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Food Styling For the Everyday Foodie

Posted by Dara Sutin on February 14th, 2016 under Recipes, General, How To's

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Whether you’re a food blogger or avid home cook, the rise of food photography and styling through social media channels like Instagram and Facebook has garnered lots of attention lately (and probably a lot of your personal time!). In the world of food photography, styling the food is every bit as important because we eat with our eyes. Truth is, even the most delicious dish can lack appeal if it does not stand out visually. That’s where we as food stylists come in.

Ranging from cookbooks to TV adverts, food stylists carefully craft beautiful food that make you salivate in one glance. Here are some top tips and tricks that can help you achieve gorgeous food photos at home.

 

Less is more

The idea that you can have too much food on one plate seems backwards- who wouldn’t want more double cream on that chocolate tart? In the world of food styling, however, it’s often the most common mistake to overload the plate with ingredients or props. Start with simple, clean presentation and build. It’s always easier to add then it is to takeaway.

 

Lighting is key

Styling by Dara Sutin, Photography by Nato Welton

Natural daylight is the best for amateur photographers. Whether using your iphone or digital SLR, moving towards a window will bring life to the food and cut out any harsh light. Not only will this give you a crisper, cleaner shot but will allow you to use various filters afterwards to adjust the color and warmth if need be.

 

Imperfections can be stylish

Recipes & styling by Dara Sutin, Photography by Anders Shonnemann

Sometimes it’s helpful to play with your food and give the impression that the image is happening in real time and not staged. It’s important to tell a story and captivate the audience. For example, take a bite (yes, a real bite!) of your pasta dish. If you’re slicing a tart, use spillage and pastry crumbs around the plate to create that casual, relaxed style. Removing a space from the food in focus imparts a sense of reality, creating a more powerful and engaging image.

 

Pick and choose your ingredients wisely

Find the best, brightest and mostly blemish-free ingredients and your dish is ninety percent there. Check farmers markets for different varieties of seasonal produce like heirloom tomatoes and citrus fruits. Need to keep things looking fresh? Use a water spritzer or an ice bath to keep your greens looking vibrant and a brush of oil to make even the dullest items glisten. You can also use micro herbs as gorgeous, delicate garnishes that will enhance even the simplest dish.

The most important part of styling your food is that you have fun with it. It can be tricky to make food look beautiful, but hopefully by following some of these tips and techniques, you’ll be able to find your style and create beautiful food images.


Find Dara on Instagram for food styling inspiration and Nature's Path on Instagram for plenty of breakfast food photos! 

Dara Sutin

Dara Sutin is a classically trained Cordon Bleu Chef, Food Stylist and Recipe Writer who splits her time between London, United Kingdom and her hometown of Toronto, Canada. A passionate baker, she went on to hone her skills working as a Pastry Chef at Ottolenghi in London before shifting directions to pursue her career as a Food Stylist and Food Writer. Dara’s passion for food has allowed her to gain invaluable experience in restaurant consulting, recipe development, and also as a personal chef for private clients. With a strong desire to share her knowledge and passion for food, she continues to explore a variety of opportunities across all areas of the food industry. Some clients include Jamie Oliver Ltd, Waitrose Kitchen, Women’s Health, Fresh Restaurants, Conde Nast and Penguin Publishing. She lives, cooks, and writes in West London, United Kingdom.