I see it so many times, the DIY attempt at food styling and photography. OK – I’m a food stylist and I’m bound to notice how those herbs are all wilted, the dullness of the fresh food or how 2D and lifeless an image looks. When you are marketing to an audience that eats with their eyes and swipes through images all day long you need YOUR image or reel to really land.
Unfortunately, I can never turn off the food stylist in me and, generally, I can see the potential in the shot or what the client was going for – how the product could look good – or the dish tasty – but the finished image is mediocre and the pro inside me is screaming out. I just want to get my hands (and my kit) on it and sort it out!
I understand how to many the concept of food styling might, on the outside, look easy. Surely, it’s just a case of arranging a load of food artistically on a plate, right? A chef might say ‘well, plating up food is part of my profession, I can do that, no bother’. However, a chef plates up food which will be served immediately and eaten soon after. A food stylist will need to prepare a dish for the camera which has the annoying ability to see the world slightly differently than we do. A food stylist understands food and the science of food but also lighting, props and composition and works with the photographer/director to produce an image that sells the product and makes you hungry when you have just eaten. Food stylists train for years to perfect their techniques; it is an artform.
The same is true of the type of photographer you use. It isn’t one size fits all – a fashion photographer isn’t necessarily going to be able to transfer their skillset onto a food shoot. Food photography requires a unique set of skills and photographers in this field are trained and experienced again not only in photography but have a depth and understanding of all thing’s food.
Of course, budgets will always come into play and corners sometimes need to be cut. However, if you are really looking for an image or reel that will stimulate the saliva glands, add a rumble to the stomach and is easy on the eye then I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to employ the use of a professional food stylist and food photographer. We are used to working with very varied client briefs; we know how to turn these briefs around and actualise them, creating visually impressive work that makes people stop their scrolling and follow.
We are more than an overhead; we are an investment.
What stops your scroll? What are you influenced by? Do your images have the same impact?