When I was in Elementary School, my sixth grade teacher told us about her relative that made and dressed up "Big Macs" and other food for photo shoots. She bursted all of our bubbles, revealing that most of the food you see in advertisements are in fact FAKE! Made of plastic, rubber, and other impostors. Regardless of whether the photos were real or fake, it still made me crave the REAL thing!
The Wall Street Journal has an enjoyable article today called "Food That Looks So Messy, It's Irresistible"
. They talk about how food magazines are now leaning toward natural light and embracing the messy look instead of having every detail be perfected to the point of being, well, plastic.
Dr. Wasink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" said, "People who ate a brownie served on white china thought it was tastier than one served on a simple paper napkin - and they were willing to pay more for it." I'll chomp on a moist brownie regardless of what it's served on, however it's interesting to see how the perception of presentation may be changing.
As a restaurant owner, it's a must to remember that presentation is key. I came away from the article realizing that messy can be appealing; however sloppy remains something to avoid. So if you're creating a new menu or posting photos of your food on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc., keep in mind that natural lighting and the absence of digital photography can be perfectly okay. You DON'T need to spend a lot of money on a professional photographer and thousands on editing software.
Just be sure to put some thought into it. In other words, organize the chaos.