Soho based restaurant, Dirty Bones, have created “foodie Instagram packs” where diners can borrow portable LED camera light, a multi-device charger, a clip-on wide angle camera lens, and a tripod selfie stick. Is this the dream for bloggers and foodie photographers, or is this a step too far in “doing it for the ‘gram”?
Whether you’re a blogger, or just a social media user, chances are, if you have Instagram, you’ve probably used it to share pictures of what you’re eating. Social reach is a huge tool for restuarants now and diners sharing their meals can be a great, free way to encourage more customers. More and more young people check out a restaurant’s Instagram presence before deciding to visit. Keen users will even deliberately select or reject dishes, or whole venues, based on pretty they’ll look in their grid.
While some restaurants have rejected this trend and have banned people from taking photographs, far more are going all out to encourage the insta-shares. Most places make sure their dishes and the restaurant itself are looking their best, while others will share their Instagram handle or hashtags on menus, or on signage around the venue.
This move from Dirty Bones is very different to what other venues have done before. In a statement from a spokesperson, they said, “More and more people are also using Instagram to help them decide where to eat, so as a restaurant group it’s key for us to make sure that people are getting the best possible shots of all our dishes and drinks”.
As a blogger, a part of me is quite excited by this. While I tend to use my camera more than my phone for food snaps, I, and every food blogger I know, has bewailed the trend of orange tinged lighting in cool venues, which makes taking nice photos of food a real challenge. Having a little portable light on hand (instead of another blogger with their phone torch diffused through a napkin…yes, we do this for each other) in order to battle the orange curse does sound very attractive, and would make my photography easier. Available chargers is also a nice touch; bloggers are permanently online. Go to dinner with bloggers and everyone is busily updating three or four different social channels, trying to get a good boomerang and snapping pictures, and all that activity chews battery. Perhaps clip on lenses and tripods is a bit far (but for shorties like me, the tripod for that all important flatlay is quite exciting…) and I can see bloggers and social addicts alike using these kits.
On the other side, I also wonder if it’s too far. Of course I want to great photos for my social channels and my blog, and obviously I’m not adverse to sharing pictures of my dinner. But with all that kit, are we going to end up forgetting what we’re actually there for, which is to eat. By the time you’ve got your kit, set up lights, clipped your lens on, set up the tripod, rearranged the table to look as good as possible and snapped all those photos, is the food you’re eating still going to be at it’s best? Are you actually getting the best experience spending twenty minutes photographing a sexy burger that’s cold before you can eat it? Are people going to use these kits on dates? Out for lunch with their mum?
I’d love a kit like this provided for actual blogger events, or pre-arranged reviews, but I’m not sure I’d want one for somewhere I was just visiting. But, if those Instagram shares are so integral to businesses looking to attract the young and cool set, is this kit just a very sensible idea in order to get the best representation possible? Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is. What do you think? Would you use this kit?