Food Styling by Delores Custer

I bought a copy of Food Styling by Delores Custer because I’m getting back into photography…. again. Maybe I won’t get bored so soon this time around.

At any rate, I doubt I’ll start photographing food, but it gave me an excuse to invest in a new book.

Food Styling by Delores Custer:
cover of food styling by Delores Custer

Ms. Custer doesn’t hold back when she gives you the step by step instructions on the tricks of her trade. –Which is why I bought the book in the first place.

Most of the books I’ve read on this subject tend to gloss over the physical necessities required to set up the shot. In fact a lot of the authors I’ve read seem to be too busy telling you how wonderful they are to teach you how they do it. –Self promotion has it’s place, but at the end of the day, those are the books I donate to the local library or Goodwill.

She takes the opposite approach. She goes in to great detail on which tools she uses and how she uses them.
picture of spatulas used by a food stylist

There are lots of things in the book on making food look like it’s delicious and not plastic.

She also shows you how to substitute or add ingredients so the product looks good long enough to get the shots.

For instance this is what’s involved in preparing a turkey for it’s close up.
photograph of the steps used in photographing a turkey
And this is the finished product:
photo of final turkey shot.

On a side note:
When I was helping with a food shoot, we did things like painting partially cooked chickens with strong coffee, so they look perfectly cooked. -Then I would drink what was left.
We also put marbles in the soup so it looked thick and creamy.

If you look closely at the TV ads you’ll notice that the soup bowls are brilliant white and very shallow. This gives the same effect as using marbles.