Before Bonnie Tsang bites into her butternut squash toast at Blacktop Coffee in downtown L.A.’s Arts District, she takes out her iPhone. The toast – a thick slice of ciabatta piled high with squash puree, caramelized onions, arugula and balsamic reduction – looks like an intricate art project.
She fusses a bit with the composition, testing different angles and gently brushing the arugula leaves aside until they fall just so. This process has become a daily ritual for Tsang, an editorial and commercial photographer whose stylized photos of food have garnered her nearly 65,000 followers on Instagram.
“Nowadays, it’s about sharing,” Tsang says, “and sharing what we eat is free marketing for restaurants.”
Posts by prominent Instagrammers have become prized commodities in the restaurant world, where one glossy snapshot from the right user can create significant buzz and interactions. But just how much of that hype translates into business?