Here is my take on food styling: it has to look better than real life, but still look real. Sure, food styling may not always look seamlessly natural, but it has to be inspiring. And appetizing, endlessly appetizing.
Food Styling 101
Natural light – lighting is everything so, find your daylight! It makes food look “edible” and appealing.
Framing – this is, of course, particular to your personal style but try not to make the frame appear too “set-up.” Guide the eye towards your point of interest (read more here on using triangles in composition). Whether you choose to take an overhead view or shoot from your own/the cook’s POV, I think a shot is most effective when it looks as if you have just stepped away from the table – maybe leaving behind an artful scatter of ingredients..
Plating + accessories – since we eat with our eyes first, presentation is extremely important. Keep it colorful and natural, but intriguing – pulling the viewer in with accessories or plating techniques that are inspiring but still accessible.
Food Styling trends
Here are some current prevailing food photography trends that I have noticed – I’m interested in your take!
- warm metals – using brass and copper vessels, plates, and accessories helps a scene look warm and inviting.
- moody lighting – darkened, moody shots spotlighting food continue to be popular, particularly on social media.
- textures – a prevailing component of food photography: the draped, soft textile. It works because it makes food and its preparation seem more tactile, like you can reach out and touch it.
- filling the frame vs negative space – there is a place for both, it seems. Many interesting components vs the currently popular off-set shot with a lot of negative space to guide the eye.