Unless you’re a 6 ft god or goddess who can reach great heights with your camera, you’ve probably flirted with the idea of standing on that chair of yours to get that perfect shot and/or flatlay of your food.
Being a small 5 ft 1 “ hobbit that I am, I am PRO chair standing (#chairgate) in order to achieve that elusive angle that being vertically challenged makes it otherwise impossible. However, even I have my reservations about standing on chairs, doubts that get in the way of my #foodgramgoals that render me powerless to stand tall at all, so from my experience with this conflicting matter I have compiled a list of 6 reasons why you should pursue that height of glory, but also 5 important factors that you must take into consideration before making that great leap.
1. Greater Height = Best Photo
The majority of people I surveyed claim that the only way to get the best photo possible is to get the most height. Going higher means a wider capture which is helpful if you don’t have a wide angled lens. Also with a wide view you can steal those elusively beautiful flatlays you’ve only dreamed of, and it all starts by hopping onto that chair.
The problem with this logic is that the best shot is not necessarily achieved by height; the best shot is whatever the food looks best at. Pancakes for example, they look good when photographed stacked but not so good from above. Also, just because it’s a flatlay doesn’t mean it’s going to be good, trust me and I’ve taken plenty of rubbish flatlays in my time. So while I fully advocate getting higher to grab a better photo, you must think about whether the occasion calls for it before wasting your time.
2. Getting on the Chair = Getting Serious
Taking photos of your food sitting down is fun, but after a while you may start to wonder if life is better from up above. Getting on the chair is a sign to yourself (and to others) that you are absolutely serious about your photography, and that your dedication to your craft is unbridling.
While some patrons may think you are serious about your gram, others may be seriously annoyed at your behaviour. Most cafes, restaurants and eateries are finding bloggers more acceptable, but that doesn’t mean that the people at the table next to you are as understanding. When deciding to stand on that chair be mindful ie. the fullness of your surroundings, how dirty your shoes are, and do your research beforehand to know if your destination is an Instagram friendly establishment. Being a respectful diner goes hand in hand with being a respectful person; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
3. Chair Apparatus = Growing 2 ft Instantaneously
As mentioned earlier if you barely reach above 5 ft like me, you are probably in need of an extra dose of TALL to achieve what you want in life, and unless you can stretch your arms like Mister Fantastic, height can be quite hard to come by. Queue a steady chair and suddenly you are on Cloud 9.
Those who go higher fall harder. You can seriously injure yourself, and I don’t just mean a broken leg. Without going into too much detail remember that everytime you launch yourself onto that pedestal you are endangering your physical (and mental) wellbeing. Think I’m being overly dramatic? Just remember it takes only one incident.
4. Chair Standing for Flatlays Only = Cheaper Equipment
Can’t afford 5k on a kit-out but you want a be taken seriously as a foodie photographer? Consider focusing on making your account a flatlay only page and just use your phone camera. Smartphone cameras are reasonably wide angled and are great to capturing flatlays, and the new phones with the duel-lens technology can up your game with less buck. Coz let’s be honest, you probably paid up to over 1k on that phone anyway so you might as well use it.
If you are capturing flat lays specifically because you want to save money on equipment then you are severely limiting yourself to the possibilities that a DSLR or mirrorless can offer. Okay, this argument is not so much whether you should/shouldn’t stand on a chair, but it’s more about expanding your skill set with better equipment rather than confining yourself to one style.
5. Stand On Chair = Get Your Money’s Worth
Picture such a scenario: you go out with your friends and you order LOADS of beautiful dishes to share, and the total bill now comes to a staggering price on X amount of dishes and drinks, and you're NOT going to do a flatlay? Get more for your money and get on that! With so many stunning captures of such unique dishes it could mean the all the difference with the numbers on your social.
The money you spend on dishes typically correlates with the reputation and standards of the establishment, which means that depending on the kind of dining setting it may not be appropriate to get that flatlay by standing on their fancy furniture. Stand on that chair and you may be laughed out of the restaurant.
6. Stand Tall = Grow with Confidence
A lot of foodies that say they don’t stand on chairs tell me, "Oh, I could never do that, " or "It's embarrassing," or "I'm afraid everyone will stare." The truth is, "You can", "It's not", and "They are, but who cares?" Once you do it enough your confidence starts to build and before you know it the concept of standing on chairs starts to sound fun.
With the privilege of confidence also comes taking the higher ground, and I don’t mean literally. There may be times where you must defend your actions against those who will openly disagree with your practices. For example, I have been confronted by mothers who have scolded me for setting a “bad” example for her children; I have had to argue with passerbys voicing their negative opinions; and groups of people who judge and criticise in a demeaning manner. None of these have disturbed my confidence, but it does give me something to think about before I do it so openly.
Now that I have presented 6 reasons for standing on chairs to get a good photo along with 6 equally good reasons not to, you must be wondering why I am PRO standing. The key is to know the right place and the right time and judge whether it is worth the effort and if I am ready to handle any potential conflict with the people around me. I stand on chairs about 90% of the time, the other 10% I just want a hot meal!! :)
Thank you to my followers of @kerabeareats for participating in my blog piece. 79% of those surveyed WOULD stand on chairs if the opportunity called for it, including one fella who would only do it only if he had a bikini-clad posse to cheer him on.
If you would like to read more about my experiences as a foodie lifestyle Instagrammer please follow my handle @kerabeareats, subscribe to my blog post feed using the form at the bottom of this page, or send me an email Kera@kerabeareats.com; I would love to know why you would/wouldn’t stand on a chair to get that perfect shot.
Til next time, always strive for egg porn.