What to expect when you hire a food stylist
So, you've got an idea for a food product/book/feature for a magazine or tv show and your next step is to get a food stylist on board. You've looked at portfolios, you've met a bunch and you've settled on your one. Here are some simple things that I do to help my clients (I'm a food stylist you know!) get the best out of hiring me and making the whole project run smoothly. Now, it goes without saying that not all food stylists offer the same service but these are ones that I do!
1) Most times I help create/test recipes and choose which shots I think will work best on camera
That's right! A lot of the time I have an input on recipe creation or at the least, testing (we'll test during a shoot) and also I generally get to choose the majority of the recipes we'll shoot purely because I know visually what will work best. For cookbooks there might be ones from a blog that are the most popular that we'll keep in but otherwise, I'll choose ones that look the best on camera and show off the author to perfection letting their personality and style of cooking shine through.
2) I take care of all the shopping and prop sourcing
Yep...unless I'm working on the recipes and picking the shots (which most often I do!) then this can be my first step. Once I get all the recipes from you (editor, author, agency) I then create a mood board so that everyone is on the same page. Once that's done, I'll source props and food to make sure everything looks their best.
3) My team of home ecs are the ones that cook and prep the food
Most times on a cookbook shoot the author doesn't do ALL the cooking, I mean one of the most exciting times of their career and they're stuck behind the oven? No way! They have to be part of the action so my team is there to take the reigns in the kitchen. Plus one thing that's quite a head turner is we don't always cook the dish to the recipe. My team knows the tips and tricks so that the dish looks it's best for camera whilst maintaining a truth to the recipe.
4) I'll always send you a thank you.
Working on someones cookbook is such a privilege, sharing an authors special time is just so important to me and one of the things I'm so utterly for grateful for in my life. It's not just a job to me, I'm bringing to life someones dream and I want to let them know how thankful I am for that chance. As for other work - I think it's polite to say thank you, go figure.
If you're thinking of becoming a food stylist and working for yourself you might like my piece on being an entrepreneur over on The Collectives blog or " What no-one tells you about being your own boss"