Food Styling

Thoughts of food-styling

One thing to take into consideration when working with food for my project is food styling. As I will be working in a studio-based environment for several hours, I should be aware that food products may change, spoil or look unappealing in this time.

I have researched food styling and the ‘tricks of the trade’ for this subject. Despite many food stylists wanting to keep their career secrets just that,  I have found feature articles discuss these preventative measures and the hacks food stylists use.


(Source: The Guardian)

From motor-oil for syrup to gelatin and soy sauce for coffee, the food stylists know it all.

Chicken or Turkey will probably be raw inside, but crisp on the outside.

Photographer: Marshall Troy

Prop Styling: Grace Knott

Food styling: Charlotte Omnès.

A crisp. brown chicken sitting on a bed of Spinach leaves. The scene is vibrant ion colour and depicts prepared food ready to enjoy
According to The Guardian: “In this shot, Omnès pinned down the turkey’s skin so it wouldn’t tear in the oven. She lined the pan and stuffed the bird with a water-soaked paper towel so it would steam instead of turn crispy. To achieve that brown, glistening look, she brushed the turkey with a mixture of water, Kitchen Bouquet and dish soap.”

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream will most likely be shortening, corn syrup and frosting

Photographer: Beth Galton

Retouching: Ashlee Gray

Food styling: Charlotte Omnès

A Knickerbocker Glory ice Cream Sundae with chocolate and vanilla ice cream on the left. On the right, an upside down mint ice cream slowly melting on the surface
According to The Guardian: “To create the “ice cream” on the left, Omnès mixed frosting with icing sugar (the cone on the right is the real deal), but the most common fake ice cream recipe is a combination of vegetable shortening, powdered sugar and corn syrup.”

Milk is probably hair products, sun cream or even glue

Photographer: Chris Elinchev at Small Pond Productions.

Food styling:  Tamara Kaufman.

A bowl of cereal and milk with raspberries, almond flakes. A spoonful is being taken out of the bowl.
According to The Guardian: “In this photo, Wisconsin-based Tamara Kaufman used Wildroot, a white hair cream for men with a sunscreen lotion-like consistency that many stylists covet. Krejca prefers the old-school method of white glue, which photographs just like the real deal. When pros do use actual milk, it’s only a very small amount.”

The steam from food is likely to be coming from a tampon or cotton ball

Source: PetaPixel

A Jacket Potato photographed with a cotton wool ball behind it that is giving the illusion of steam
According to PetaPixel: “[Soaking in water and then] Heating up a tampon, cotton ball, or sponge is one of the classic “tricks” for steam shots. A dense cotton wad will hold the steam for a few minutes, so you can hide it behind the food and then shoot from in front. The steam doesn’t last forever, though, and it can be tough to control exactly where it goes.”

The fresh fruit is probably wearing lipstick, lemon juice and ‘Fruit Fresh’:

Source: Readers Digest

A bowl of berries including raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
According to Readers Digest: “It’s often put in a cold-water bath with a sprinkle of a product called “Fruit Fresh,” which can be found at most grocery stores. Some food stylists add lemon juice to water for a similar effect. To redden berries, a food stylist might use lipstick to cover any white spots.”

Further Research

When working with fresh product, food stylists will have hacks to keep the food as ripe, fresh and appealing as possible. I have listed the tricks I have found below:

  • Oil or water on fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and poultry.
  • Lemon Juice and ‘Fruit Fresh’ keep fruit looking fresh.
  • Hairspray on cakes and bread is used to maintain the appearance without cracks surfacing.
  • Deodorant is used on glasses when advertising drinks to give a ‘cool’, frosty effect.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s