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Infographic: The World of Food Photography

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A 2010 LA Times article called them the "Food Paparazzi." Maybe you've caught one, or a gaggle, in action, firing up their digital cameras or cellphone cameras the second the dish hits the table at your favorite strip mall Pho joint or the latest beer-centric gastropub to open up. They are bloggers, photographers, social media users, and, above all, food lovers. An infographic by 360i published by Mashable takes a look at the world of food photography on the web and trends within the practice.

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Why do people document their food and post it online? The data indicates that nearly half of the photos taken come from an almost even split between people who use food photos as a sort of "food diary," (as in "today for lunch I ate...") and those who are documenting a dish or food item they're making themselves. Dinner is by far the most popular meal to photograph, and sweets and veggies get photographed the most often.

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Some chefs are amused and delighted to see their creations get the star shutterbug treatment, while others, sometimes famously, aren't fans. Chefs, like Chicago-based Grant Achatz, want diners to eat the food as intended and hot, rather than wait for the photo session, according to a 2010 AP story published by the Huffington Post:

"It's a double-edged sword for everybody," he says. "The guest makes the choice whether or not to prioritize documentation of the food, of the experience, and perhaps subject themselves to a lesser experience, or a less complete absorption of the vision of the restaurant or the chef."

For the recreational food photographer looking to up their game, there are always plenty of food styling and photographing workshops being offered.