Even though I am primarily a food-assistant, cooking the food for food stylists I am slowly branching out and building a portfolio of food-shots. Luckily a good friend of mine is a beginner photographer just starting out like me and we paired up for a photoshoot. Doing something that may seem daunting can be a lot easier when you take it on with a friend, that way you can learn from one another.

We wanted a theme to tie the shoot together, this can also organize your thoughts make it easier to decide what to shoot. We decided on Rooibos tea, a tea that is local to South Africa and has a mild earthy flavor. It is easy to infuse into most dishes and can enhance a dish.

Doing preparation the day before is important because on the shoot day you have enough to worry about. Cook the more time consuming recipes ahead of time so that you can focus on the styling.

 

To shoot you will need basic backgrounds which you can rent or make. We took a wooden board and painted it white on one side and black on the other, then you have a reversible background. Finding plates and cutlery that appeals to your certain color palette, when in doubt go with neutral colours otherwise some may clash with the food.

Don’t be afraid to ask advice from the photographer, a different eye can always enhance the final picture. When positioning a food shot I always stick to uneven numbers and try to stay away from symmetry. Pictures that are too balanced can often make viewers uninterested. You want a balanced composition that captures the attention and holds it.

Editing the images afterwards is also important, hopefully the images will not have to be retouched too much, this all depends on the light and focus of the image. The photographer will do the retouching but it is helpful to know the basics of Photoshop or Lightroom to be involved in the post-production phase.

I had lots of fun on this shoot because for once I got to choose the topic and style the shots. It was also great to work alongside a friend who is also starting out in the industry.

Considering the important career of becoming a Food Stylist? Learn what a typical day is like.