. Very cool. Your passion for cooking and food is very clear here and on your Facebook presence. Your post is well written and well supported. I could really see your blog taking off! I think the link to the reference page really works well.

    • Thank you! You are right, food and cooking are my passion, all my memories since childhood are connected also to food memories. I grew up influenced by different cooking traditions from Italy, Portugal and Germany, cooking and sharing these dishes with my friends in the U.S. provide a great conversation starter (as I mentioned in my introduction to the class).

    • Thank you, SetSail! There is a German proverb “Liebe geht durch den Magen” whose meaning is “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Does this sound familiar to you?

  3. Since I don’t cook much, I don’t read too many food blogs. However, I would love some sort of tutorial about how to cut a darn avocado without destroying it. Maybe a blog (or vlog) post idea for you?

    Also, I love Camera+ on my iphone and and use them often on my blog. I never publish a post without a pic. Images make blog posts more clickable!

    • Great idea! We eat avocados almost every week, and I have my method of cutting avocados without destroying it! I will try with the step-by-step pictures first. Thanks for your suggestiones, I haven’t tried yet, but I will take a look at it for sure.

  4. Linda, this is awesome! I am not a foodie (though I do LOVE to eat), but you made this really accessible even for the non-pros. And I love the infographic. Great data and great support for it. I heard on the radio recently that pictures of food are the top category of photos (beyond kids, scenery, etc.) people have on their cell phones. I’m sure it’s true!

    • Thank you! I am also quite confident that food photography is very popular. I also have more photos with food, than photos of my kids. At dinner time my husband has learned to wait patiently before he gets his plate after I am done with the shooting session!

  5. Pingback: 2012 in review and happy blogging in 2013! « Social Media Open Kitchen

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