A food stylist is a food professional on the set. He or she plays a very important role in the process of food photography. They often have had culinary training as chefs. The task of the food stylist is to present the food in such a way that it looks natural yet makes the viewer hungry. As food styling is also a creative professional, these professionals are supposed to visualize the final photograph and work together with the photographer.
Food stylist has to know
- How and from where to purchase the best food for the shoot?
- How to care about the food props during transportation?
- How to cook in such a way that it looks yummy but may not taste like that?
- How to create a mood and set up on purpose?
- Basically, in order to achieve this professional food styling, you need to know a thousand of techniques. Here are a few of them.
7 food styling techniques to start with:
Using undercooked food
This one is probably one of the most important techniques. The undercooked vegetables look brighter and retain the shape better, raw egg yolk looks better than the cooked one. The undercooked meat is lighted with a torch.
A thickening or thinning of the liquids
Milk is often replaced with a thicker liquid such as cream for splashes or pouring. However, some liquids are made thinner to achieve the smooth pouring.
Ice Cream Imitations
An ice Cream is a very sensitive dessert. It requires a low temperature, fast shooting and a lot of styling techniques. So the artificial ice cream replaces the real one, whenever it possible. It is often made from the potato mesh, chemical mixtures, starch, butter, or other ingredients.
Spraying food with liquids
The water is spread over the salads and leafy vegetables. The oil spread over the meat or other glossy foods. While water adds freshness, oil enhances the color and the texture of the object.
Steam or smoke
It is used to create a feeling of the freshly cooked food. This job can be performed in a variety of ways. The equipment to generate smoke can range from a very complex machines to a cigarette smoke by an assistant.
Brushing with browning agents
Some browning agents are very useful. You may make a bun look yummy, raw chicken crispy and cooked. Some of them may be also transformed into coffee, tea, bourbon, rum or whiskey with a little use of water.
A cold drink is probably not cold at all and those lovely drops on the glass are just a mixture of the water and glycerin or other chemicals.
There are many more food styling techniques. Some of them are widely known, some are secrets of the pros. When we photograph the food, it’s often a real food, as it has to be real by the law if you advertise this particular food itself. However, if you advertise wafer cons, you don’t need to use a real ice cream for the images. You may add the value to the burger layers with the cardboard and toothpicks. Or you may use artificial food if you are trying to sell the utensils. In any case, the job of the food stylist is to make food look appetizing, natural, edible and irresistible.