Instagram Abuse — Stop Giving Food Photography a Bad Name

Instagram is getting out of control and unfortunately, those who have love for food are the biggest offenders.

Sure it can be annoying to see the same recycled Myspace-angled head shots from every girl who owns a smart phone, but let’s face it, we’ve dealt with that since, well, Myspace. I’m over it and just keep scrolling down when I see those photos.

However, as a food fanatic and a food writer, it pains me to see food get a bad rap and be used like a cheap Myspace head shot. There are certain food pictures that just don’t need to be posted.

Let me back up a bit and tell you how I came across this frustration with Instagram.

I was at the grocery store buying some Flaming Hot Cheetos and aloe vera juice. There was a girl in front of me at check-out who was buying a box of dried apricot halves, and I think you know where this is going. She couldn’t even wait until the cashier gave her the receipt before she excitedly snapped a shot of her little box of apricots and proceeded to post it on Instagram. Immediately, I thought to myself, ‘Who in their right mind cares that this girl just bought a box of freakin’ dried apricots?’ Granted, I didn’t get to see her post up-close. Maybe apricots are a sentimental fruit that remind her of her childhood, or maybe she’s on some crazy apricot diet where she eats 26 servings of dried apricot a day. But more than likely, she’s just an irresponsible Instagramer who posts up every stupid thing they eat.

Hell, I’ll admit to falling into the craziness. I posted a picture of my breakfast a few weeks back and it wasn’t until days later that I thought to myself, ‘Did I really post up a picture of my breakfast?’ There wasn’t any deep significance to it. I mean, yeah, I bashed bacon and claimed sausage links to be its superior, but it was a ludicrous post nonetheless.

… you probably link your Instagram photos to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, so now you made yourself look bad in four different social networks.

Here is a quick rundown of DON’Ts and DOs on Instagram:


  • Post up pictures of every Caramel Frappuccino you get from Starbucks. You’re doing it wrong.
  • Post pictures of every beer can/bottle you’ve ever drank out of. You’re doing it wrong.
  • Post pictures of the bag of chips that just made you ‘a fatty.’ You’re doing it wrong.
  • Post up pictures of your bag of: McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out (on the west coast), or White Castle (on the east coast). You’re not a commercial.
  • Post up pictures of your dinner every night. Eventually, it feels kind of sad that it has become a daily ritual of yours.
  • Post up pictures of a simple, bland food that no one cares about. E.g., dried apricots!

However, Do…

  • Post up picture of some crazy looking food that you and your friends made. Be proud of your creations and show them off.
  • Post up pictures of your meal at a landmark restaurant. There’s nothing wrong with making your friends jealous.
  • Post up pictures of food with a witty caption under it.
  • Post up pictures of you and your friends, or family at a restaurant. Any time you’re out with friends or family, pictures are archives. Even if you’re just eating some pepperoni pizza at a local no-name, there’s significance to that photo.
  • Post up pictures of a cool, new food item you’re eating. (Not just trying to cover my ass for posting so many pictures of Taco Bell’s Dorito’s Locos Tacos.)

That might seem like a lot to drink in, but at least I’m not like the guys over at The Key of Awesome, whose Eat It, Don’t Tweet It video below makes fun of posting ANY hipster-like foodie photos.

It’s not fair for anyone to have to look like an un-creative, irresponsible smart phone user. Plus, you probably link your Instagram photos to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, so now you made yourself look bad in four different social networks. And if you agree, feel free to steal that last sentence and quote it on your social network of choice.

We have a lot of power at our fingertips. This isn’t a cry for everyone to be professional photographers, but is it too much to ask for that there be some thought behind our photos instead of just having an, “Everyone should see that I just bought apricots,” mentality?

There should be at least some small bit of significance to your photos. We are getting closer and closer to giving food photography a bad name.

I’m never going to look back at my pictures and say, ‘Oh, man I made an amazing omelette that day.’ (Actually, I might be that much of a loser.) That girl at the grocery store isn’t going to look back at her photos in a couple of years and think, ‘Oh, I remember that time I bought dried apricots!’ And you’re probably never going to look back and remember that particular Frappuccino.

With all that said, if you do have any awesome food photos we’d love to see them @foodbeast. Heck, we might even post them on our top Instagram photos of the week posts.

And to the inevitable snarky commenter, no I don’t have something against dried apricots, or Caramel Fraps.

I hate to sound like a cheesy Above the Influence ad, but please think before you press “upload.”

[Thx for the photos Statigram]

By Isai Rocha

Isai is the self-proclaimed Kanye West of burrito eating. He has a hard time trusting vegans, ranch dressing and especially vegan ranch dressing.

3 replies on “Instagram Abuse — Stop Giving Food Photography a Bad Name”

I think the Instagram trend that’s annoying me the most is the picstitch photo collages. So, now instead of seeing some regular combo with fries/chips and a drink, we get to see the sandwich in one window, the side in a second window, then in the third window the drink or restaurant logo. I know someone who did this with the breakfast she cooked, and I just thought “Really?!”

Leave a Reply