What I do:
We eat with our eyes first! As a food stylist, I blend culinary art and science in preparing beautiful food for commercial photography. Yes, it is a real job! It is creative, fun, always interesting, physically demanding and every photo shoot comes with a new challenge.
Each time you flip through the pages of a cookbook, look at all the food photos on packages and ads in a grocery store, see a food commercial or an elaborate food scene in a movie; a food stylist was most likely involved in making the food look delicious and appetizing. There is a full kitchen in most photo studios, but if we are location, I take a makeshift kitchen to prepare the food and keep it camera ready.
I love my job. I am a treasure hunter and a problem solver. I search for the best produce, herbs, meat, seafood and products to assure that each photo shoot is a success. Each photo is like a mini movie set so it appears as if it’s actually in an environment. It may look as if you were having a picnic, eating at a high end restaurant or having a family celebration. So, I scour antique stores, junk yards, back yards, anywhere to find props that add that extra eye appeal and authenticity to each composition. Whether the shoot is in the studio or on location, my job is to make sure we have every detail thought out well in advance, extra food, extra props and lots of creative ideas. My clients count on me to deliver and I like the challenge.
There are food stylists all over the world. Many of us meet bi-annually at a convention for culinary professionals called Food on Film. We learn about changing trends in the industry from other food professionals, share tips and tricks in styling everything from ice cream, chocolate, or how to get the perfect cheese melt, and much more.
Creating a gorgeous photo requires the vision and collaboration of an entire team. The team can include the client, ad agencies, art directors, graphic designer’s, corporate chefs, photographers and assistants in addition to the food stylist. There can be up to 7 people or more on a photo shoot. More importantly are the farmers, food scientists, and marketing teams that develop a product or idea long before it even gets to a photo shoot..
The most rewarding part of my job is making that vision a reality. I create a still life that draws you in by delivering the perception of taste, aroma and appeal in each photograph. If it makes you want to take a bite, I’ve done my job.
Check out “behind the scenes” on my site for some of the things we do to make food look beautiful and appetizing. You might be surprised!