GO to any restaurant these days and the accompaniment to each course is probably a photo.

Today, every occasion is, apparently a picture opportunity as we live our lives on social media. In fact, no one actually believes you did anything important in your life unless it’s captured with a photo on Facebook or Instagram.

Nor does that just apply just to important milestones. Food, outings to theme parks or the theatre, a walk in the countryside or just a coffee with friends – we have never been a more photographed nation.

We are now so keen to demonstrate our “perfect” lives to others that we always need an image to chronicle it. As a journalist, I’m used to a good picture complementing an article of any kind as it’s a tried and trusted formula.

But, as photography becomes as natural as breathing – especially to young people – the danger is that lives are lived ONLY in pictures. In fact, some people may specially stage situations in order to photograph them for Instagram and other social media.

So what has this trend done to normal lives? For a start, it has made everyone more conscious of how they look. Dressing down is not an option when there is the danger of being pictured for thousands of other people to see.

Full make-up, hair done, fashionably casual outfit and a glowing and energetic style are all demanded.

Background is crucial with something evocative of the moment necessary, so this takes proper planning. This is actually quite important for all filming — as I discovered during a business conference call when one of the participants came online with a fabulous background of handsome book-filled shelves.

As my own was a couple of pinned up photos of the children taken on holiday and a rather funny Beryl Cook picture of a woman in a fur coat flashing a shocked man, I don’t think my backdrop was particularly impressive. Lesson learned there.

Then there is the pose, of course. Not for today’s generation a quick toothy grin. Photos demand proper poses – and only those that are flattering.

Photos from above make the eyes look bigger so the phone is held out as high and as far as possible, hence selfie-sticks. As a photographer friend explained to me last week, bend slightly nearer the camera, angle your head slightly to the side and gaze just beyond the camera itself for the best shot.

Youngsters actually know this instinctively. You can see them just pulling out their phones, posing momentarily (having already scoped out the background) and then going into their perfect pose, probably three times for safety.

Although I’m sounding sceptical about all this I am actually enjoying relatives’ and friends’ photos on social media. They are an excellent way of seeing the highlights in our lives.

My sole criticism is the pressure on some people to show only the moments that compliment us, that make people envious of our lifestyles, because is that really the true picture?