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At the Shoot

Every good food stylist must be able to suggest and accommodate last-minute recipe changes and adjustments in order to make the dish look its best on camera. Moreover, food stylists are required to create beautiful dishes that can hold up for several hours on and off set, not to mention withstand hot, harsh lighting conditions. This ability is both an art and a science. Anyone who has worked on a food shoot can tell you that at the end of the day, some dishes do not always taste as good as they look!

As the photographer, you must make sure every visual element in the picture is complementary and in balance. I let the food stylist take charge of preparing and styling the food to its best appearance, but if I see something that doesn’t work visually, then I don’t hesitate to make suggestions. I always try to make the stylist aware of the angle from which I plan to shoot, and the type and direction of lighting I am using. Often, I request the stylist to prepare a “stand-in” or mock-up dish so that we can determine the best styling, composition, and lighting approaches. Factors such as the contrast in colors and textures of the food must be taken into consideration. Make it a point to evaluate all the possible presentations to determine what will create the most appetite appeal. Thanks to the immediacy of digital photography, the photographer, stylist, and client can look at the test shoots in real time and have input into what the final image will be.


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