A professional food stylist - food styling | food photographers & video production teams...
What is like to working as a professional food stylist on a photoshoot or video production?
In a nutshell, it’s like any other job…you have to come to the set prepared to execute someone else’s ideas and vision. The team's goal is to produce high quality custom food images and food videos. You may agree or disagree with the vision of the client, but they are the boss so you do what they ask. If you don’t, it’s similar to a line in a factory when production stops. It costs lots of money until the line starts again. there could be 30 or more people on set waiting to get back to work.
How to get started as a food stylist?
The first thing you are going to need to work in the marketing/advertising/entertainment industry is a professional food-styling portfolio. If you plan to work freelance and not for a company, you are going to have to have thick skin because getting new work can be tough…people don’t call you back, they may already have teams built & not looking for a change, or just don’t like your work. It happens!
Many times, getting hired as a food stylist starts with a commercial food photographer, brand manager, advertising agency or production company contacting you (after they have seen your food-styling portfolio) to determine if you fit the mold to be part of their production team. Yes, sometimes word of mouth can get you in the door. Your food-styling portfolio will need to be strong and diverse (showing multiple styles, and a variety of foods). You will need custom food photos taken by a professional commercial food photographer and/or stunning food videos taken by a top-notch video production team.
Also, make it a given you need to own the following skills:
practice top-notch communication
great work ethic
master at your trade (or, at least striving to be)
passionate about doing a great job
...and anything else positive you can think of you would want from someone you hired.
How do I get work as a food stylist?
I work as a food stylist based in San Francisco, California and Columbus, Ohio. Getting work as a food stylist is quite challenging. Sometimes breaking into a new team seems impossible. Some professional food photographers want you to try out for the job. It gives them a feeling of who you are, your skills, and they can see if they like working with you on set. They call it testing.
Showing potential clients your food-styling portfolio is a perfect way to show your capabilities. your portfolio should include some of and/or more of the following photo-video samples categories. Sometimes new clients will not talk to you until they see your food styling website. they do not want to waste anyone's time.
List of food-styling portfolio categories:
Desserts & Ice Cream
Mexican Food | Tacos, Burritos, etc…
Soups and Salads
Italian Food | Pizza, Pasta, etc...
Yes the list can go on...having a variety will give your potential client a taste of your capabilities.
What types of jobs are there as a food stylist?
There are many opportunities for food stylists. Here are some:
Website Sales and e-commerce
Restaurant Menus & Custom Menu Boards
TV commercial - TV shows & Movies
What does pre-production look like for a professional food shoot?
I had the pleasure of working on a Chipotle shoot with some real pros. I would go into the ins and outs about the shoot, but Samer did an incredible job in describing the details in something he titled: "The" Chipotle Broadcast Spot. Thank you Samer! Check it out below:
Here is the completed spot:
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