The Role of Food Stylist in Food Photography

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In the present times of aggressive marketing campaigns and the increasing competition, it becomes important to constantly stay updated and on top of the game. The same is the case in the food industry. The increasing localization of international cuisines, the increasing number of food producers, restaurants and cafes are making the customers dwindle. This is because now they have the option to try and experiment with newer dishes.

On the other hand, the shifting of the trend towards online buying even in the case of food has made the exploration of new marketing strategies imperative. This shift has increased the importance of food photographers and stylists. A lot of businesses and food manufacturers have already identified this wave and acknowledged it too by increasing their presence on the various online portals and platforms.

You must be wondering, ‘are food photographers and food stylists different? What exactly does a food stylist does?’ and some other similar questions. Do not worry because you are at the correct place to get answers to the above and similar other questions in this blog. Now without much ado, let’s get started!

Who is a Food Stylist?

A food stylist is a professional who specializes in arranging the food in such a way that it appeals to the camera and eyes. The role includes the food arrangement, props arrangement, making the food appetizing and mouth-watering, etc. In simple words, it is their task to make the ice-cream look perfectly frozen and appetizing, to make the vegetables look fresh and the cakes to be yummy and luring. Food Stylists work on foods for photoshoots as well as video-shoots.

How is a ‘Food Stylist’ different than a ‘Food Photographer’?

Both ‘Food Stylist’ and ‘Food Photographer’ work on the food. But both have different parts of the overall task.

A Food Photographer does the job of capturing the best pictures of the food by arranging the props, the background, placement of models, and so on. While Food Stylists plan how the food should be arranged or decorated so that it looks very much attractive to the eyes. In other words, the platting and freshness of food are taken care of by Food Stylists.

Why Food Stylists Are Important?

As we said earlier, both, the Food Stylist and the Food Photographer work together to create and capture the desired pictures of food. But both have different roles to perform. And this difference makes Food Stylists important. Let us understand it from some of the points given below:

Works with Chefs and Food Photographers: Food Stylists work with chefs and food photographers. They help to decide the arrangement of the food so that it looks aesthetically appealing and appetizing. This includes not only the placement of the food on the plate but also the type of plates or utensils used, the accompanying tableware and more. At times, food stylists also shop for ingredients and help to decide the recipe so that the food is made maximum attractive both look wise and taste-wise.

While working with the photographers, making those slight changes and arranging ‘every particle’ of the food is the task of a food stylist. For example, while shooting the images, the photographer checks the images by zooming in and out while the food stylist provides inputs on better possible shots and implements the required changes.

More Than Mere Photography: As said in the above paragraph, food stylists work with chefs too. Thus, it can be said that they provide services beyond the photoshoot too. They help in finding out the various innovative ways to create food fusions, presenting the food and so on. In the case of food videos, they decide on how the cooking process should be done or shown, the various ways to present the ingredients as well, etc.

Food stylists also do the job of planning when and how the preparations will be made. That is, certain preparations may need to be held till the last minutes while some can be done in advance. For example, adding soda to the beverage, sprinkling water on vegetables, shots of pieces of bread, etc needs to be done at different time intervals.

Enhances the Colour Scheme and Texture: Food Stylist plans how best the colors can be enhanced according to the color and designs of the plates or glasses, etc along with the setting of the table-ware. He/she knows how to create a newer color combination that also feels enticing and project the desired flavor picture in the audiences’ minds. Thus, they also do the job of highlighting the various ingredients and flavors of the foods.

Setting the Set-Up: This includes not only the plating but also the overall presentation. For example, how best can you present your cookies? You can go for a haphazard pile or a shot of it getting dunked in the milk. But these can also be the cliched and repetitive ways to present the cookies. So, a food stylist will do the job of brainstorming and finding out a better way to present it. For example, the cookie getting bitten by someone, including the portion to be bitten, the position of the fingers holding it, the angle of the hand towards the mouth, the background, etc.

Apart from this, if any additional food decoration needs to be done then it is done by food stylists. It can be like drawing some shape using a combination of fruits and vegetables or highlighting one healthy meal among other lesser healthy meals, or simply highlighting a brand logo on the food package, etc.

The Benefit of Experience: In most of the cases, food stylists have also worked as chefs or cooks at some point in their lives. Hence, they do understand the process of preparing food. But because they are food stylists, they also hold expertise in how best to present the food to make it zestier. So, you get the benefit of culinary skills and creative skills.

Food Styling is as important as Food Photography to increase the reach of your food and expand your client base. But before hiring a food stylist, do keep in mind certain factors like the experience, past works, cost, etc.

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