Food Styling: Make The Food Look Better Than It Is

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Fast Food: Ad Vs. Reality

Adele Hagan, a food stylist from Canada, was the guest blogger on The Diet Blog last week. Food styling is the art of making food look good for a photograph and making it look good for advertising.

When talking about food advertising, she said:

What you see on the plate probably won’t match what you see in the ad, but that’s to be expected.

Why? Why is that to be expected? She said that they have to make sure the food looks good under the grueling environment of the hot lights of photography. Shouldn’t the “better” environment of the real world make it appear better?

When you watch that television ad and are craving that food, remember that what you’ll get is a far cry from what you are looking at.

Is food styling deceptive? Yes. Be on the lookout for it.


6 Responses to “Food Styling: Make The Food Look Better Than It Is”

  1. Megan Says:

    Great post, Laura. I always try to make our plates look good and I’m not a professional chef or “food styler”. Restaurants (especially the pricier ones) always manage to make their plates look good. You would think just about every meal that we order has the potential to look good as well.

  2. tanya Says:

    I think it is to be expected that the plate you get might not match what you saw on tv because not everybody is going to make the food in the same manner and make it look the same way. I don’t think minimum wage employees in fast food restaurants are going to try and make your food look like a work of art. That being said, in R&D they do develop specifications for every ingredient of the food, and there are guidelines as to what the food should look like.

  3. iportion Says:

    The cheese in the good looking styled sandwich looks very very bright.

  4. iportion Says:

    the brightness is odd

  5. kathryn Says:

    I read Adele’s original post and have been thinking about it since. While I understand a company wants there food to look at it’s best, there still seem to be a lot of images that go beyond this.

    Why do the contents of cereal boxes, rarely look like the photo on the front? I’ve seen recipes in magazines where the food as shown in the photo is different from the recipe itself. The same ingredients, but different proportions.

    But I’ll agree it’s a hard balance to find. I have a recipe column in one of our Australian magazines. We shoot and style the recipes. Because I want to encourage people to cook more and have the confidence to prepare their own food, it’s important to me the photo reflects what the dish actually looks like.

    The final outcome depends on the values and ethics of the food stylist and food manufacturer. How much are they willing to bend the truth, to make the product look better?

  6. WL Says:

    When it comes to marketing food the visual aspect is more important than the taste. When it comes to eating the food the taste is more important than the look. If food looks bad in the marketing campaigne then it’s not going to matter what it tases like cause no one will buy it.

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