Food Styling Tips & Tricks


Our food stylist, Charisse van Kan, explains how she approaches her job of food styling, from the principles behind good photography to a few industry secrets that help to make the food look even more amazing.

In her first post, Charisse talks about the basics of food styling, but there’s much more than props to keep in mind when styling food. She shares some of the technical knowledge that goes into creating a delicious-looking picture, along with a few more professional tricks that she employs regularly.

charisse post


Good composition will help your photographs look considered and professional. The most common scientific rule of photography is the Rule of Thirds. This is a composition technique that is used to create balance and draw the viewer’s attention to the parts of the photograph that their eyes naturally gravitate towards.

It is not a strict rule but more of a guideline, therefore can be broken once mastered and understood. The Rule of Thirds works by dividing your frame into 9 equal parts using two vertical and two horizontal lines that are equally spaced. The Rule of Thirds is whereby the food is largely kept to the where the lines would cross in a rule of thirds grid.


charisse post2


Use the colour wheel to match colours either opposing colours or colours that are next to each other. Using food as props e.g. herbs and ingredients in a dish or ingredients that would complement or make sense to be served with the dish, is another way to add colour to food that is all the same colour like brown pasta, stews or dark cakes.

charisse post 6


Using crumbs from cookies or cakes, sprinkles of seeds and nuts adds texture to the photograph and makes the scene look more realistic. Making a little mess can be fun.

charisse post5


There are instances when the food needs a little touch-up in order to look good for the camera. Give your food a helping hand, by spritzing salad and herbs with water to ensure they look their freshest. Brushing roast vegetables and meat with oil can make them look more appealing. Undercooking veggies will keep them looking fresh green and vibrant in photos, while using toothpicks (or other structural aides) can help to hold up that perfectly stacked burger.

Want to see what Charisse can do for your food? Check out Recipe Lab and give us a shout if you’d like some help!

© 2016 - All Rights Reserved. Zahra Media Group