I just got my copy of Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer and its one hefty book. Considered by many in the food photography and food styling industry to be the bible of food styling, Custer puts over 30 years of experience into what could be considered a textbook for anyone interested in entering the field.
At just shy of 400 pages, this book is packed with so much information that there is value for anyone from a “do it yourself” food blogger to someone interested in a career as a food stylist to professional photographers wanting to work with major clients on big production food assignments.
I myself shoot a lot of food stock and fine art food related still life photographs, so I’m always up for learning some new tricks. Plus my wife and I are fooling around with a new food blog – 325 degrees.
Delores Custer has had an amazing career, working with the big names like Julie Childs and TV shows like the network morning shows as well has local and national advertising campaigns. In the book she not only shares her hard earned tips for shooting everything from bacon (and how to get those perfect waves) to ice cream be it fake or real.
There is hardly and blank white space in this book. No fluff. No filler. Its 400 pages of dense material from the practical to the entertaining. No space is wasted. She starts out with an overview of the industry and the business side of food styling. And then goes into the day to day job of the food stylist (basically getting the food to look great for the camera), tools of the trade, overcoming challenge foods, and then tips for chefs, caterers and bloggers who want to stylize their own food and lastly a review of food trends. At the end of the book there is a glossary and extensive index as well as resource list.
Basically if you could pick clean the brain of a professional food stylist with tons of experience and a client list of all the top brands, this is the result. Its a wonderful reference book.
I say reference book because there are parts of the book you will read through to get the background on the industry and the job, and the rest of the book you will be referring to when certain situations come up, like photographing sandwiches or something. Like a good cookbook, this book will sit on the shelf and be taken down time and again for reference, if it doesn’t just sit on the coffee table for years.
From the Inside Flap
Chapter highlights include:
-Food Styling Overview
-The Medium is Everything
-Your Food Styling Teammates
-You Got the Job…Now What?
-Prepping the Assignment
-At the Shoot
-The Basics of Propping
-The Basics of Tv & Film Production Work
-The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
-Working with the Food
-The Business of Food Styling
-Beyond Food Styling
-Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
-Reviewing the Last Fifty/sixty years of Food styling and photography
Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer