You read it right. This food styling advice comes from a monk. Well kinda. If you are thinking what does a monk talk about food styling, you will be surprised.
Before we get to the monk part, first let me tell you about one of our reader. Quinn is our regular reader and runs a blog http://cookingquinn.blogspot.com. She has started experimenting with food styling using styling techniques and concepts mentioned in elements of art in food styling. Recently Quinn took some chicken wings photographs for her post.
There are several photographs of chicken wings in that post. Quinn is passionate about food photography/styling and wants to improve her skills. We exchanged several emails and I was amazed by her positive attitude and desire to learn. She is asking us (Yes!! you the reader too) to suggest how she can improve food styling in this photograph. I thought of the advice on…
I know what you are thinking – “What does a monk have to do with food styling?” Well you are right, nothing. But what a monk said has a lot to do with food styling. The monk said:
“Less is More”
That’s right. The monk said, “Less is More”. When you can do with less, don’t desire for more. When less satisfies your needs, just use less. Keep it simple and you will not be confused. Keep it simple and it will be beautiful.
Implementing Less is More in Food Styling
The advice of ‘Less is More” applies to food styling very well. In fact, Less is More advice is very important in food styling. But before jumping into that, let’s first understand what does a food photographer and a food stylist want to achieve.
The Purpose – Any food photographer’s and stylist’s ultimate aim is to make food look good. Food looks good only when it is appealing and stirs an emotion in you. A good photograph makes your mouth watery. You are tempted to eat that dessert (read lick the screen). Every time you feel that, the photographer is successful. See mouth-watering desserts photos and ask yourself are you tempted to eat that dessert.
Less is More… Beautiful
If you have observed this, in food photography, most food presentations limit the portion of dish to one serving. The key here is to make food appealing. And one of the way you can do that is to relate the person to the food. If you put too much food in a plate making it look unrealistic for a person to eat, the connection is lost. On the other hand, if the food is presented in a way that feels like it is served for you, there is a stronger connection and emotion. So here are my suggestions:
Limit the Serving – In the photograph above, I would suggest, just present one or two wings. One or two wings seem realistic for a person to eat. It will also make the photograph personal, as if it was served only for your reader or audience. This will also give you some room for garnishing and the plate will look less crowded.
Careful Garnishing – When garnishing the plate, it is easy to get carried away and put a lot of sauce or herbs or powder and create a lot of clutter in the plate. Use the principle of “Less is More”. Use garnishing sparingly. The main focus of your composition should be the food and garnishing should support the food not the other way.
Plate Frame – Most plates have a rim/border. And most food stylists will agree that the rim or border is kinda sacred place. The rim is like a frame of a painting. All the art work is within the frame. Similarly, food styling is a painting that should be inside that rim. Rim/border should be absolutely clean and free from anything.
The Caveat – Although, less is more, sometimes its not. While most food photographs and styles illustrate this principle, food photographs involving raw food and ingredients don’t. However, photographing and styling personal-sized plates is easier than styling large quantity.
The “Less is More” Principle is very well illustrated in the 10 seconds food styling tutorials. Take a look at the food styling videos and analyze them.
Will you help Quinn?
What do you think? How would you improve this chicken wings photograph? What suggestions do you have for Quinn? Will you drop a line or two in the comments below and support and encourage her and your fellow readers to improve food photography and styling? She is open to positive critique and suggestions to improve this photograph.
Please comment below and suggest how this food photograph and styling can be improved.
Do you want to improve?
What a wonderful idea to improve your food photography and styling! Getting inputs from so many readers is very helpful. If you are looking to improve your food photography or food styling skills and would like an opinion on your photograph, put down the link in the comments below.