Ever wondered why the food shots you take never tend to come out even 50% as good as those from the professionals? Well, the obvious conclusion to reach is that a) your cooking isn’t up to much or b) you’re useless with a camera. Which indeed may be the case in both instances, but at the same time there’s something else to bear in mind here that could be both the problem and the solution in one:
The importance of food styling is often overlooked as there are those that insist a good photographer can make anything look great. Sadly, this is idealistic at best and pure garbage at worst – food photography is of pivotal importance and always will be. According to the experts at www.howardshooter.com, there are certain tips, tricks and rules that have the potential to wholly transform the successes of any budding or amateur food photographer looking to take things to the next level.
So in the absence of any real sharing from the pros, here’s a quick overview of some of the most important and interesting trade secrets that could help you take a big step forward with your food styling:
1 – It’s Not Meant to Be Eaten
First and foremost, it’s crucial to remember when going about food styling that while the result needs to look amazing, you won’t be eating it. Take for example a frothy cappuccino – it looks downright irresistible on the picture, but the fact that the foam was created using soap bubbles would put you off drinking it in a heartbeat. Is it cheating? Not at all – just as long as the image is a faithful recreation of the real thing, you can invest as much ‘creative license’ into your efforts as you like.
2 – Hunt the Hero
Let’s say for example you’re looking to shoot a picture of a burger – chances are you will go through a hell of a lot of buns before you find the one that’s just perfect. It could be something as simple as the way the sesame seeds do or don’t quite line up as they should to frame the rest of the subject in general – in any case, you need to be prepared to take the time to hunt down the ‘hero’ items. And if you can’t find what you need, fake it – who says you can’t personally stick sesame seeds in place one by one?
3 – Shine it Up
There are certain foods that just look so much nicer when they’re glistening – anything from steaks to fish to a fair few desserts. And while it’s very difficult for any chef to create a dish that holds onto its shine, it’s far easier to arm yourself with a can of spray oil or a brush with some melted butter and keep things nice-looking. It’s a trick that’s used in pretty much every food shot you’ll ever see featuring a steak or a roast chicken.
4 – Plump it Up
Speaking of chickens, if you’re planning to shoot any kind of bird…as in an edible bird…there’s a neat trick when it comes to making it look less like a wilting mess and more like you’d draw a roast chicken as a child. You know that cavity? Well, once the bird has cooled down a bit, try stuffing the living daylights out of it until it looks way plumper than it actually is. Then of course all you need to do is get busy with the shiny glaze as mentioned above.
5 – Salad Spray
When it comes to shooting salads, fresh fruit or anything of the sort, you can’t help but have noticed that they always seem to be dripping with just the right amount of water, right? Well this is hardly a coincidence and nor is it natural – professionals like to keep on hand a spray bottle filled with cold water to give their fresh fruits and vegetables a bit of a misting before they start shooting. This can work on pretty much any fruit or veg served raw, including garnishes and side dishes.
6 – Brown-Out
Last but not least, ever wondered how it’s possible to snap such great shots of fresh fruit when the stuff goes brown just seconds after cutting? There’s a little secret to preventing this from happening – simply put the fruit in a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice prior to getting it ready for the shot, this way it stays looking fresh for much longer.