Both a cook and an artist, a Food Stylist is a professional that with technique and style manages to transform an ingredient, a dish or a recipe into a model to be photographed or filmed.
But it’s not just about making the food beautiful, you need to be able to allure all the senses, especially the taste buds. Food Styling went from being a niche industry, for very specific assignments, to the driving force of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and it is constantly growing.
It’s a world of pretty pictures and yet what looks good on the plate doesn’t necessarily look good on a picture: what does it take to produce captivating food photography? How is it possible to translate and convey in a picture those delicious moments that follow a bite of a tasty morsel? How to translate (with food styling) our dedicated time spent in the kitchen to prepare those tasty bites into dazzling images? … On Food, Photography & Styling
When portable phones became popular, callers did not say “How are you?” any more but “Where are you?”
Being somewhere else from the landline phone device was (then) so weird that the first question did not concern how you were but rather the place you were answering from.
Twenty-some years later, with our ubiquitous smartphones in our hands, we should change the question once more and ask “What are you having for lunch/dinner?”. If you have not realized it yet, most of the time people use their smartphones for taking pictures of food.
Browsing through any profile (may it be Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn) you can be sure to find pics of food. There is nothing wrong about that. I mean, if you’re in Australia and you are about to bite into some witchety grubs (i.e. larvae of the cossid moth Endoxyla leucomochla) perhaps your main concern will be to take a snap of your snack and inform your dear ones that you will survive that faceful ordeal (by the way, larvae taste vaguely of almonds and, believe it or not, they are one of the most sought-after food among Aborigines).
The point is how good are the pictures we take in order to arouse interest, curiosity or pleasure, because more often than not the shots we see on line are blurry, too dark or over-exposed, photobombed or at least with a dozen of undesired elements that ruin the picture.
Appetibilis Team and Ristorante Spazio 33 in Lanciano (a lovely town in Abruzzo) tried to give some useful tips for amateur food photographers. This was not meant to be a photography course, rather an informal evening with people who are willing to improve their photography techniques.
At the cosy and intimate venue of Spazio 33, customers found a miniature photographic set, some basic photographic gear and were asked to take pictures of the dishes they were going to have.
Between some “Brussels sprouts with gorgonzola cheese, grapes and almonds” and a mouth-watering heap of “tortellini stuffed with porcini mushroom scented with lavender buds”, guests challenged themselves with lights, exposures and layouts.
People had the chance to take snaps of “carne salada (i.e. salted meat) carpaccio topped with Tropea onion chutney and marsala”. Not bad, eh?
The good thing about shooting food is that it is does not move (unless you are having witchety grubs) and after the shot, you will actually “enjoy” it. The bad thing is that lights, shadows and reflection on dishes and props will be difficult to manage if you do not master the basics of food photography.
Appetibilis team tried to give some tips on how to make the snaps really enticing for all those who did not have the luck to try the real dishes.
Did we succeed in doing so?
“Always kiss the cook” #InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis
Brussels sprouts are comfortably sitting on a gorgonzola cream bed… #InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis
What about tortelloni? Gorgeous and succulent!#InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis
Ristorante Spazio 33 Lanciano (CH) #InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis
Carne salada, a perfect blend of scent and tastes #InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis
Tiramisù: the perfect dessert for an outstanding dinner#InstaFoodSpazio33 #AtelierAppetibilis