Lesson 18 – Start with Simple Food Styling

Food Styling Secrets

Food styling… easily the most challenging aspect of food photography. It is also the reason why most aspiring food photographers do not make better pictures.

Today we tackle food styling with a simple tip.

Food styling is very vast and doing it right takes a lot of experience. So while this post or next couple of them won’t make you an expert, it will certainly give you some simple ways to style your food better.

Garnishing is the easiest way to style the food. Once you have food subject prepared, you can add some nuts or herbs, whatever recipe can accommodate.

Garnishes are commonly available in every kitchen so finding them is very quick and easy. Below are five ways to garnish your food.

5 Ways to Garnish Food for Photography

As we’ve discussed, garnishing is simple and easy way to style your food. Here are five easy ways:

  1. Chopped Nuts or seeds
  2. Creams
  3. Shredded Cheese
  4. Herbs
  5. Spices like cardamom, cinnamon powder etc.

These are some ways you can garnish the food. Each one of these works with a certain type of food. You can add nuts to dessert, but shredded cheese may not work. Similarly shredded cheese or cream may work just fine with soup, but sprinkling the spices may not work.

If you are creating a food photo for your blog, you have liberty to add whatever you like to the recipe and the food photo. If this is a commercial work, there are certain boundaries you have to work within.

One caution on garnishing – Don’t overdo it. If you overdo garnishing, it will steal the show from the food subject and that’s not what we want.

Do you have any other ways you garnish your food? Share it with rest of us in the comments below.

Let’s start the assignment...

Today’s Assignment

Estimated time: 30 mins

Step 1 – Just like before, today again, select the subject. Ideally use the same food subject, you have been using last couple of days. This will give you an easy way to measure your improvements.

Step 2  – Set up the scene and bring the food and get ready to take a photograph. Do not add any garnishing at this point.

Step 3 – After step 2 is done, take a photograph without any styling garnish.

Step 4 – Add garnish. Use any one of the five above or any other you can think of.

Step 5 – Take photographs with these garnishes.

Step 6– Just like previous assignments, compare photos from step 2 and step 4. Does the photo look any different? Is one of the two better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Step 7 – Upload the best photo/s on Lesson 18 Album on the new Facebook Group. If you are not a member of the facebook group, you will not be able to view the album. Request access from the FB Group page.

  • Im still waiting to be accepted into the fb page, so I will just keep posting here. Here is my garnish picture 🙂

  • Ambrosia Pardue-Lee

    I also don’t yet have access to the FB page.
    Below are my non-garnish vs garnish pictures.

    I was having a really hard time with the lighting, the lower right corner was super dark / shadowy so I brought in a light and I don’t know, I still am not happy with the lighting. Lighting is one of my biggest hurdles!

  • Here’s my lesson 18. Trying to get some feed back on my photos, please take a look and let me know.

  • Unfortunately the second photograph I took (of this kiwi fruit and apple salad garnished with mint) failed to upload so I can’t show the difference, but the mint really did lift the salad which as you can see looked somewhat drab without it.

  • Strangely it was the salad with the mint garnish which uploaded, you’ll have to take my word for it that it was better than the one without.

  • Sonja

    Garnishing food brings life and contrast to a picture (especially if you get the right contrast in colors). I always prefer garnishing.

  • Lesson 18 – Garnishes: Behind again, but better late than never I guess. Here I have tried to show the progression of adding garnishes to build the final scene.

  • Sreedevi Mavila

    Garnishes: I added a simple garnish of curry leaves to my dish of stir-fried beetroot with coconut. I also had a look at some of the snaps others have put up for this lesson, and it’s obvious how just that small addition adds to the dish. Putting up my pics (which aren’t very nice to begin with!) on fb.

  • Catharina Linkenbach

    today I’m really pressed for time, so it’s just gonna be a quickie… my lunch and I. Pea soup.

  • Ingunn Løvik

    I never use a white background so i thought I should experiment with white today. This is a dessert made of fresh ricotta cheese and cocoa. Garnishing does change the photo, so does the background (story) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a94af7a57a844ce0bd3e4c9b0b2373b110cc80255c8645887c7c90f5debebc37.jpg

  • Alan Sharp

    With my photo just using extra blueberries and raspberries and some white chocolate drizzled make a very boring and bland photo look so much better