This photograph took 18 hours and 215 shots. Many times it takes longer, and sometimes I know after a few hours I’ve caught what I am looking for.
Most food stylists have a background in the culinary arts, many are professional chefs. They have knowledge of nutrition, cooking techniques, and food science. The role of the food stylist is to make the food look attractive in the finished photograph.
I’m a different type of food stylist. My experience comes from nutrition, dietetics, food science, recipe development, gardening, and portion control. The biggest difference is portion control and I enjoy working with only fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy.
My goal is to create and illustrate wonderful and appetizing foods using portion control. I want those who view the photographs to experience a feeling of satiety.
I start with a sketch, which includes a grocery list. However, I do leave myself open for specials, sales, and the unusual.
I prepare 3 identical dishes. (One for Jake; the second is the one I play and create with, and the third is called the "Hero" - to be used in the final picture.
I have numerous locations I like to photograph from (inside and outside).
The Den is my studio with extra lights, umbrellas, reflectors, etc.. I use stone, wood or tile tables. Also, the fireplace creates a nice backdrop.
I'm a collector of cloth napkins, baskets and bottles; and I use them in my photographs. Below are some of the different areas I photograph in the den and in dining room.
Inside: Kitchen table; Kitchen window; Kitchen Chair; Food Prep Counter.
Outside: I have a collection of large logs I’ve arranged throughout my yard. Depending on the time of day, I will use them as a stand or background. I also love to use my garden as a background, the food tastes better.
Plates/Accessories. I usually stay with basic colors, so as not to distract from the food, since I like working with foods of many colors. To decorate the image, I like using napkins, herbs, fruits, vegetables, baskets, parchment paper, etc.
I sometimes wonder if we took the same amount of care and preparation creating a meal or dessert from fruits, vegetables or whole grains; rather than a high calorie, high sugar, and high-fat pastry would we make the same choices.
This is a book, I have found very useful, "Food Styling, the art of preparing food for the camera." The author, Delores Custer is passionate about her work and it shows.