(By the way, if you are visiting to get Christmas Recipe ideas, then click here to see my most recent "Best Holiday Recipes" list.)
GIFs look like a 2 second (or less) video clip, without sound, that keeps repeating. Sometimes I make a GIF for comedy effect, like of my nephews Chef Matt and Chef Zakk.
But mainly they are best used for cooking instructions. I like to show you time lapse GIFs of browning poultry, or bubbling pots of veggies and meat. That way you see the whole cooking process in a couple of seconds, which I think encourages you to make the recipe -- especially when you can see how good it looks from a raw state to completion.
And instead of showing a pile of chopped herbs, it's more interesting to show them being chopped from finish to start as a GIF.
Possibly the most unique use of GIFs is in my photo/video series Restaurant Nocturnes. This nighttime noir series is a string of time lapse photos with an audio track of menu highlights. These GIFs are suitable for framing. I think you will agree to the uniqueness of my animated photo GIFs.
It can take anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours to create just one. A GIF is made up of separate still images, I use about 6 to 48 images to make my typical GIF. And here is where I go to create my foodblog GIFs (but there is a pop-up ad to close, when you start making one.) A detailed explanation of GIFs is here; a fun video on the art of the GIF here; and a short description is here. For a fun website to put yourself into an animated GIF, click here.
Now, some computers and handheld devices may not play an animated GIF -- or they play them badly, and you may just see a still image. Maybe that's a good thing as animated GIFs have jumped the shark. I try to use them judiciously, though -- no more than one or two for any given blogpost (and often not at all.)
So do check back for more food photography and creative GIFs in my cheap$kate food recipes. And have a delicious holiday.