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The Secrets of Food Styling

I love cooking food and I love eating food. But when it comes to taking photos of it – I have a lot to learn.

I just finished working with the very talented Food by Annabel who we’ve commissioned to create recipes featuring our cheese. She then used my house as the backdrop to style all of the dishes and take photos – I learnt so much about food photography just by standing on the sidelines…

Lego – lego blocks and wedges are the perfect size to add height or angles to the food. They evenly slot in and hide within the image, and they easily stack to raise dishes. (The photo here has a grey plate in the foreground which has been raised by lego blocks)

Cold food – even hot food needs to be photographed cold otherwise the steam plays havoc with the camera and the food changes shape while its cooling down. It now seems odd considering we start salivating at all of the hot food we see in photos. In real life it is cold. (The Mushroom Ragu on Roast Potato sprinkled with Mawson Blue looks so delectable and comforting for a winters night – but it was cold. Tasted awesome heated up though!)

Small plates – food can get lost on large dinner plates and serving bowls. A side plate is the perfect size, as well as dipping dishes and cereal bowls. They look bigger in photos and allow for a great composition of the whole image. (The grey plate featured is just a side plate – the copper pot is under a coaster. It looks much larger in this photo than it did in real life.)

 

Knives, Forks, Marble Plate

Only feature two colours besides neutrals – we used a lot of grey, black and white as our background colours and then chose to add red and blue or yellow and blue as the feature colours. Any more than this can distract the eye. (The feature colours in this photo was the golden yellow of the cheese and potato with the blue napkin and tablecloth.)

Backdrops – any setting can be transformed with beautiful fabrics that look like table cloths, t towels that look like napkins and large sheets of plywood or black card that can create the illusion of walls (the cloth was not a table cloth but a exquisite piece of fabric that hadn’t been hemmed. The back wall was a small piece of plywood)

Natural Light – we took all of our photos with no lights at all except for the sun that was shining through the house windows. With an iphone on portrait mode I was stunned as to how vibrant and light the photo looked when in real life it was very dull light. Once I turned on the lights it threw shadows everywhere and gave an inferior photo. (Look how shiny and lively this photo looks – I took it with my iphone. The natural light was coming through a window to the right of the photo)

 

And of course I had lots of fun gathering props, and Annabel bought a great selection too. So now I can’t wait to show you all of the photos and recipes that we are getting ready for you

Sheree Sullivan moved from the keyboard to the cheese board when she was instrumental in setting up the Udder Delights cheese factory in 1999 after completing her Bachelor of Music, Jazz Piano, at the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium. She has since become the accidental entrepreneur who has built the family cheese empire while juggling businesses and brands, family and kids, and risks with rewards. She values sustainable community - she grows local, makes local, employs local, lives local and gives local; and has a savvy and sassy approach when putting good food in front of the punters.

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