Next time you tell your friends they have to wait before they can eat because you have to take photos of their food, tell them their taste buds will thank you for it.

Photographing food makes it taste better, according to a scientific study recently published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing. It all comes down to delayed gratification, even if that delay is only a minute or two.

The study found that producing consumer-generated images of food increased "the savoring associated with consumption of pleasurable (i.e. indulgent) foods." People's attitudes and evaluations of how food tasted were greater when they had to wait an extra minute or two to eat their food after they had already seen it.

The same results weren't automatic, though, when people photographed healthy foods like salads. New York Magazine explains that according to the study, taking photos of healthy foods only increased their perceived tastes when eaters were "aware of the fact that others are also eating healthy foods" by being shown social media photos of other healthy foods.


Of course, the salads that people post on social media are usually made to look pretty before they're shared. Props may be used to add visual interest and lettuce may be strategically arranged to make the salad look balanced and pleasing. Add angles, lighting and then the inevitable filtering, and those salad photos, like the Instagrammed one above, look virtuous and delicious.

So, if you want to enjoy the salad you're about to eat more, first search though the over 9.5 million Instagram photos hashtagged #salad, and then take a few moments to photograph your salad before digging in. The knowledge that others are also eating healthy combined with the delayed gratification that happens during the photo shoot will make your brain think the food is tastier than if you'd just thrown the ingredients together and started to chow down.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.