10 Food Styling Tips by Denise Vivaldo to Making Any Food Photo Look Appealing

Food Styling Tips 1This is a guest post by celebrity food stylist Denise Vivaldo. If you would like to write for learn food photography, visit guest post page to learn more.

Sometime back we interviewed celebrity food stylist Denise Vivaldo and in that interview Denise explained how to approach restaurants and build your food photography/styling business. In today’s guest post, Denise shares 10 food styling tips from her more than 30 years of food styling experience.

10 Food Styling Tips to Better Food Photos

  1. Undercook your food. As food cooks it looses moisture and shrinks as it cools. Cook food only long enough so that it no longer looks raw. You can always color too-light areas or apply heat with a kitchen torch or heat gun.
  2. If you can afford it, buy two of what you’re shooting, i.e., chickens, pies.
  3. Make sure your prep is meticulous. Go through product and get rid anything wilted, old or unsightly. Cut, chop and slice precisely.
  4. When designing a plate, consider color (contrasting or complimentary), texture, and balance.
  5. Create elevation and movement. Prop pieces up from the back to create definition. Make a hidden base under food to hold it in place using shortening, damp paper towels, cosmetic wedges, or even mashed potatoes.
  6. Plan for the use of garnishes. Have appropriate herbs, lemon or limes, or extra ingredients to use if needed.
  7. Know that cool food photographs better than hot food. You can make cool or room
    temperature food can be made to look hot by adding moisture and shine with spraying with PAM, or with brushing oil. For highlights spray your food with PAM or water or brush with a little Karo syrup.
  8. Use any available light. If needed, use a shiny sheet pan, a white cutting board, or a hand mirror as a reflector for added light.
  9. Study food photographs you like. What do they have in common?
  10. Less is more. Appreciate how the camera’s eye is different than your eye. You don’t need to have a sliced mushrooms in every square inch of your food to know that it contains sliced mushrooms; one or two will get your point across without making the image messy.

Add Your Tip

Add your advice on food styling below. Share at least one tip on how to make food photos better with food styling.

If you didn’t listen to one-hour class on how to build your food styling and photography business go to this food styling interview. This interview has some great tactical advise on how to approach restaurants and understand what they need.

Food Photo Shoot with a Food Stylist: A Food Photographer’s Diary #6

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