Introduction to Food Styling

January 30, 2017

Today in food styling we went over a PowerPoint presentation on some common food styling and photography tricks of the trade. We discussed some of the ways that food stylists alter the food to make them appear more appetizing in advertisements, magazines, food labels, and more. For example, the picture on the cereal box is probably not using real milk; its might be white glue. We also learn that mashed potatoes are one of a food stylists “best friends.” They can be used for ice cream or even added to a chicken’s cavity to make it look more plump. Food stylists are coming up with all this tricks to make food better and easier to photograph!

We also talked about the business ethics involved in food styling. There are certain things you can and cannot do when it comes to representing your products. For example, if your ad is about and selling chocolate syrup, you have to use the actual chocolate syrup you selling in the ad or photograph. If you use a different syrup and say the photograph is of the “real syrup,” then that is considered cheating and is considered wrong and you will earn a bad reputation as a food stylist and for the company you are representing.

Food stylists can also “stretch” the products or “enhance” them. Stretching would be if a food stylist hand placed each and every chocolate chip into a cookie to that it would look picture perfect. We all know that if you buy a package of cookies at the store that they will not look perfect as you take them out of the package and that all the chips will not be right on top. This is stretching the product.

Enhancing a product is a very common and acceptable practice. A food stylist can dust off any crumbs on the cookie so that it looks better for the photo. Another example is for the food stylist to warm up the cookies so the cookies look like they just came out of the oven.

After learning about what food stylist should and should not do, we went to the demo kitchen and we given different store bought/ prepackaged breakfast products to see if we thought they were a stretch, enhance, or cheat. I got Nature Valley Granola Cups. We were told to look at the actual product and compare it to the picture on the box. On the box the cups had a thick chocolate covering on the bottom and coming up around the sides.

granola-cups-peanut-butter-chocolate
https://www.naturevalley.com/product/granola-cups-peanut-butter-chocolate/

The real granola cup only had a thin coating on the bottom and none on the side. Also on the box picture were nuts sprinkled nicely coating the top of the cup, but the real one had a few nuts but they were only on half the cup bunched up together. So the food stylist obviously re-dipped the cups and arranged the nuts nicely on top for the picture. I decided since the product still resembled the picture on the box that it had been slightly stretched.

I was intrigued to learn about some the tips and tricks used and didn’t think about food styling having any ethics until now. Excited to see what next Monday brings with making fake ice cream!

~Holly O

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