With the advent of mobile smartphones, taking pictures on-the-go has become commonplace. So common in fact, that an entire site dedicated to mobile images has become extremely popular. Of course, I am talking about Instagram. Unlike other image sites such as Flickr or even image uploads on Facebook, you can only upload images to Instagram from a mobile device. This restriction attests to the vast upswing in smartphone ownership. According to Pew Research Center, 58% of American adults have a smartphone. Additionally, 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.”
With a smartphone, taking pictures is a breeze. Each year, smartphones become smarter and, for customers that want higher-quality images, certain phones offer better cameras. However, for the purposes of uploading a quick photo to the Internet, even a basic smartphone can handle the job. Instagram is all about images. It is billed as a “fun and quirky way to share your life” with your friends. The Instagram app is completely free. You can view it on a computer but only upload from your mobile device. The app connects to your camera and you upload photos from there. Easy, peezy.
Commercial Use of Instagram
Marketers know that images are powerful. And not surprisingly businesses are using Instagram as a way to market. Certain industries such as entertainment, fashion, travel and food lend themselves to quick photo uploads as a source of fun and sharing. Since the number of people uploading photos as they go about their day has increased, these industries are reorganizing themselves to look good in the mobile limelight. A good example of this behavior is evident in the restaurant and catering industry. Since many people try new restaurants due to their friends’ recommendations, some eateries are creating camera cuisine–food that looks beautiful on camera for a digital photo op.
Sacrificing Taste for Beauty
In an excellent article in The New York Times, restaurant reviewer Pete Wells discusses the changes in restaurant kitchens and meal presentations due to the influx of food visuals as enticements to try new cuisine. While presentation has always been the purview of top chefs, the use of smartphone technology has upped the game. However, the true test of an excellent chef is the taste of the food in conjunction with the presentation. If taste is sacrificed for beauty, restaurant goers might as well stay at home.
Fun and Quirky
Instagram has a point when they say that using the site should be fun and quirky. Whether you hire nutrition writers to post restaurant reviews for your site or you just like posting images of a new dish at your favorite restaurant, food images should represent tasty and beautiful food that you enjoy eating and sharing with friends and family.
Paula A can usually be found in her favorite chair with her feet propped up on an ottoman quietly typing on her laptop and sipping iced coffee while chaos reigns around her.