Midweek Munch: Too good to eat?

food photography

Have you ever wondered why your perfectly poised and positioned ‘breakfast porn’ shot doesn’t look quite as appealing on screen as it does on your plate? The struggle is real, and Imi Byers investigates the trick behind capturing a sumptuous snack snap…

Edited by Natalie Whitmore

A large proportion of social media posts revolve around food – and who wouldn’t want to show off their amazing meals and culinary creativity? A good photo, however, is hard to achieve and you might want to think twice into tasting some of these plates you’ll find at professional shoots…

The reason why professional food photos are so perfect is because there is often a food stylist at hand. A food stylist is there specifically to ensure that the delicious dinners look as succulent and as appealing as possible. With the average photo shoot taking around ten hours! There is no surprise that the sumptuous bowls of nourriture may not look so fresh and desirable after being left out for so long.

How do they do it then, I hear you ask? After a little research, I have found a few sneaky tricks that professional food stylists actually use to make their photos ‘oh-so pristine’ and perfect:

Wet-looking sandwiches?

Why not try stuffing the insides with mashed potato instead? It is great for creating a ‘full effect’ instead of the drippy fillings that actually make up your sandwich. For example: those amazing burritos you made the other day?

Hmm... thick and bulky

Hmm… thick and bulky

On the plate they look absolutely incredible, but after Instagramming your kitchen success, do you notice that the sauce has bled into the wrap and makes the whole dish look (dare I say it) sloppy? Mashed spuds can solve your saucy scenario, just fill the wrap with mash instead, and stick only bits of the supposed filling in the tortilla ends to give the impression of a bursting burrito with no-leakage guaranteed! To add even more allure, cover the wrap with cheese then melt using a heat gun (because we all have one of them…), giving your friends the illusion of a drool-worthy dinner dream.

Hmm... sloppy

Hmm… sloppy

Soggy cereal?  

Are you disappointed with your unexpectedly wet-looking pic of your morning munchies? It is hard to manage the soggy cereal situation by taking a snap before the milk makes the entire bowl look like a sloppy mess. Instead of milk, however, why not use hair conditioner? It’s thicker so the flakes or loops of cereal goodness don’t sink and lose their shape, and still looks heavenly white and creamy – enough to make any Insta-follower ooze with food envy.

Deflating Cappuccino?

Are you too busy admiring your foam art to take a cheeky snap of your caffeinated beverage before the milky goodness evaporates; the whole drink no longer having that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ you wanted to capture? Rumour has it that using piped, soapy shaving foam gives your mug of morning energy a more picturesque and appetising impression. Shaving while having your morning coffee? Well this way I guess it could be possible!

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Coke not cool?

We all know the perfect coke should be served ice-y cold in a pleasantly-chilled glass but, this luxury isn’t always easy to produce in that perfect sizzling snap.

ice cold coke

Gotta be ice cold…

No fear – have any deodorant on you? Spray the outside of the glass to give it that deceiving impression of a refreshingly cold contents, fully finished with beads of condensation. For ice that doesn’t melt, why not use fake plastic or ice powder (bits of gelatine that looks like ice when mixed in liquid)?

Passed-it pasta?

It is hard to fit in that impressive penne pic when your meal is cooling down exponentially in front of you. Only minutes go past and all of that steam oozing off the plate has vanished and you are left with a bland serving of your average mac and cheese. No problem! Just microwave a wet tampon and bury the sneaky toiletry product behind the mouth-watering meal. The steam released is much longer lasting and gives you those vital extra minutes to perfectly poise that lens.

Well… there you have it, a few trade tricks to create that un-realistically mouth-watering menu- so don’t worry if your five-minute egg and bacon sandwich doesn’t quite match up. Maybe now you’ll be viewing food adverts and cookery books with a more critical eye – realising the truth in that if it looks too good to eat, there is every chance it is!