Today’s post is a rare foray into blogging about blogging ; specifically, one of the more useful skills for a food blogger today – Food Styling.
I recently attended a session in which professional food photographer and stylist Carole Poirot shared her tips with a group of bloggers. First, an Atelier des Chef class instructor showed us how to make a hazelnut torte, which each group diligently made too. Then, in our groups, we put Carole’s tips into practice by styling our own cake using a few seasonal props provided.
Carole Poirot’s Professional Food Styling Tips
- Decorate the item itself, the plate or dish its on (or in) and the space around it.
- Arrange the dish and props to create a balanced layout, using items of different sizes, colours and textures. Take into consideration the height of items, how far forward or back they are from your shooting point, and how each item relates to the ones next to it. Non symmetrical compositions are often more pleasing to the eye.
- Use seasonal props, not just in terms of a recipe’s ingredients but by adding seasonal flowers and foliage.
- Vary your images by adjusting how close or wide you shoot. Close ups can show details such as flowers, an individual ingredient or part of the dish.
- Depending on the mood you are trying to capture, adding movement to the image may be beneficial – perhaps a hand doing something relevant such as picking up an ingredient or a forkful of food. Another way to add movement is to drape lots of fabric, which also serves to soften the setting.
- Some colour combinations can be jarring to the eye, so use a colour wheel to help pick two or three main colours that work well together. Analogous colours (those that are adjacent to each other on the wheel) create a gentle palette, while complementary colours (those that are opposite to each other ) are more dynamic. That said, if colours are found together in nature, then you can use them together regardless of whether the colour wheel agrees – Carole’s rule is that ‘if nature says it goes, it goes.’
- Tell the story of the food by using ingredients and tools used to make the dish – egg shells, leftover ingredients, extra garnishes, specialist cutlery.
I like to take photographs that show the making of a recipe, not just the finished dish. Here, a bowl of hazelnuts (a key ingredient in the cake) and our filling neatly arranged over the bottom layer, before the second layer was placed over the top; you can just about make out a bowl of apples in the background.
This Baked In Style event was hosted by Currys (in partnership with Neff) and held at Atelier des Chefs St Paul’s location.