Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is the Styling of Food Necessary?

The need for food styling is a question that is often raised. The photographing or filming of food is very involved, and many techniques are employed to stabilize, sustain, and, if necessary, enhance the food to be photographed. Most important is that the food look as fresh and appetizing as possible until the image is captured, but this process can take hours. During that time, the food needs to be kept "alive," or replaced as often as needed, sometimes very often. It should be remembered that foods are like ‘children’ it ‘misbehave’ especially in-front a camera. For example, it is difficult to take a photograph of a barbecue grill with flames lapping up through an arrangement of a piece of king prawn, because the flames will char the food within minutes. The food might need to be replaced a several times and look identical each time so as not to affect the lighting or camera framing. Or to shoot a commercial that features a slice of pizza with a piece being bitten off, twenty takes with twenty perfect slices might be needed before the director gets the shot in which the dough or pastry looks identical enough. Even a bowlful of salad demands a unique knowledge and set of skills to keep it looking crisp and moist. This knowledge and these skills are essential to successful food styling, and ensure that the process of capturing the needed image on film is efficient and cost-effective.

While there is a trend toward a more documentary style of photographing food that seem to be turn away from the arts of food styling , however this seemingly straightforward approach might need to involve many of the same considerations that go into typical food photography such as props, lighting, camera angle. Although food photographed straight out of the kitchen might have a natural honesty about it, the end result is not always attractive. Most consumers, and more importantly the clients, still expect to see images of appealing food.

Food Styling for Blog

Nowadays food blog have become popular among us. Food bloggers come from various background.............housewife, home economist, chef and even food enthusiast. But do you know that as food bloggers you need to take on a multi-tasking role, a chef, writer, food photographer, food stylist and on top of that kitchen helper / cleaner and dish / pot washer. It a multi-tasking and hard job, do you agree with me?
As mentioned earlier in my previous writing, food styling is a form of artwork in its own right. The job of a food stylist is just not to arrange and using various technique in order to make food look perfectly beautiful, delicious and tempting before the camera, it need a creative and imaginary minds too.. This requires an artistic in you and the ability to transform all the 'unseen' quality of a good food such as aromas and tastes into photograph.
To be an effective food stylists one need to be able to use appropriate equipment in a process to create the perfect piece of food art. Access to a decent studio or workshop will be helpful apart from knowledge of basic or even advance photography such as lighting, backgrounds. And, a long with that the ability to identify appropriate and suitable props that might compliment and enhance the food image would be useful. However not all food bloggers have the liberty to own a studios, lighting equipment or even knowledge and skill as food stylist. So, this left them to whatever resources they have. But that does not means it is the end of the road.

Here are four tips for a start, that you may find useful on how you can style your food effectively without having that so called 'professional equipment", just use whatever equipment available.

1. Proir to that, please bare in mind that a succesful food photograph should start with an exceptional quality - it has to show up in the final product. Quality is the whenever you are taking the task do not compromise when quality is concern, thrive for perfection. And, please also remember that it may not takes a real cooking for that purpose.

2. Using of white plate and a white background will make and complement food that particularly vibrant in color. You will find that most food product will be easily matched with white plate and background.
3. Understand the shape and form of the food. To break the monotonous, avoid using same texture for the backgroud compare to your food. For example if your food is smooth use a texture background or if your food is rich in texture use a smooth background. This will ensure the food (focal point) is enhanced in appearance not overshadowed by the background.

4. Balance and harmonized the colours – two or three colors are often better than one but avoid too many color.  For example using black and white in highlighting one photographic element can create an interesting mood but it all depend on what you would like ti emphasize.

..........................more tips to be shared...................

New semester begins...............

 Welcome to all students that will be taking the Food Styling course - HTC640 this September'11 - January'12 session. Hope you all have enjoyed your long holiday fruitfully. I guess it is still not too late to wish all of you Eid Mubarak - May Allah bless us all in this "Month of Victory".

Insyaallah for this coming semester I'll try my very best to record all the class activities in a video form and upload it here. It will be useful as a source of references for all of you. May Allah give me strength and ability to fulfill this project. And, off course I will also need you help for this task.............and here are some photo for you to enjoy..........................................


Photo: Razali Hassan - Fotomomo