Saint Louis University

The appearance can arguably be the most important part of a good dish or piece of food. Some people however, may disagree and while they no doubt have good reasons to contend what the most important part of a piece of food is, one must first remember, what is it about food that draws us in and dares us to take the first initial bite into what may be heaven for our taste buds? The appearance of food sets the standard for the entire consumption of said food. The emerging aspects of food photography is just one example of how making the appearance of food glorious is the first step to making a wonderful and satisfying bite into what may be taste bud heaven.

When an individual goes to choose a bite to eat, appearance plays a role in what the individual will decide to choose. Century after evolutionary century people have chosen food on appearance. During the culinary years of classical cuisine the meals were prepared as forms of artwork to appeal to the eye. Nowadays such preparation of food comes in a slightly different form called a picture or otherwise known as food photography.

The art of food photography is a more stimulating and intense process than people give it credit for. Food photographers carry the weight and pressure of capturing a mouthwatering masterpiece on their shoulders. While their objects do not move, perfect lighting, angle, and conveying the realistic feel of the food are all components that create a perfect photographed work of art, and cause intensity in a photo-shoot.

Over the years the hype of photographing food has taken on a more intense role in our society and in our appetites. A person never flips casually through a cookbook or magazine anymore without seeing gorgeous works of art. Not only are the creations created by the chef, but they are brought to a realistic life by the photographer to help convey the need to eat want the food should evoke in others. Changes in our expectations of our food in its appearance has driven the need and necessity for professional looking photos of food. A person will easily choose a scrumptious picture of hot wings taken by a food photographer over a quickly snapped picture of over sauced and dreary looking hot wings taken by an amateur. But even the most amateur of us in this day and age are jumping on the bandwagon of food photography. With apps and sites on smart phones and computers it is easy to become one's own food photographer. Instagram is a perfect example. How many people a day snap a picture of the food we eat to post it for the world to see? We change the lighting, add a filter and some fade and BAM we have a picture of a cheeseburger that would contend with even the most experienced food photographer.

Our world has always enjoyed the food we eat, but now our expectations are raised. We want to document and show off our food in the most beautiful way accessible. Nowadays that way is through food photography. Looking at food is the very first thing we do, and it is that first look that sets off our senses and creates a salivating, or repulsed, reaction to what may be set before us. Everyone is on the craze of making food look the most appealing and mouthwatering from pictures on menus to pictures on packaging or grocery store advertisements. Even the amateur in all of us enjoys the feel of taking a picture and making it a memory from taste bud heaven and sharing it with the world to see. Obviously when it comes to food the taste is a piece of the puzzle that can never be underestimated or left out of the food equation. However, it is easy to see how the first look at a piece of food can be the ultimate deciding factor as to whether someone will take the leap and try what could be the most amazing thing they have ever experienced, or it may be the factor that causes them to miss out on a masterpiece that was unappealing presented in a lackluster photograph. So ultimately, is it so hard to believe that when it comes to the food we eat, the expectations we have, and the beauty we have been exposed to, that appearance is one of the most important aspects of the whole eating and dining experience.