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Food-Styling Trends

As I discussed in the introduction, the look of food photography—angles from which the food is shot, lighting, and the styling of the food—have changed considerably. In the past, food stylists arranged elements on the plate specifically to be seen from above. There was hardly any height to the food, and there was sharp separation and distinction between the elements on the plate. This was consistent with the compartmentalized way food was arranged and served in the home, restaurants, and so on.

Today, especially in restaurants, food presentation is more integrated. There is more craft and intricacy in the details of dishes and their garnishes. For example, chefs have found that increasing the height and layering the elements of a dish is visually exciting, although many diners will tell you that it doesn’t make the food any easier to eat! Accordingly, today’s stylists must be more architecturally oriented, and able to separate food elements through contrasting textures and colors. It’s a much harder job now than it was in the past, and the best food stylists are true artists.


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