It’s hard to overlook the appeal of a well-dressed meal. Food styling elevates food to an art form with a lot of patience and an army of tiny tweezers to tweak individual ingredients for the perfect camera shot. We reached out to foodie blogger and photographer, Heidi of Foodie Crush, to find out what it takes to create a perfectly styled foodie photo finish.
BFF: How much time do you spend making food photo-ready and photographing it?
Heidi: I spend probably way too much time! It seems like the longer I've been cooking, prop styling, food styling and then photographing as a solo act, I've progressively gotten slower. A year ago, I would bang out 4-5 recipes a day. Now I'm lucky if I get two. Generally, I spend 2-3 hours per recipe. If I'm shooting with a team where I don't have to cook or prep the plates, we can sometimes get through 10-12 shots a day.
BFF: What steps do you take to get the best food photos?
Heidi: It depends on what you're taking the photographs for. If you're telling a story within a blog post or editorial, giving a sense of place is important - showing a table, glasses in the background, hands reaching for food. If you're photographing for a client who wants to use their food for advertising or for use in cookbooks, getting a clean, in focus shot that's relatively close-up and simply styled works well. If it’s for Pinterest, showing how ooey gooey the food is always sells. Tight, close-up shots often get pinned more.
Steps for me include using natural light, having your set ready to go and props picked out before cooking the food and having an idea of exactly which shots you want is important to maximize your work flow.
BFF: Have you ever had food photo flop?
Heidi: ABSOLUTELY! Usually it's due to bad lighting or me over styling the photo like making a simple salad look too composed with each berry or nut perfectly placed. It just doesn't look natural when I go overboard.
BFF: What is your favorite food photo you’ve taken?
Heidi: That is a really hard question to answer. Half the time my favorite food photos end up being those I take on Instagram, because of the square format and because they're on the fly. Some photos I love, but more because I loved the recipe or the story that goes along with them so choosing even a few is pretty hard. Plus, some I like because of the composition, but some are better because they sell the recipe better. I like shooting salads because of the fresh ingredients and layers of color. Like this one and this one. But my favorite may be one I took when I first started blogging. This tomato salad.
For more food photo brilliance, check out FoodieCrush!