Ban Food Photography In Singapore?

Ban Food Photography In Singapore?

Report and Photo credit: Stomp Singapore. Click on this photo to see report and more photographs.

The growing phenomenon of taking photos before digging into your meal has sparked a debate, as patrons have a right to take pictures of their food just as much as restaurants have the right to ban it.

While Singapore has not enforced such a ban yet, the same can’t be said for restaurants in New York where photos and flash are not allowed, even if you are a paying customer.

According to a report on The New Paper, this is to protect the eateries’ ideas and avoid disturbing fellow diners.

While some places like Momofuku Ko in New York completely restrict food photography, other restaurants give more allowance. For instance, Chef’s Table only prohibits the use of flash.

Only a handful of dining places in Singapore have adopted the practice, such as the Tippling Club, a restaurant in Dempsey Hill.

It is a rule that has existed since its opening in 2008, as using flash in the dimly-lit restaurant can be disruptive to other customers.

Chef-owner Ryan Clift, 35, says he has encountered just three incidents of upset customers slamming the restaurant’s ban online.

Another concern he has is the poor quality of photos posted which he feels does injustice to the food served at his restaurant.

“The team of chefs took a long time to prepare the dishes and plate them. Then you see photos of half-eaten food that don’t even do justice to the dishes created and served,” he said.

While it may put customers off, restaurants have the right to ban food photography because ‘it’s their place and they can certainly make their own rules’.

However, food photography has also been described as ‘free advertising’ in which the restaurant can end up with many walk-in customers, especially since most photos tend to put the place in good light.

“It’s silly to try and control the kind of photos that appear online as restaurants are in a public place,” said Ms Angela Sim, managing director of PR agency ROI Strategy Consultants.

“You cannot change the culture (of food photography), so it’s smarter to go along with it instead of against it.”

Browse the gallery for more instances of food photography.

What do you think about this food photography culture, and are you part of it? Let us know in the comments below.

If you wish to comment on this article, click on the photograph above and it will redirect you there.

I am part of this food photography culture and I think it is silly to ban it (depending on the type/class of restaurants) totally even though I must agree we should be more discreet and not disturb other diners and that was the reason why I chose to sit al fresco (no other diners outside that night) when dining at En and as mentioned in the last sentence of the 3rd paragraph in my Irrashaimase post. I also do not use flash when taking photos of food. Does that make me a friendlier or acceptable blogger in the eyes of the restaurants who are against it?

Most of the bans are from upscale restaurants. Hawkers and street restaurants do not mind and the owners will also gladly pose a picture or two with you even. That is the reason I have chosen to do more posts on these friendly establishments. They know that when their food pictures are taken, that is because we love it. Upscale restaurants on the other hand have a “reputation” to fend and are weary of bad reviews.  I seldom if ever, do a post on restaurant review to criticise them just because the so called mighty “pen” is in my hand. I rather share places where I had good food and service in this space. The next few days of my blogging will not be on food review (let me see how the “ban” is working out) or recipes since I am not cooking this week. I feel quite defensive about this subject now, what if they really ban food photography in Singapore?

What’s your take on this issue?

Happy blogging 🙂

14 Responses to “Ban Food Photography In Singapore?”
  1. Sofia says:

    Hi Sam! Its actually funny that I’m writing something a post that sort of has to do with this now. The thing is that, ofcourse that now that I blog about food, I have no problems in taking out my camera and making photos of the food, I don’t usually care what others (not on my table) think, as everyone else is usually too busy to take note of what I’m doing anyway. But I don’t want to make things awkward for people on my table. But the worst thing is not that, its just most of the time I forget about taking out my camera anyway, or can’t be bothered 😦

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Sofia, thanks for the comment. I was actually quite upset about this but am feeling better. I don’t think they will enforce the ban but if they do, I might move to Malaysia, lol… I just started food photography and am really excited as any newbie would be so I never forget to bring out my camera. It’s on the table before the food arrives 😉

  2. Sofia says:

    Haha I hope you don’t to move to Malaysia because of that 😉 By the way, just letting you in that I lived in Singapore till I was 5, (my brother was born there). I’ve been there quite a few times since, and definitely love the food there!

  3. I think the same way as you. Banning it is a little silly, but patrons should exercise some common sense with the flash. I don’t like it to be obvious that I’m taking a photo, but then, when I’m in a restaurant enjoying my food, I hardly ever notice anyone taking photos unless they have a very bright flash or I’m purposefully looking around to see.

    But yeah, I’m not here to rag on anyone’s food, as much as possible the aim is to help diners find the food that they like, even if it’s not the kind of food that I like. That’s the point of a review I think.

    Besides, a photo only tells half the story, the food still has to taste good, and a bad taste review plus a rant about how the restaurant wouldn’t let the blogger take photos? That’s got to be worse.

  4. renxkyoko says:

    Oh. I didn’t know it was being banned , at some restaurants.

  5. I wouldn’t eat anywhere they tell me what to do.

  6. food before you eat, women before you kiss, road before you travel – bad karma to stop and click – they are for you, not the camera 😉

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