I love food photography, partly because I love to cook, and eat, but also because it’s quite challenging. Everything must come together at the same time. Often the window of time that food looks good is quite short, so everything has to be ready. I think food stylists are absolutely essential. It’s true that they are expensive, and that they can slow things down, but the difference in outcome is dramatic. Really! Absolutely worth every penny. I’ve had clients tell me that their chef is great at presentation, but making food look good in a photograph is fundamentally different. This is especially true for advertising and packaging photography.
Great food photography starts in pre-production with meetings with the client / chef, the art director, the food stylist, and the photographer. Everyone has to be on the same page about the recipes, the look, the props, and the schedule. There is usually a lot more to pull together before a food shoot than for normal product photography. Before and during the shoot, client involvement, good communication, and teamwork are all essential.