This year we have had the opportunity to cook, style and photograph some really incredible and tasty dishes for our clients using their products to use across their multiple channels. Food styling has a pretty interesting reputation of what actually happens behind the scenes in the professional wold of photography. Things such as replacing mash potato for ice-cream, PVA glue for milk in a bowl of cereal and using water-downed boot polish to make a chicken look perfectly roasted.

However, here at Brilliant, we think a little differently. None of the recipes that you see in our pictures are fake. We truly believe that there’s no reason food shouldn’t look beautiful just as it is, in all its natural glory. We want to convey authentic cooking that looks achievable in the consumers’ own homes. Over the next couple of months I’m going to share some great, honest food styling tips that make the most of what a dish already has.

Smaller is better

A smaller, elegant dish of food looks a lot prettier and more refined than a cumbersomely overloaded one. The camera, unfortunately, doesn’t like large portions, it can make the photography look clumsy and haphazard, as all of the elements to the dish are out of proportion. It’s always better to start with less, that way you can always add more. 

Breathing room

Place all of the food elements into the centre of the plate or bowl. Visual a circle in the centre of the plate and leave up to 2 inches of a border around the outside. If there are individual components to a dish (such as meat, rice and vegetables) place them all together as one. Within design there is something we employ called negative space – or white space – is the area of a layout which is left empty and is a kind of breathing room the design to sit within. A little negative space breathes elegance.

Surfaces

There are so many different options when it comes to dressing your food, From plates and bowls to chopping boards, whatever the choice, ensure to always go for matt rather than glossy. A matt surface is so much more apt to photograph on to minimise any reflections from the lighting.