For every food blog with gorgeous photos, 10 others need work.
So I’ve asked Denise Vivaldo, founder of Food Fanatics, a catering, recipe development and food styling firm based in Los Angeles, to come to the rescue. She has styled food for television shows including The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Inside Dish with Rachel Ray.
Q. What is the definition of a food stylist?
A. It’s the food stylist’s job to prepare food for the camera. The food is not necessarily consumed but prepared just for the camera. The majority of tricks we use are to manipulate the food so it’s still edible.
Now that’s different for food bloggers. You develop issues about food when your family’s going to eat it. You want it to still be hot, to make sure nothing gets into it to contaminate it, and you don’t want to waste it.
So if I were making strawberry ice cream, I would pick out a quart of strawberry ice cream at the grocery store and shoot that. That way I might not feel panicked about working with it.
Q. Where do food bloggers go wrong about food styling?
A. A blogger in a class I was teaching once said to me, “I just throw it on the plate. I have four kids to feed.” You need to understand composition.
I’ve found that bloggers don’t read the instruction book that comes with the camera. I tell them to take off the automatic setting and learn to focus the camera themselves. Take the automatic flash off and learn how to harness light.
They don’t get close enough to the food. You want to be able to lick that photograph! Props and food trends come and go, but less is more in photographs.
Q. What if I don’t have a whole cabinet full of pretty plates and dish towels?
A. Then get close to that food!
Also, food needs color. Get gorgeous colored napkins: vibrant blues, pinks and orange. Then