Book review – Food Styling for Photographers

by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee

It may be easiest to start with what this book is not. This book, and the lessons within, will not make you a food stylist. This book will not take work away from stylists. We all know there are times when we don’t have the option of working with a professional stylist, whether due to budget, time or logistical constraints. They will not replace the expertise, talents and skills of a professional food stylist.

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Food photography – the basics

As a photography student I was encouraged, and in many cases assigned, to many different types of photography. We were given individual assignments on portraits, still life, products, journalism, industrial, architecture, etc. As I progressed through school, individual assignments gave way to elective courses specific to certain types of photography. Of course learning the technical and aesthetic challenges associated with different types of photography is important to any well rounded education, but more important was the ability to learn about yourself and what types of work you are best suited to. It was during these years that I discovered I really enjoy the slow, methodical processes of studio work and as a natural extension of that I gravitated towards food photography. (more…)

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Shooting ice cream…

…and other frozen treats is delicate and very technically challenging. It’s also a lot of fun. Working with real food is always my preference when possible. I’ve found that the time spent in creating fake food is often better spent by making real food look better. Frozen and very cold items is one of my exceptions to this rule. (more…)

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Splash and pour shots

One of the most fun types of shoots we get asked to do regularly is the pour shot. I personally like the pour shot because it’s technically challenging, visually arresting and sometimes unpredictable. (more…)

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Truth in advertising

I’ll admit that “truth in advertising” is a bit of a contradiction in terms. But one of the great advantages, as well as responsiblities, of photography is that most people view photos as representations of reality. Or at least they do on a subconscious level. Those of us in the industry, and certainly anyone who’s spent 7 hours making a shrimp cocktail look just right, know that reality is flexible. Deciding how flexible is where you can get into trouble. (more…)

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How a typical food shoot comes together

Our clients range from the creative director who’s been doing this for 256 years to the marketing assistant who’s in their first job out of college. Sometimes the clients are from the creative industries (graphic design, advertising, marketing) other times the clients come directly from the food industry. In any case, everyone wants to know how we work. This narrative is based on a typical advertising or corporate shoot. Editorial(magazine) shoots work a bit differently. (more…)

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