Venturing into Food Styling

I’ve officially made it through my 5th week of my food photography course. Woohoo!

This week, our homework was to use our food styling skills to photograph three grilled meals, that were finished and plated. We were to use a variety of angles, staging, and lighting methods.

I thought this week would be SO much easier than last weeks shots of the actual grilling in process, but it really wasn’t. However, I do find it more satisfying to play with staging and the styling food. I’m really enjoy it and my plan is to keep learning as much as I can about food styling. I know I have a long way to go, but I think these photos do show progress.

(As with last week, please excuse the lack of recipes in this post — this was more about showing photos of what I’ve learned)

One of our first grilled meals this week was Grilled Fettuccine Alfredo. The shrimp was grilled first and then added to the top of a creamy garlic alfredo sauce.

I was fairly happy with these shots, although photographing pasta and sauces before they look gross is quite challenging!

I tried so hard to get the pasta to display nicely…I don’t think I did a bad job, but I would like it to look even better. I’ll definitely try again!

The 2nd of our three grilled meals was cheeseburgers, which I was craving so badly! We served it with oven baked zucchini sticks.

This meal was my biggest challenge. First, I had plated everything really nicely on a white rectangle plate that I bought at Ikea. And then everything went crashing to the floor. I was crushed. Is there crying in food blogging? In my case, yes.

So, I tried again. And I still wasn’t happy and I almost didn’t want to share these photos. But, what’s the sense in that? It’s part of my progress and good to show. For example, in this photo below I have several things I don’t like:

  • the background shows a wrinkle (I like the plaid look a lot, but it needs to be neater)
  • the grilled hamburger patty looks too small compared to the bun and toppings — totally top heavy! lol
  • the cheese wasn’t melted as nicely as I would have liked
  • the composition of the shot needs improvement

The positive in all of this? I’m so happy that I can see these things! Seeing and knowing my mistakes will be the key for me improving.

Our last meal grilled meal was Tequila-Lime BBQ Chicken, which we served with baked beans and fruit.

I felt a bit brain-dead when I went to plate and stage this meal. I stared at it and I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do — or what I should do.

So, I pulled out this lime green placemat, because I felt it would subtly pull the color from the fruit. Then I realized it went well with the name of the barbecue sauce (tequila-lime) too. Nothing fancy, but I feel that it works okay.

I told some of my closest friends this week that I have lots of plates and props for food photography, but that I’ve been scared to use it all. I’m worried that I’ll screw up my shots with too much stuff, or not enough, or use colors or props that makes my food look bad. This week challenged me to start styling and staging my food more, to step outside my comfort zone. And it was during all this that I realized — it’s okay if I make mistakes or don’t style like the best food bloggers or photographers. I am me and I’ll get there if I work hard at it. And that’s what I intend to do.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This #grillingishappiness shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears Grilling #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness #SoFabU . All photos and opinions are my own.

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  1. says

    Ohhhh! How fun to take a food styling class! I’ve never done so, but food photography is one of my favorite genres. One angle that I love to take on a plated meal is straight from above. I use a stool, or stage it low to the ground, and shoot from directly above. It makes me feel very aware of the entire meal. I like to play with sources of light to highlight whatever element I’m posting about. Great work, and I agree- whats the fun of not posting where you started. We’ll never get to see how far you’ve come!

  2. says

    I really should be taking this class along side of you. I just try to mimic what other photographers are doing…but then I get the picture back to the computer and pick it apart. Hopefully though each picture is getting better and better – and you’re doing a great job!!

  3. says

    I love reading your posts— love the pics… they really help with the food ideas you post. BTW, your pastas… the veggie ones- TO DIE FOR! Love it!

  4. says

    So much to learn. You are doing such a fabulous job at this! I would say that practice makes the biggest difference. I can’t wait to see what you are taking pictures of next!


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