Although I am primarily a portrait and glamour photographer, I do occasionally photograph other subjects sometimes to sharpen my skills and yet other times just for fun. Food photography is a genre of itself with the need to make the food look as appetizing as possible. Photographers who specialize in this field may work for restaurants for advertising agencies and many of us a bombarded each day looking at images that entice us to stop what we are doing and grab some food. There are some tricks that some use to make the food look especially mouth watering.
Steam coming up from a dinner roll or baked potato can look very tasty. How do photographers get just the right shot? Instead of constantly cooking food for hours, some photographers place wet cotton balls in a microwave and then place the cotton behind the food. Back light the steam (just the same as you would do for smoke) and you have a nice out of the oven hot dinner roll
Any one who has ever eaten ice cream, especially outdoors know that it can melt pretty quickly. This can be very messy especially in a warm studio. Guess what some people substitute... Mashed potatoes! Get the Mashed potatoes just at the right consistency add a little coloring and it can be difficult in a photo to tell the difference.
Do you ever put whipped cream on some of your ice cream? Whipped cream, especially under hot constant lights can become very runny and loose its shape and hard to shoot correctly. The answer... Shaving cream!
Does anyone pour chocolate on their ice cream? Well, sometimes the photographer can not get just the right consistency for a pouring or dripping shot of liquid chocolate (or even some other liquids). The solution, colored wax added to the chocolate in just the right amount can make it pour just right!
Milk and Cereal:
Any one who has ever done a milk shoot knows that Milk can look a little pale in photo's. Commercial photographers have a trick not only to keep the 'milk' pure white but also to keep things like cereal from looking soggy and sinking into the liquid. They often use Glue! They place the cereal in a shallow dish on top of a few inches of white glue and shoot for as long as they need to shoot.
Grilling perfect steaks is almost a science unto itself, but photographers who shoot for advertisers want the meat to look just perfect. Do they hire a master chef? Not always.. The steaks are often cooked in an oven and then the perfect grill marks are painted on with shoe polish!
Some people see that fruit such as applies may have a very thin coating of waxy like substance to maintain its freshness. This may not quite be enough in a photo to get just the right shine to make the apples or pears look tasty. Some photographers use Spray deodorant to pump up the shine!
Cooking that perfect turkey for the holiday season can be difficult. To save a little money, the birds are often just barely cooked and the stuffed with things like newspapers or even mashed potatoes and then sewn shut. A air brush artist comes in to finish up the job with a perfectly painted roast turkey!
Surprised? Yes, but we know photographers can be very creative!
Bob Barford is a published photographer based out of Southern Pennsylvania