05/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

3 Rules for Camera-Happy Diners (aka Food Bloggers)

Dear BA Foodist:

Isn't it time for restaurants to step in and ask diners to cool it with the mid-meal photography? I know everyone loves playing foodie photog for their blogs and Twitter accounts, but at some point, isn't enough enough?

Sarah Rayer, Philadelphia

Dear Sarah:

These days it seems like everyone is a food paparazzo, and nothing brings a meal to a screeching halt quite like a food fanatic who must document every dish before letting you eat. Which, last time I checked, is the whole reason for going out. Okay, so as a food writer on assignment I've been known to snap a few shots to jog my memory at a later date. No harm, right? I always try to do it without anyone noticing, and I never use a flash. Using a flash in a restaurant is like letting your cell phone ring during a performance of Hedda Gabler on Broadway--a buzz kill that ruins the experience for everyone. Photographing food has become such a sport that some restaurants have banned the practice. They say it delays tables and leads to cold dishes. Forbidding food photography altogether is going a bit too far, but I can sympathize with chefs and restaurateurs. So to all you amateur food photographers: Take your photos quickly, never use a flash (or a tripod), and remember why you (and your guests) went to the restaurant in the first eat.

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