Feel like you’ve got the cooking part down, but struggling to make your recipes photo ready? I got you. I’ll be teaching Dessert Styling and Photography at The Bake Fest. During this 2-day virtual baking event, I’ll be going over some of my favorite composition techniques, lighting tips, and more in order to create captivating photos of your cakes and desserts.
Ever wonder what it’s like behind the scenes of all these recipes? I develop, style, and photograph the dishes myself, and one of my favorite parts is crafting a story around the food. I love styling food to highlight its “wow” factor - the creaminess of ice cream that's just started to melt, the moist crumb of a decadent chocolate cake, a gooey caramel center.
There are many types of food photography and food styling tricks to go along with them. From faux ice cream that never melts to motor oil “syrup,” some substitutes are gross to down-right inedible. For me, the food is always real, just slightly enhanced. Here’s a peek into my Food Stylist Tool Kit and my must-haves to help my recipes shine.
12 Must-Haves in My Food Stylist Tool Kit:
Micro adjustments make ordinary food even more attractive and mouth-watering. These tools help make precise placements:
Tweezers - From sprinkles to garnishes, use tweezers to place smaller food items at just the right angle without disturbing the rest of the dish.
Eye Droppers - Get the perfect drip by controlling liquids with an eye dropper.
Paint Brush - Add glazes or clean up cake layers with a small paint brush.
Offset Spatula or Cake Server - Great for spreading frosting but also essential for lifting and placing food around the scene.
Arranging food for a photo can sometimes feel like a balancing act. Here are some supportive players to help keep food in place:
Make-up Wedges - The flexible sponges can help prop up food and keep round items from rolling away. They can be cut to size and used to support uneven cake stands and platters, too.
Skewers and Toothpicks - Poke items into place. Larger skewers are great for stacking while toothpicks keep smaller bits from falling over.
What to learn more about food styling and photography? Drop your questions in the comments!
Sometimes the food isn’t straight from the oven by the time it gets photographed. Here are some sneaky tricks and tools for refreshing the dish and adding finishing touches:
Hair Dryer or Kitchen Torch - Melt chocolate quickly for that fresh-baked look.
Spray Bottle or Mister - Depending on if you want larger water droplets or a fine mist of moisture, use these with water or oil to give life back to anything from fresh produce to cooled spaghetti.
Fine Mesh Sieve - Control cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar on top of your lattes, snack cakes, and more.
A big part of food styling is taming messes. It’s about finding the sweet spot between carefree crumbs to careless mess. From excess sprinkles to bigger spills, I’m never without:
Fan Brush - These brushes sweep away fine crumbs from the scene. The wide, flat shape fits into nooks and crannies.
Cotton Swabs - It’s tempting to reach in and clean small drips and dribbles with a fingertip, but cotton swabs keeps things much cleaner without smearing the mess around.
Paper towels - From managing bigger drips, blotting condensation, and wiping sticky fingers, a full roll of paper towels should always be on standby.