Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Noodle Vs Pasta

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What they says.............

Here are some comments from those who have attended the Food Styling course:

Firstly, many thanks to En. Ali,

For me, this course is really fun and leisure, before this I always puzzle why the picture that use in commercial purpose is always look great. But the real dishes look very different in term of their size, look and appearance.
After a few classes, I have learned some of the tips and tricks on how to make the picture look fantastically great. Nevertheless, I also have learned about the role of the food stylist, to make the food look attractive in the finished photograph. Moreover, the main difference between how a home cook or chef may present food and what a stylist does is the time and effort a stylist takes to carefully and artfully arrange the food.

There are so much knowledge and information that I've learned throughout this learning session of this subject. Beside the technical part of this subject in which related to the understanding the camera function, it also giving us chance to know the essence/basic requirement to become a food stylist. This subject also thought us the skills to portray the best image of the food by using the correct props, camera angle, substitutes products, and also the lighting factor.
For me, it is something that every one involve in food industry should know and feel proud of it - the ability to transform a simple food items into an artistic image. It also show that there are so much career opportunity in food industry beside the traditional career in Kitchen Brigade as long you have the passion.


What I have gathered and learned from this course that there are ways and tricks that can be used to produce food image which can make a simple food dish to become mouth watering, create hungry feeling just by looking at the image. By using inedible food product such as motor oil can create distinct color and texture of a food product which it will reflect at the final food image.
Shooting picture at the right angle also can simply gives the image that makes it interesting, appetizing and enticing thus make people wanted to buy the product.


Personally I have learnt something very genuine and interesting. I might use it for my future career like making my own cookery books such as books on fruits carving, and ice carving. For that I might use the tips and techniques of styling and shooting photos. My 15 yrs experience in the industry as chef and entrepreuner and 23 yrs teaching seems just not enough. Thats why Allah ask us to learn until we die.
So interesting...I really enjoy this course because I learn lots of new things that I never expect before such as use a fake item to make the food look appetizingly real.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Preparing Roasted Chicken.


A good, fresh looking chicken will always be the most vital aspect of this task. As mentioned earlier the first styling tasks are to look for the best ingredients available you can find. If it have to take you to wake in the early hour of the day to find this ‘actor’ by all means you have to do it. It is not impossible here in Malaysia for us to look for freshly slaughtered and carefully dressed chicken. So what you need for this task:

1. Fresh and carefully dressed, proportionate chicken.

2. Aluminum foil.

3. Panting brushes.

4. Thread – strong and thin (fine)

5. Pins / needles.

6. For coloring – caramel. Thick and thin soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar syrup and oil.

7. Roasting pan.

8. Freshly selected vegetables

9. Sauce (optional)

10. Props and tools - crockery, utensils etc

Steps one:

Clean and dressed chicken carefully. Make sure there are no tiny hairs or any bruises. Stuff the chicken with aluminum foil and push up the breast upward. Use fine and strong sewing thread for trussing. If thick or butcher twine are used it with create a roasting mark onto the chicken. Position the chicken as how you want it to be. Pin both wings to it body using needles. Be careful with the wings if it turns dark during the roasting process cover it with aluminum foil.

Thick and thin soy sauce, oyster sauce and honey is used to paint the chicken for a roasting effect,
 Preparing the vegetables for the roasted chicken.

 The chicken is stuffed with aluminum foil this allow to better shaped the chicken.
 A pin or needles are used to secure the opening to make the roasted chicken more presentable.
 Trussing the chicken using a strong but thin sewing thread.

Before applying a paint on the chicken, baste it with hot boiling water.

When the chicken is ready, baste it with hot boiling water. This is to make the skin to be slightly cooked. This will allow it to be painted if not the color may not stick to the skin.Using the combination of the color that are available in the kitchen such as caramel, thick and thin soya sauce and oyster sauce, you may paint the chicken to resemble a fully cooked roasted chicken. A fully cooked roasted chicken may not look appetizing in a photograph – it may shrink in the process of roasting. The process of painting the chicken may take a few steps. You have to apply the color layer by layer, alternately by putting the chicken in a pre-heat oven of 200 degree C, 2 – 3 minutes at each time.

Once you feel that you get the right color that you want, untied the chicken, and paint it where the thread may leave a visible mark. Prepare a plate or casserole depending on how you want to present your roast chicken. Arrange it and visualize on how you want it to appear in a photograph. Be careful of the chicken jus and dripping it may wet you plate so you need to be fast. Before that you got to prepare the accompaniment – vegetables, starches and sauce where appropriate.

Types of Food Styling

Food is styled to be photographed for different purposes. The food that is styled probably is to be photograph for recipe books or for a poster. A bowl of salad can be photographed for a poster or an advertisement in a newspaper of a restaurant or even used for a menu card. As mentioned , the purpose of each type of food photography in general is to make food look good and fresh or tempting and irresistible. However, it is all depend on how the photograph is going to be used. For that matter of fact Food Stylist need to understand the purpose of each assignment.

It is said that good looking photograph of food could enhance the sales of a cookbook. Food stylist must understand that cookbook are displayed and purchases from a shelf in a bookstores, far away from a real kitchen that are full of aromas and flavors. And as for the recipes its only contain the list of ingredients and method of cooking mainly written in black and white, the purchaser must to a great length have to use his / her imagination to visualize this information into aromas, flavors and tastes. This is where, the combination of good food styling and great photo taking will transformed all the good food elements into a photograph – that look tempting and irresistible. In another instant, when customers open the menu at a restaurant – what will they see? Some restaurants have pictures of their menu items to make customer mouth to wet and drool. In a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) picture of food are decorated on the walls or hang from the ceiling for promotional purposes. These pictures need not be too detail or exaggerating but most of them should be as real close as possible and realistic. It is all with purposes apart been used as a promotional tool, it allow people with disabilities to place their order by only pointing to the picture that they want to order.

As a matter of fact, a good food photograph is just not only a visual aspect, it conveyed more sensory information – it communicates, it stimulates the senses of tastes and smells. Generally there are basically two types of still food photography: editorial photos for a book or magazines and commercial purposes photos such as advertising, packaging and labeling. For a commercial purpose photos, most of the time advertisers want their product prominently featured and in full focus. While in editorial works it allows greater creativity on both the part of the photographer and food stylist compared to advertisements. To create superb creation, the food stylist and photographer most of the time will be working together.

For this purpose of assignment photograph is to be used in an editorial works – such as recipe books. Others include magazines and food articles such as in a newspaper. Generally these are considered as editorial food styling. This type of food styling and photographing can be considered as the most popular and, it is the most exciting assignment compared to the other types of food styling. This type of styling and photographing for editorial has broadly saying of ‘no limit to creativity’.
While ad photos are restricted by the concept developed and required by ad agencies. Editorial food styling and photographing has only one purpose – make food look beautiful. All creative lighting in the world can be used and all props available can be placed to achieve beauty. Editorial food styling and photographing allows a lot more freedom. The quality of images needs to be good enough to be published in magazine or a recipe book. The camera need not be as expensive as for advertising food photography and the photo shoot itself can be cheaper than ad photo shoots.

Illustration of food styling work for editorial purpose – a front page of a magazine.
……….and example of food styling for editorial work – recipe book

Styling and photographing product for advertisement sometime lead to using of fake food as well as some secret and techniques to make food look tempting. This type of styling and photographing of food product is used for advertising purposes such as for newspaper advertising. However it is also used for menus, brochures, flyers and billboards. Props and other supporting tools can be used to create an harmony and tempting outcomes. Food Stylist and Photographer need to work closely with the advertising agency to visualize the idea and concept that have been decided by the agency. The thing that needs to be remembered by Photographer for this assignment is about the quality of the photograph, since these photos can be used for billboard or a large advertisement such as poster, thus, the quality need to be very high.

Illustration of food styling work for advertising purpose..

Packaging and Labeling
Almost daily we are been expose to the food packaging. It has been too familiar sometime we are not even notice the effort that it took to styled the food and photograph it on that particular packaging. The breakfast cereal, the milk pack, the frozen process food that usually we buy on our visit to the supermarket (to name a few), all of them come together with a nice looking food photos. It is some of the few example food photography for packaging. There are several differences between food photography for packaging and the other types are amount of effort and technical know how about styling and photography. There are a lot of efforts and technical knowledge on the product and meticulous detail that it may take in preparing or styling the food before being photographed. Cautions should be taken in using props so it does not overshadow the main product.

One should remember that for this type of photography is that the food should be presented as clear and as detail as possible. Since, the photo is to be used on a package of a product, the idea is to show as exactly as possible what is in the package. Food stylist has to put effort to ensure that numbers or pieces of the product in the package, color and ingredients if possible should be shown as realistic as possible. At the same time food stylist need to be careful on law and legal issues – overdoing or exaggerating may lead to legal complication.

TV or Film
This type of food styling takes a different approach compare to the above. Food stylist need to work closely with prop master / director who work on the set. For this purpose food need to look as natural as possible and most important it should be edible. If the shoot is for commercial, food stylist usually works directly with the director and he / she need to work directly at the set. Prior to that Food Stylist need to understand the idea and concept of that particular assignment. One of the most challenging aspects of the motion food styling is the need to be ready to prepare as much food ‘actor’ and as identically as possible. This is all depends on how many ‘takes’ are taken for that particular scene.

Setting up and present it...................
Flicking through the pages of a glossy food magazine, one could not miss to spot the work of a food stylist. Most people could not imagine the length to which food stylist has to go in order to make food look perfect. One might just think that “if you want a photo of a bowl of noodle, you just take a bowl of noodle and photograph it” – so what the big deal? The problem with food, it is just could not behave the way you want it to be. It may dried-up, shrunk, discolored and sag. Creating a harmony ambiance and tied-up with the idea and concept is another aspect that food stylist need to looked into. So, setting up is just not a matter of putting all together into one plate – it is far more than that.
There are two ways of setting that are normally applied in food styling and photography which are the type and style:

i. Types of food styling

a. Single serving.

- In a single serving shot effort should be put to show the texture and portion.

b. ‘How to’ or instructional shot.

- A step by step instructional mode of food styling.

c. Finished whole dish

- Normally a whole dish is presented together with a accompanying props that enhance the presentation of the food. Example a whole picture of a 1.5 kgs of cake.

d. Combination of ‘How to’ and finished whole dish.

- Combination of the step by step instructional and it finished product are presented.

e. Finished whole dish and setting.

- Setting up of the whole dish complete with it props and tools. For instance if the dish is presented on a table, consideration to be taken on setting up the table or even a room in case of a banquet or buffet spread.

f. Combination of finished whole dish and still life ingredients

- Normally used in a recipe complete with the picture of it ingredients

g. Finish whole dish and serving.

- Comprise of two elements, the whole dish as well as the portion serving – plating.

h. Abstract.

- Some call it as out of this world – beyond ordinary

i. Ingredients

- Showing all the ingredient for a particular recipe – used for editorial purposes

ii. Style of food styling and photography

a. Outdoor

b. Old fashioned / homey

c. Modern / contemporary

d. Elegant

e. Sophisticated

f. Eclectic – diverse, assorted etc

g. Ethnic

h. Seasonal

i. Holiday / occasion

j. Barbeque / outdoor

k. Special event

l. In the kitchen – in action

As a Food Stylist one should be prepared to visualize the type and style to fit the concept of each of the particular task as well as understand the purpose of it photograph taken.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food Styling for Menu

Below are some example of food photos for menu e.g menu card, stand card, light box, flyer, brochure and etc (photographed by razali hassan and styled by ali mohamad noor)

A cross-over concept of Western Cafe and Coffee Tiam menu development. Lesser props were used in this concept in order to emphasize more on the main item. In the styling aspect focus were made to portray the texture of the dish. While for photography it simulated the clean and decent image - honesty of the dish itself.