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Good pics or good food?

HashmakerHashmaker Posts: 149
edited October 2012 in EggHead Forum
Since I'm still new at all this egging and food picture taking, I have a question for the experienced food picture takers. I know from this forum that if there aren't pics then it may or may not have happened. My presentation skills are lacking but my food (so far) has been awesome. Which is more important to you guys....presentation or taste? My opinion...lean more toward taste but if it quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck. Good visual is a large part of eating I know but a lot of times things taste better than they look.

Just curious what your thoughts would be.
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Comments

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,742
    It's better to look good than to feel good...sorry

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 15,667
    edited October 2012
    taste. My presentation sucks too. There are only a few guys who really know what they are doing as far as presentation goes on here. The rest of us are hacks so come on in, the water is fine.
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
    2 Large BGE
    1 MiniMax BGE
    1 Karubecue C60 (aka-"The Dishwasher")
    More accessories than TFJ knows about and one more purchase from mandatory counciling
  • As long as those who are doing the eating are ok, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited October 2012
    It's nice to see folks who spend the time making things all pretty - I'll admit, I like to see those kinda pics. 

    But for me, my family, and our lifestyle - most of the time we eat off of paper plates (unless it's something which has a sauce which lends itself to using a "real" plate) - nevertheless, so my pics of my food aren't going to be on the cover of "Bon Appetit" or anything like that. 

    To me, I don't care what it "looks" like, cuz ya can't eat the plate, or the pretty looks.  This is why I also don't use a cast iron grate because I really don't care about the sear marks, as they are just there for looks. 

    Reminds me of a "debate" I had w/ a family who's property bordered ours while growing up.  Their family wanted us to agree to not hunt does (even though WV has a doe season, and it was perfectly legal to do so).  They said that by hunting does, we were keeping the next year's bucks from being born. 

    The irony was that his family had a history of bagging MORE than the legal limit of bucks, and only checking in the legal limit.  I looked at him & said "that's really funny coming from you, how many bucks have you killed so far this year?"  Then I put the cherry on top when I said "look, you do what you want, we'll do what we want.  Bottom line, ya can't eat the horns!!"  :D
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,742

    Thare are several things you can do. Keep an angle to the plate, direct above shots dont look good. Try not to crowd the food. Drizzle sauces or gravies or put the sauce on the plate with food on top. Available light works well. Candles add a nice touch. I'm not very good at it but there are some who are great. VI for one.

     

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 1,049

    We have some great food presenters on this forum but I doubt I'll ever be one of them.  I have a hard time focusing my iphone.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,372
    My wife asks that once we are able to eat without a damn picture. Just grab your phone and shot it. We like to see what you are doing. The OUTSTANDING photo people on the fourm will do plenty of mag style pic for all of us.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • That's a good question, and it can be argued either way.

    Certainly, taste is the final arbiter, but an exceptional meal needs to have both.  That is why fine restaurants take great lengths to have a super presentation.  It's more inviting.  It's a work of art.  If the plate looks like a pile of dog poop, it won't be very inviting.

    On this forum, we have different types of people.  Some want to make great spatchcock chickens or pizzas, and that's all.  Others want to push the envelope and try things that are more exotic.  I personally think I would be more apt to try a dish if it had a picture with a nice presentation.  The only pictures that really turn me off are the out of focus pictures with a definite color cast to them.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious


  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,998
    What if I like dog poop?
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,953
    edited October 2012
    What if I like dog poop?
    I can see that Michelle Obama's edict for Army chow has changed your taste buds.

    BTW, look at jfm0830's current thread.  Practically every reply has "great photos" or something similar.  You can't tell me that great photos don't make a big difference.

    See the thread here.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious


  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 4,862
    I'll acknowledge a well taken pic when it's presented.

    I still get more out of ordinary pics where I can see the setup and process used in the cook. 

    Whomever the Egger is that has a tile top dining table has taken many good plated pics.
    Steve :aka: Phish, UnclePhish & PhishBallz
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Just to play devil's advocate (and NOT trying to ruffle feathers) - but, some of the BEST food I've ever eaten has come from "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants (for instance, the best fried chicken I've ever tasted was from Willie Mae's Scotch House in N'awlins).  There, she don't put no food on no fancy plates, or "gussy it up" w/ a bunch of garnishes - but boy it sure does taste good. 

    Yes, "fine" restaurants do take pride in the "presentation" - but you also PAY a hefty price for that as well. 

    I think of it like this - if I was blind, and you placed 2 plates in front of me, each w/ a steak - plate 1 had a steak from a fancy restaurant, replete w/ glazes, drizzles, garnishes, and it was served on a really expensive piece of fine China - however, the taste of the steak was just "OK".  Plate 2, however, was a steak from the Egg, but it had none of the "fancy" stuff, and was just on a regular plate. 

    As a blind person, which one do you think I'd eat?  ;)
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,253
    theres alot of thought and prep that goes into a great pic, that thought and prep also seems to add to the taste. work at the pics and get better at the meal, it works mostly
    :))sometimes it doesnt, i post those pics too hoping someone has some thoughts on how to make it better next time
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,579

    I'm far from an expert, but I try my darndest. I remember a time oh so long ago when I could eat without taking a picture. :))

    My best advice is read the manual to your camera, if you have one. And natural light always works best if its available (which I don't have and its getting harder now that the days are getting shorter). You can take tons and tons of pictures and delete the crappy ones (not like we are using film anymore)

    But honestly, I like seeing everybody's pictures, good or bad, see what they are cooking and get inspired. So share whatever you got.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,953
    edited October 2012
    Points well taken, HH.  But, does that apply here?

    I think you should ask yourself, "why am I posting these pictures to the forum".  There are only a few reasons I can think of.

    1) I want to brag about my cook (in which case, I would think a good presentation is in order).

    2) I want to encourage others to try this cook (in which case, I would think a good presentation is in order.)

    3) I just want to document that I cooked this meal (in which case, any ole picture will do).


    I like to think that my motivations are #2. (and a little #1).  I have cooked quite a few meals that looked good, but were not very tasty.  I took pictures with careful plating for the forum before tasting.  But, after tasting, I decided not to post the cook.  I also try to post the recipe (or the link) with my pictures.  That should reenforce that my motivations are #2.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious


  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,579
    I like to think that my motivations are #2. (and a little #1).  I have cooked quite a few meals that looked good, but were not very tasty.  I took pictures with careful plating for the forum before tasting.  But, after tasting, I decided not to post the cook.
    Been there, done that. You should see the great shots of the chili that I cooked on the Egg, alas I don't even thing that the dog would have eaten it. Ok, yeah he would have, but sometimes I catch him eating poo....

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,458
    I definitely don't think it is all about presentation.  I do enjoy the post from people with photography skills, but often it is the way in which people "tell a story" or describe a process that make the pics worthwhile.  

    I do enjoy a good "food p0rn" shot and that really doesn't take much presentation.  Still- with better lighting and a better camera you are going to get a better shot of the food!  

    I have a descent camera, but the iPhone is always in my pocket so I usually just grab it to take a pic.  They have come a long way with the cameras in phones, but you can't compete with a real camera.  My iphone pics often turn out hazy and not food p0rn worthy. 


    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • to be interesting I believe any picture post should advance something, maybe a method or a novel cook.  I never understood the 'look at my butt' posts.  Seriously, how many pork butt/ribs/briskets... can one person post before it gets old?  I get that Joe X wants to show everyone how great his 127th pulled pork turned out, just dreadfully boring is all

  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    I would definitely say that we all love to see pictures.  Good pictures are GREAT but pictures in general a GOOD.  It just gives us the visual of what you are talking about.  I personally do not take much time in taking my pictures, but I do take the time to take the pictures.  I enjoy posting them and I think people enjoy looking at them.  I doubt I will ever have a thread 10 pages long with people talking about what a good photograph of that rack of ribs and plate presentation, but it does keep the forum active and people engaged.

    I say give it a shot.  No one will boo you for your efforts.
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,998
    You mean no one will boo you for your efforts except mcnuttly.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 22,582
    There are different kinds of food for different occasions.  Just like you don't make beef wellington at a tailgate, you don't need to put a skirt and heels on some pulled pork.

    For technical cooking where a meal is a coordinated symphony of parts, the total being much greater than the sum of the parts, presentation is everything.

    Where you're focusing on BBQ, I like to see the sear, the bark, the juiciness of the meat, the gelatin glistening in the grain of the meat.  I want to "see" what it tastes like. 

    Whether or not you're taking a picture of a beautifully cooked piece of meat or a well coordinated entire meal, focus, lighting and composition are important to those living vicariously through your food.

    I'm guilty of using my crummy cell phone to take pictures.  I try getting good light and focusing.

    However, there's no substitute for a DSLR.  If lighting is an issue, get a nice flash and put a soft box on it, or bounce your flash off the ceiling for indirect lighting.

    And don't forget the obligatory adult beverage in the frame.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    And don't forget the obligatory adult beverage in the frame.
    Obligatory indeed... :))
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • FockerFocker Posts: 5,950

    This is subjective...

    On a food forum, presentation plays more of a roll.  We cannot smell or taste a dish.

    At home....taste and tenderness trump presentation. 

    The beautiful thing about our dynamic hobby is the combination of science, art, and culture. 

    I really don't care about the full dining experience, but I can see why that sells, especially in metro areas.  But I've only dined in a fancy restaurant once, the night I was married.

    Along with lighting, another tip when using the point-and-shoot camera for food pics is the macro setting for close ups. 

    Keep in mind too, that some that post these beautiful pics may be professional photographers.  Buying an egg can easily lead to dropping a couple of grand on a DSLR and lenses.  I was close myself, and had to refrain.  Still bought a decent Canon S95 though.

     

    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,253
    heres a cook gone terribly wrong, corned beef ribs. DON'T ever egg these
    :)) this was the worst cook ive ever done, would rather eat a box of kosher salt straight up

    image
  • You mean no one will boo you for your efforts except mcnuttly.

    travisstrick, if you like seeing the same picture over & over, have at it

  • It may be the same type of food, but hopefully there is something to learn or some new method to try.  That's what this forum is all about IMHO.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,953
    edited October 2012
    I think I've lost any motivation at all for attempting to make good pictures and nice platings for forum pictures.  It seems the majority doesn't care at all about that.  It also seems that the thought is that good pictures and tasty food are mutually exclusive.  They shouldn't be.  Even look at the title of this thread. I agree with some that say a post should "tell a story" or show a progression, but that does not preclude a nice presentation.  To me, excellence means doing your best from start to finish.  If you shoot a sloppy, haphazard picture, to me, that means you took a sloppy, haphazard approach to your cook.

    Still, it's interesting that the forum mantra seems to be "we want pictures" and "no pictures? Didn't happen".

    Some say that they can't take good pictures because they don't have a DSLR.  That's a bunch of baloney.  My next photos of cooks will be with an old $150 (3 megapixel) point and shoot camera.  But, the pictures won't be out of focus or have a color cast to them.  I will take the time to try to make it the best possible picture.

    (Yes, I am a professional photographer, but that only means I have a good camera).
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious


  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,650
    My son makes fun of me for taking pictures...he explains to guest that I'm on some "forum". For guest I like a food presentation. I usually line the potato salad bowl with romaine and cherry tomatoes around the edge. I decorate my deviled eggs. Meat arranged on a platter with parsley. Taste, presentation and service.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • XLBalcoXLBalco Posts: 604
    edited October 2012

    I enjoy seeing the pics from the prepping stage to the finished product.

    As far as the  quality of the pics- as long as it is self explanatory- that works for me.  Some dont have the time to prep the final product to perfection and some dont have the skill.  Me, I fall into both categories. Having 27month old twins and a 5 week old, it is tough enough firing up the egg at the end of the day - let alone taking pics which i enjoy doing albeit as as hack.

    what i really like is when someone takes the time to list out all the ingredients and then the step by step directions with pictures along the way.  those are most beneficial to me and why i come here - to learn and gather ideas for cooking on the egg and to see its true versatility.

    In return, I post my cooks and add where I can:)

  • "To me, excellence means doing your best from start to finish.  If you shoot a sloppy, haphazard picture, to me, that means you took a sloppy, haphazard approach to your cook".

    I disagree kimosabe but I do love it when you and others do it. I appreciate quality work when I see it and there is certainly some on here

    That being said, I have ZERO interest in photography but I love to cook. It's a way to share the cook so I do it when I want to share something. The fact that I snap it quick on my iphone does not mean that I took a haphazard approach to my cook. Cooking well is important to me, taking good photos of it is not.


    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
    2 Large BGE
    1 MiniMax BGE
    1 Karubecue C60 (aka-"The Dishwasher")
    More accessories than TFJ knows about and one more purchase from mandatory counciling
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