I wish that when I was in art school—painting prolifically and studying furiously, throwing elaborate dinner parties in friends homes because I didn't have a kitchen in my dorm—I knew about food styling. I longed for a career both culinary and visual, but couldn't imagine what that would look like. If only someone had told me about food styling! I could have spent a summer assisting in New York (sleeping on a friends couch and waiting tables to pay the bills). Instead, I taught myself food styling by accident, not even realizing that what I was doing had a name, was a skill, and could be a career.
If the term food styling means anything to you at all, you might imagine someone pouring cereal into glue or making ice cream out of mashed potatoes for an advertisement. It’s true, that’s one way to go about things, but magazines and lifestyle brands trend toward naturalistic styling and using real food. A food stylist is a cook and an image-maker. She works with the photographer, and often a prop stylist too, to create a pleasing composition and to convey a mood, a narrative, or a concept—and of course to make the food look its best.Read More