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Food Styling more than making food look good!

People often ask me, what is a food stylist – what do you do? The short answer is “I make you want to eat that food.” But in truth, it’s a little more involved than that. I have to be one part designer and one part culinary expert. I need to understand how food behaves, balanced with an artistic sense of texture and colour. I also need to understand how the eye and the camera see the composition of a shot differently.

I work for magazines, advertising agencies, photographers, production studios, chefs and restaurateurs. Sometimes it’s for a print product or a TV commercial or cooking show and sometimes it’s for the ‘live’ presentation of food.

In all cases, I can’t do it alone. I work as part of a team with photographers, videographers, art directors, or creative directors and of course…the client.

As a team, we need to work together quickly and efficiently, from prep to completion. This is one part keeping the food looking its best and one part keeping the timelines tight. Often this means creating multiples of the same product to move from the lighting stage stand-in to the perfect one (the Hero).

Between shoots, there’s a lot of other stuff ‘I do’, such as:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss exactly what they need/want
  • Staying on top of the latest food trends
  • Working and maintaining good relationships with vendors for top quality ingredients
  • Quality checking every ingredient to find the perfect examples
  • Helping to create concepts, designs and samples for clients
  • Maintaining a portfolio of previous work
  • Collaborating with the photographer and art directors
  • Keeping a list of proven recipes that best fit the need or developing new ones
  • Being ready to anticipate problems to quickly and efficiently rectify
  • Collecting new materials, tools and props to improve techniques and keep my creativity fresh
  • Research, research, research
  • Working on my blog

In the end, it’s all these things that make up ‘what I do’, but most often, my end goal, is to present the food at its best, in a way that communicates – crispy, flakey, creamy, juicy, crunchy, moist sweet, salty, spicy, refreshing and most of all yummy!