Jette Virdi’s Top 5 Food Styling Tips

Food | 18th July 2017

Jette Virdi, stylist and photographer based in Dublin shares her top 5 tips on Food Styling.

Visual story telling using food is an important part of the marketing and promotion of a food company or restaurant. Below, I list my top 5 styling tips that will help you make your food truly shine.

1. Create a story

Food is never just food. It tells a story – it makes us feel all the feels. How we present food will absolutely influence how your customer feels about your establishment and your product. Presentation doesn’t just stop on the plate. It’s the glasses you use, how clean your cutlery is, the light coming in from the window, the type of napkin you use. All of these elements will tell a story to your customer that either draws them in or has quite the opposite effect. People tend to eat with their eyes first, so make sure you’re creating a story that they want to be part of, not run from!

2. Natural light

I only shoot with natural light and find that this makes everything real. Soft, warm studio lighting with no shadows has its place – of course it does, but it doesn’t convey an aspirational reality. Using natural light to create shadows is mesmerising and will emphasise an aspirational way of living, which will reinforce the story you’re trying to tell about your establishment. Use real light to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to show off your beautiful windows, the flowers outside in the window boxes and even the atmosphere of the building.

3. Use colour to emphasise food

People often forget that the colour of their plate affects how the food looks. Showing off some beautiful heirloom tomatoes? Think twice before using a red plate which won’t necessarily produce the best visual. Always consider how colour can accentuate or hide the real beauty of ingredients – opt for complimentary contrasts like vibrant reds on darker greys for example.

4. Ingredients are key

No one, not even the styling pros, can make a mouldy, limp vegetable or piece of fruit look gorgeous, glowing and tasty. Be just as careful about the ingredients used for your pictures as you would for your customers. The camera will pick up all sorts of little nuances, so go the extra mile to choose only the best, even if it takes a little more time!

5. Let your eye flow

The way you display your food story is just as important as what that story is and the ingredients included. Eyes like to be led toward the centerpiece with flowing curves and movements, so use the plates, napkins and glass to direct the viewer’s eyes toward the main event, i.e. the dish you’re trying to sell. Creating a flow within an image is an art that takes time to learn, but try different placements and see which ones agree with your eyes and which don’t.

Musgrave MarketPlace has a beautiful collection of crockery that comes in vibrant colours as well as subtle, creamy whites and greys. I used them to make the tomatoes pop off the plate and accentuate the lovely variety of shades in the carrots under Tip 3: Use colour to emphasise food. Check out the collection in store or in the Kitchen 2 Counter brochure.

Written by Jette Virdi, food stylist and photographer based in Dublin Ireland.

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Twitter: @jettevirdi

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