14 votes

What delicious foods don't photograph well?

In the times of social media, food must not only taste good, but look good as well. Some beautiful foods are really not that good, while some ugly foods are delicious, but totally ignored. Can you come up with any examples of that?

12 comments

  1. stu2b50
    Link
    Curry tends to look like brown goop in pictures. Well, brown curries - red or green thai curries for instance look fine in photos.

    Curry tends to look like brown goop in pictures. Well, brown curries - red or green thai curries for instance look fine in photos.

    16 votes
  2. patience_limited
    Link
    Most Cajun food other than Jambalaya. Etoufeé, gumbo, dirty rice. These are rarely photogenic, but so delicious.

    Most Cajun food other than Jambalaya. Etoufeé, gumbo, dirty rice. These are rarely photogenic, but so delicious.

    9 votes
  3. [2]
    Akir
    Link
    Any soup that is not in a transparent broth tends to look pretty gross. Also most blended things; deviled ham comes to mind particularly.

    Any soup that is not in a transparent broth tends to look pretty gross. Also most blended things; deviled ham comes to mind particularly.

    8 votes
    1. Thra11
      Link Parent
      I don't think that's true. There are plenty of soups which are pleasant colours, such as carrot (orange), tomato (red), mushroom, chicken, etc. (pale creamy colour). With soup, unless its got bits...

      I don't think that's true. There are plenty of soups which are pleasant colours, such as carrot (orange), tomato (red), mushroom, chicken, etc. (pale creamy colour).

      With soup, unless its got bits in it, you basically get a single uniform colour, and I don't think there are many colours which are "gross" on their own. As long as you make sure the colour of the bowl doesn't clash with the colour of the soup, it's not hard to get a nice picture of most soups. The only real issue is that a circle of colour in a bowl makes for a rather boring photo, so you'll often see a sprig of something sitting on the top, or some crusty bread by the side.

      3 votes
  4. [2]
    wossab
    Link
    Food photography is actually a specialized discipline, often dealing with how to visually recreate food with something else entirely so it shines a little brighter or can withstand longer...

    Food photography is actually a specialized discipline, often dealing with how to visually recreate food with something else entirely so it shines a little brighter or can withstand longer photography sessions without falling apart.

    7 votes
    1. PetitPrince
      Link Parent
      There's actually two subdiscipline depending on whether the picture is used in an advertisement setting or not. Some countries have legislation were the food depicted have to be edible. That...

      There's actually two subdiscipline depending on whether the picture is used in an advertisement setting or not. Some countries have legislation were the food depicted have to be edible.

      That doesn't mean that there's no "trick", for instance in an hamburger you may sear only one side of your steak, pipette your cheese and hand-place all of the sesame seeds...

      In TV and cinema, indeed you may need to replace food stuff with non edible alternative, because your ice cream will definitely melt after your fifth take.

      4 votes
  5. [2]
    PetitPrince
    (edited )
    Link
    There's a whole class of dishes that can be reduced down to "undefined brown goop" that are reminiscent of various stage of diarrhea (currys, butter chicken, some blended soups). I Unusual shapes...

    There's a whole class of dishes that can be reduced down to "undefined brown goop" that are reminiscent of various stage of diarrhea (currys, butter chicken, some blended soups).

    I Unusual shapes or texture generally elicit a negative reaction (see century eggs above, but also natto).

    However I think most dishes can made visually more appealing by choosing an appropriate soft lighting (for instance by placing your dish next to a window on an overcast day), and plating it nicely (have pretty dishes helps, and so is the unnecessary piece of herb on top of the dish ).

    With all that being said, and with the caveat that I personally don't like it (but I'm going by sheer popularity)...

    I will nominate the Filipino Balut. Because you'll need an epic amount of set dressing to make a partially developed chicken embryo look good (especially if it's on a late stage of development).

    7 votes
    1. Staross
      Link Parent
      It's also a matter of platting, if you go to a Michelin restaurant they can make anything look good, it's an art.

      It's also a matter of platting, if you go to a Michelin restaurant they can make anything look good, it's an art.

      4 votes
  6. [2]
    symmetry
    Link
    Century egg maybe? Looks unappealing, maybe even otherworldly. Tastes pretty delicious, goes well with congee.

    Century egg maybe? Looks unappealing, maybe even otherworldly. Tastes pretty delicious, goes well with congee.

    5 votes
    1. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      I’ve always thought the yolk looked disgusting whether in photo or in person — and I grew up eating it. But I find the egg “white” beautiful and gemlike.

      I’ve always thought the yolk looked disgusting whether in photo or in person — and I grew up eating it. But I find the egg “white” beautiful and gemlike.

      2 votes
  7. [2]
    wycy
    (edited )
    Link
    I make scrambled eggs every morning that I find delicious. I took a picture of it one morning and was horrified to notice that it just looks like a plate of vomit in the photo despite looking...

    I make scrambled eggs every morning that I find delicious. I took a picture of it one morning and was horrified to notice that it just looks like a plate of vomit in the photo despite looking normal in real life. Better lighting probably would've gone a long way, but after the first picture I was demotivated from trying anything else.

    The photo: https://imgur.com/a/gAkN5bv I swear they were light, fluffy, brightly colored in real life.

    5 votes
    1. Thra11
      Link Parent
      Doesn't look much like vomit to me, but I'm fortunate enough not to see or deal with vomit much (and I've certainly never tried putting it on a plate), so maybe I've forgotten what it looks like....

      Doesn't look much like vomit to me, but I'm fortunate enough not to see or deal with vomit much (and I've certainly never tried putting it on a plate), so maybe I've forgotten what it looks like. I'd add a bit more black pepper myself, but that's just personal preference.

      2 votes