You know you need a food photographer, but will you need a food stylist too? I’m often asked what, exactly, a food stylist does – and the answer is not just make food look beautiful for camera. This is the ultimate goal, but in getting to the final image, there’s lots of behind-the-scenes organisation. I’ve found the secret to great shoots is meticulous planning beforehand, and then allowing creativity to take over on the day. The process of planning a shoot can be daunting, but it shouldn’t be. Here's why working with a food stylist makes for smooth sailing before and during a shoot:
1. YOU'LL BE WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL WHO CAN HELP REFINE YOUR IDEAS
Maybe you know exactly what you want your foodie pics to look like, but it’s also possible that you’re drowning in a sea of uncertainty. The options are endless, and sometimes the task of simply deciding on the look and feel of a shoot is terrifying. By choosing to work with a stylist, you’ll have an expert on your side, available right from the beginning to help refine your creative ideas, put references together and turn your ideas into beautiful, original images.
2. YOU'LL HAVE SOMEONE TO ADVISE ON THE STEPS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE YOUR FINAL IMAGES
Once you know exactly what you want, you’re going to need an expert who’s experienced in turning ideas into action. From the logistics of where to shoot, how long it will take all the way through to cooking mouth-watering dishes, a stylist will be able to guide you. Wondering how a certain look was achieved? A food stylist applies insider tips to turn your inspiration into original images unique to your brand.
3. PROP, BACKGROUND AND INGREDIENT SOURCING WILL BE TAKEN OFF YOUR HANDS
You’re juggling a million things, and you definitely don’t have time to be running around, sourcing plates/bowls/vintage scales, buying unusual ingredients and creating backgrounds. This is a large part of preparation for shoots, and something you’ll be glad to have taken off your hands.
4. COOKING AND HANDLING OF FOOD BEFORE AND DURING SHOOTS WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF
If your shoot requires any cooking, baking or recipe development, a good stylist will be able to take care of everything to do with food – from buying ingredients, storing them before the shoot to cooking and handling them on the day. Further than this, a stylist is skilled in preparing food for camera – a very different task from home or restaurant cooking.
5. THERE'LL BE MINIMAL INDECISION ON SET
On the day, you’ll be able to sit back while the photographer and food stylist get to work making gorgeous pictures for your brand. When working with an experienced team, decisions are made quickly and easily. Even if it’s a very difficult shot to get, you’ll have a team on your side that is able to make a plan calmly, and ensure that you get exactly what you need out of your shoot.
I'm an experienced food stylist based in Johannesburg, South Africa and I'd love to chat about making your next food shoot a stress-free experience. You can get in touch with me here.