PRO TIPS: FOOD STYLING FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Like the fashion images we see every day, equally when it comes to food, the key to the final look is an artful bit of styling. We all eat with are eyes and you know if an image has worked when you look at it and want to eat it.

Lighting

Lighting your food is essential for an image to look it’s best. Find the best possible place for natural light. Next to a large window or door is a good start.” Even if you‘re taking food photos on your mobile phone, a bit of natural light can work wonders.

Unless you’re very nifty with lighting, your food is always going to look a whole lot more appealing if you take the pictures in natural light.

Focus

Treat your dish like a model and think of the angle at which you’ll be shooting it. “If you are going overhead make sure all the points of interest are visible from above.” If you are thinking of framing the picture from a lower angle, concentrate on the front of the dish and any darker pieces of food ensure they are placed in areas of more light.

Colours

While lighting food well can make it look better, what if the actual dish is just not that exciting? Always think about colours, A sprinkling of herbs can always lift a dish. I suggest using lemon or lime sliced or wedges for a zesty burst of colour.

Maybe think about adding cutlery to inject an element of movement and advocates thinking about shapes. When cutting food, cut spring onions on a sharp angle; rip rather than slice bread and shave cucumber into ribbons rather than rounds.

Always use the nicest ingredients that you can find.

Plating

Keep plates and portions on the smaller side, large amounts of food can lose proportion on camera and won’t look as yummy.

It’s also important to make food look as real as possible, therefore if shooting a lasagne and the sauce is oozing then leave it just as if a cake has icing dripping down the sides this all helps to give food life.

Though overall, it’s about making the dish look as fresh and natural as possible – and that includes making a mess. If you’re making a pie and a little of the filling oozes out – leave it. If you are photographing a cake with a slice removed, leave the mess, the crumbs, the drip of jam or cream. This gives food life.

For super fresh-looking salad leaves, plunge them into ice-cold water for about 15 minutes before shooting them, this will revitalise them before shooting.

Just remember to have fun and that there is no right or wrong way to style food as long as when you look at the image and want to tuck in.


These Pro Tips are contributed by our food stylist Rachael McNeela who we work with to create our lifestyle plates ready for the photographer to work his magic.

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