Pros: Well written explanations.
Cons: The book should have more details about lighting.
Reviewed by Namthip Paine
Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera is about the 30 years of experience of a food stylist, Delores Custer, who shares her knowledge on how to achieve perfect photographs for all media. The book goes into detail about food styling, with tips, techniques, and entertaining personal stories. The author is an expert in her profession and knows how to keep the reading interesting.
This book has 416 pages in 15 chapters.
- Food Styling Overview
- The Medium is Everything
- Your Food Styling Teammates
- You Got the Job...Now What?
- Prepping the Assignment
- At the Shoot
- About Photography
- The Basics of Propping
- The Basics of TV & Film Production Work
- The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
- Working with the Food
- The Business of Food Styling
- Beyond Food Styling
- Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
- Reviewing the Last Fifty/Sixty years of Food Styling and Photography
How is this book useful?
This is a big hard cover book. The printing and page layout are high-quality. The type is easy to read and the pictures are clear and colorful. This book offers many tricks of the trade and tips from the author, including food setup pictures, step-by-step instructions and recipes for success. It also provides details on how to choose, prepare, assemble, and plate food. At the end of the book are summaries of food photography styles from 1950-2000, a vocabulary of food styling and resources.
As a chef, food stylist and photographer, my favorite sections are on chapters 8 and 11. In chapter 8 the author tells us how to choose the right props, pick colors and set the mood for the shot. In chapter 11 the author talks about the importance of understanding the basics of food science. The more we understand the science, the more control we have over the food.
What problems are there?
There is no question this book is written for food stylists. The author gives her best advice to make food as perfect as possible, whether it's for film or cookbook. There aren't as many details as I would like to read about the lighting setup. Also, food photography changes with the trends of the times. Currently, food styling is casual and comfortable. Slightly melted ice cream, cake crumbs or half-empty plates are fine. It would be interesting to read about how this type of casual food styling.
As a blogger, I style real food, to be consumed after the shot. Although I want a perfect photo, I won't manipulate my food to the point that I can't consume it. I will use propping and lighting to enhance the photo, but I won't use something inedible in my food to make it look better. If you share this attitude you may find this book discouraging.
Who might enjoy this book?
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in getting into the business of food styling as well as people who want to learn how to improve their own personal food photography.