It’s an open secret that advertisers use some tricks to make food look more appetizing. But some of them can get really nasty! They make the food look delicious, but most of the time they also make it inedible. Glue instead of milk, shaving foam instead of whipped cream, dish liquid in just about anything with foam… These are only some of the tricks food photographers use, and Blossom shows you many more in this interesting video.
Perfect pancakes – little cardboard cutouts are used to add height to a stack of pancakes. And now that you have that perfect stack, pour some motor oil over it. Wait, what? Yeah, motor oil doesn’t absorb into pancakes, so it’s often used in food photography to substitute syrup. Yum!
Perfect burgers – I think this is what most people complain about when they compare ads and reality. It takes some effort to make those burgers look delicious: heating the cheese with a heat gun, adding some vegetable oil to make the burgers look juicy, adding makeup sponges for the height, and holding everything in place with some toothpicks.
A perfect bowl of cereal – grab a bowl of jello, cover it with glue and add some cereal and fruit on top, and there’s your perfect, photogenic bowl of cereal that doesn’t get soggy or sink into milk.
Beer foam – a drop of dish soap makes longer lasting foam in a glass of beer. Looks sooo tempting, but I wouldn’t drink that!
Delicious ice cream – a mixture of corn syrup, shortening and food coloring is what makes “ice cream” for photography purposes. Because real ice cream would melt straight away under studio lights.
Perfectly roast turkey – it takes ages to actually roast a turkey. So, food photographers use a couple of tricks to make a raw turkey look roasted. First, some super glue here and there to fix the tears in the skin and hold parts in place. And for the “tan”: a mixture of some browning sauce, bitters, yellow food coloring, and some dish soap.
Whipped cream that stays in place – instead of the actual whipped cream, shaving foam is often used for two reasons: it’s easy to get the swirls just right, and it doesn’t melt.
A delicious-looking bowl of soup – to keep garnishes on the surface of a bowl of soup, photographers add a ramekin turned upside-down into the bowl, and arrange the garnishes onto it. Sneaky, but hey, at least the soup is still edible.
Steam – mmm, fresh food right out of the oven, still steaming… Too bad that “steam” actually comes from tampons microwaved with water.
There are many more tricks photographers use to make food look yummy, and not all of them are disgusting. Personally, I always shoot food as is and don’t use any tricks, since I don’t do it for commercial purposes, only for fun. If there are any food photographers among you, let me know if you use any of these tricks. Or perhaps you have some of your own tricks up your sleeve? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.