A food stylist uses creativity to photograph food presentations in an enticing culinary way for clients. They prepare and photograph dishes for television commercials, private demonstrations, magazines ads, and cookbooks. Stylists usually work full-time hours in a studio or on location. If you enjoy working creatively with food and enhancing its’ appeal through imagery, this may be the job for you!
How to Become a Food Stylist
A food stylist typically requires a minimum of an associate’s degree in culinary arts from a trade school, community college, or college. Associate degrees usually take about two years to complete. Some food stylists may continue school and earn their bachelor’s degree to further their career. Culinary arts programs will include courses in food science and plate presentation, such as the creation and food design. You may also continue additional cooking programs to earn certifications. Seminars are often available in food styling through colleges or other businesses that last a few days or a few weeks and are valuable when building up a resume.
Food stylists may begin their career various ways. Some may start as chefs or cooks and use their skill to help with the visual presentation of food. Experience gained as a chef can help a person land a job as a food stylist, as this is a competitive field to gain entrance. Apprenticing under an experienced food stylist is key to getting started in this occupation. Employers often ask for portfolios of an applicant’s work as well, so every food stylist should begin their career by crafting one. Employers also often want at least one year of experience in food styling or a related field. They may expect the employee to provide the tools needed to do the job, like knives, scissors, paint brushes, spatulas, and other items as well.
High school students interested in this career should take cooking classes, art, and photography. The following skill set is also essential for food stylists to possess:
- Organizational skills (vital to keep things running smoothly without wasting time)
- People skills (necessary when working with food and art teams, photographers, and editors)
- Listening skills (essential to understand and deliver the client’s request)
- Remain calm and confident in stressful situations (critical when the pace is fast and time is crucial)
- Creativity (vital when presenting a food plate and envisioning the finished product)
Food Stylist Job Description
Whenever you look at a magazine, restaurant menu, or television commercial showing attractive food, a food stylist made that happen! Let’s look at what they do in a typical workday. First, these artists have met with the client and ensured they understood what they need to convey during the photography session. At this point, the stylists’ creativity is hard at work. Their goal is to present real food that is pleasing and original for the client and others.
The next step is shopping. Sometimes, a food stylist may be responsible to collect the food and ingredients beforehand so that everything is ready for the job. Locations of the shoot may vary, they may include a studio or on-location. The stylist must figure out the order of the photography shots while consulting with the food and art team. Next, the food is cooked and prepared. The stylist may help with his or there may be a chef/cook on site. Once the food is ready, the stylist will strategically plate the food and the photoshop beings.