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Food styling: three things to consider

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In a world that has been consumed by social media, the appearance of food has never been as important as it is now. A dish may be perfectly seasoned and full of flavour but if the appearance is not good enough to be snapped, uploaded and shared, then suddenly the taste of that dish becomes completely irrelevant! But not to worry, Le Cordon Bleu London has compiled this list of three key things that you need to consider when food styling to ensure that your dish looks Instagram-worthy.

1. The food should always be the hero

The food should always remain the focus of your image, and not be overwhelmed by other components, such as props or backgrounds. It is not an exaggeration to say that using the freshest and most premium ingredients that you can find will result in more visually appealing food and more social media friendly pictures.

You can try using interesting garnishes that complement the food, such as a sprinkle of parsley on a bubbling macaroni cheese, or a dollop of strawberry sauce on an ice-cream, which will add to the appeal of the picture but will not take away from the main feature.

2. Food appears different through the lens of a camera.

That big, juicy triple decker, bacon and cheese burger, with its crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes and freshly toasted bun, may look absolutely amazing through your eyes, but that doesn’t mean the camera will see it in the same light. A camera needs help seeing depth and texture so your food needs to be altered and styled accordingly.

It is also important to note that you should always arrange the food whilst looking at it from the angle at which it will be shot so you can see exactly what the camera will see, as the food will look completely different at birds eye view then what it will at eye level. Generally, food is best shot directly from above but dishes such as the delicious burger previously mentioned, where there is height and layers, would need to be shot at an angle that emphasizes these key factors.

Expert top-tip: Photographing food close-up produces more visually appealing and mouth-watering images that are sure to grab the attention of your audience.

3. A bit of contrast is always appealing

Contrasts in shape, texture, height, and colour are always more visually appealing as they add dimension and variety to the shot. This should be considered when styling your food, so that your dish, garnishes and props are presented in the best possible light.

It is also important to consider the colours in your shot. Complementing colours (those that are opposite on the colour wheel) always photograph the best, which will ensure that your image is Instagram worthy, making it more likely to attract attention and accumulate all of those likes and shares!

So there you have it, Le Cordon Bleu London’s quick introduction to food styling. If you would like some more in-depth training in this topic then why not try our online Food Photography course or our Food Photography and Styling course in London, which will equip you with the skills and knowledge that you need to style food for beautiful images.

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