Your Food Has Style
Styling Tips From Behind the Scenes for the Video Professional New to Shooting Food
Today I'm going to talk about styling food, specifically for the video professional. Styling food for any shoot is not unlike styling anything else. Except that you EAT food, so if it doesn't look appetizing, no matter how delicious in real life, the image or video will likely never gain digital traction. And if you are a content developer, this is key. So what makes food look appetizing? Lighting is everything as we all know and especially in video. With photography, you can make edits post-shoot but editing video is a bit trickier. So that means you need to nail the lighting during the shoot and that's the best way anyway. I'm discussing lighting first, because if your lighting is off, styling won't help much.
Once you nail your lighting, you will want to grab some shots that make the food come alive! Unlike shooting a photography Flatlay, your camera can pan over your surface and create motion and a feeling of excitement and action, even over objects that are static. Use this to your advantage and style your props along the path that your camera will move. I often create a "trail" of props along the path where my camera will pan. This makes the shot look more interesting and tells a great story about the food you are shooting.
Plate your food on surfaces that don't have a shine. For example, look for plates that have a handmade pottery look. This texture absorbs light and doesn't bounce it back into your lens when you are shooting. Think outside the box when garnishing your food and styling around it. Tell a story about how you made the food with the props, and have some of the ingredients sprinkled around the surface of your backdrop if that makes sense.
Creating motion in each shot when shooting food is really important in video. Otherwise the shot will look boring. Some of this motion can be created in editing (we will discuss that in another post) but when possible, have some sort of action going on (scooping, digging a fork in, pouring ingredients) if you you are not panning a shot. If you are working with a hand model, you can do both at the same time.
See how I applied these techniques in these two videos that I produced for a client: