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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.



Sam: Instawhat? Why are you uploading pictures of food?

In our current age of social media, we have a host of different social networking sites that offer us many fun and interesting distractions from that pesky research paper or that looming final exam. Just from scrolling down our news feeds, we see our friends’ lives laid out on our screens in the form of statuses, posts, hashtags, comments…and pictures. For example, Instagram has made editing photos incredibly easier. It’s a fun and easy way to snap a picture, slap a fancy filter on it, and share these cool pictures with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. I’m all for snapping a shot of you and your friends getting ready for a girls’ night out in Princeton, or catching how vividly red the leaves by the lake are, or documenting those Friday night bands at the Rat. Photo sharing becomes a nice way to remember a moment and make it look nice and super artsy. I see really awesome pictures of cool events my friends have gone to, beautiful sunsets, and hilarious throwbacks from childhood days.

But it seems that a new trend is evolving out of photo sharing, and pictures of food are blowing up my social networking news feed. It seems that a lot of my Facebook and Instagram friends love posting pictures of their artistically designed dinner, or a Starbucks coffee cup, or (and this is a popular one) sushi rolls. And then they have captions like these:

#yum, #icancooknow, #dontknowifthisisedible, #betyourejealous, #quimbysmysterymeat, #fiftheickcookietoday, #mealequivrocks, #waitedtwohoursforthisattherat.

While the hashtag captions are sometimes amusing, I don’t particularly want to see five different shots of your bowl of macaroni and cheese, with a kitschy hashtag. I also don’t find it particularly cute when I see people posting inane comments on these photos, such as:

OMG I want to eat that or you fail at cooking lol.

Where’s the artistry? What does your food tell me about your life other than what you had for dinner? Explanation? Because I’d love to get one.

Julia: A fan of “tasteful” food photos

There’s nothing like opening Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook only to find a gigantic picture of the salad your friend ate today – in the “Valencia” filter. Snapping shots of favorite foods and creating a virtual menu of sandwiches, pasta, and my personal favorite, dessert, is the latest trend to hit social media. Sure, not everyone needs to see your ham sandwich, but if done correctly, Instagram and TwitPics can serve as a mouthwatering virtual-photo album of sorts. Besides, in this social media age full of artistically filtered photos, how can you not Instagram pictures of food? 

I’m proud to say that I upload pictures of food, but I don’t do it for every meal. The goal isn’t to annoy my followers. The photos I upload have to be of something I find delicious and a meal I want to remember. I would never Intagram a salad I scrambled to put together in five minutes (because honestly, it probably wouldn’t look too good), but a delicious succulent burger with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, and mushrooms on a fluffy poppyseed bun with a side of fries and macaroni salad that I got at a local restaurant? Yum. Yeah, I would (and have!) upload(ed) that. 

The thing about food social media photography is that it has to be done correctly. Using a different angle to really capture the delicious nooks of a chocolate-fudge cupcake can make food photos go from irritating to a follower-favorite. It’s also sometimes best to stray from filters, which make the food – or really anything – look unnatural. Who really wants to see a picture of heavily darkened cheesecake anyway? I don’t seek to show everybody each part of my day through food, but I will try to capture the essence of a dessert that I warrant to be absolutely fantastic. 

While some people find pictures of nature to be beautiful, others feast the dinner plate. To each their own, after all.  But remember, you don’t need to show every last meal you’ve eaten. It has to be unique – and not the sandwich you made for dinner!