Simone's Kitchen

Foodstyling attempt no. 1


I’ll admit straight away that I am not the best foodstylist in the world and I don’t intend to make a second career out of foodstyling either, but being able to style your own food, for your own photos makes absolute sense. If I look at the photos of Helen at Tartelette or Sabra at Cookbook Catchall or Kate at Aapplemint (cool music too!) or Peter at  Souvlaki for the Soul, then well I sometimes think I am never gonna learn…

You know that feeling when your really proud of something you did and then you look at the things someone else did, and your proud feeling evaporates on the spot…:) It’s not that bad and I can only learn from those guys and from the many other incredible talented bloggers out there. But I want to improve myself that is the topic of this story and that is what I desperately want to do. I work with  a foodstylist (Ollie at Forfood) sometimes and he is great, but I can’t possibly ask him to come over everytime I want to style my food (image that happening..haha) and since there are no foodstyling courses in my vicinity and I don’t like the online ones, I will have to practice all by myself.

So the Donna Hay shot I did earlier was an attempt at learning how the pros do it and then this shot above was my own attempt at making something look good. If you noticed that the wineglass is not filled… yep, forgot that untill later (see below) 🙂

Now one of the things I learned from Oliver is that big wineglasses are not always very handy. We had a shoot a while ago and I actually bought beautiful and large (I like my wineglasses to be big) wineglasses, but we ended up not using them because the only thing you could see in the frame was the stem of the glass. So I bought the smaller glasses you see here.


Which makes perfect sense as you can see that there is a wineglass. I wanted to make something colorful with some leftovers that I had in the fridge, so this is not an actual dish, although I am thinking it would probably have been quite tasty, but I had just eaten the Donna Hay lunch salad so didn’t feel like eaten anything else. It’s a layer of risoni, topped with cucumber cubes, tomatoes and ricotta with parsley topped with some red onions and parmesan cheese. (that sounds alltogether quite lovely)

I used the same lighting I had for the Donna Hay shot, but because the food is taken much more upfront then from above such as the other shot I had to fill in from the front much more. I used a small handmirror to bring out the details in the front of the dish. It’s quite simple, but I kind of like it too.

I would appreciate your thoughts if you like to share them! Positive and negative!

I will be repeating this exercise more often in the coming weeks!

Sharing is caring!


  1. I think you did an excellent job! When I first saw it I was like Wow that looks good! And it’s only your first attempt? Don’t be discouraged, you definitely have talent! Can’t wait to see the next attempt.

  2. Simone, you are way too kind! Thank you. Actually, I find myself more worried about the styling than the technical details behind the shot. It’s all hit and miss and lots of practice. I prefer the first photo you posted.

  3. I love all the blogs your mentioned and yours, as well, for pictures. You’re doing such a great job.

  4. It’s tricky to be the food stylist AND the photographer! I find myself paying more and more attention to the styling as well – it’s an art itself. Thanks for sharing the blogs you like. Several of them are new to me and now on my reader (although I did experience a little of the deflation you just mentioned 🙂 I have just discovered thrift stores as a trove of cheap little styling elements. I prefer the first shot as well.

  5. I think you’re an excellent photographer and if this is your first attempt at food styling, you are definitely on your way!

  6. Food styling is definitely an art — and, if you ask me, you’ve got a great start. You’ve definitely got a better eye than I do.

    I prefer the first shot. And I’m also wondering if the “noise” on the plate is too distracting. Maybe natural, but I’m wondering what the shot would be like with a clean plate.

  7. you are good and there is no doubt about it-you have your own style which i like.

  8. Thanks everyone for the kind comments!
    Maybe I have to clarify a little; ofcourse I have been styling my own foodshots for a while, but this was my first attempt at only focusing on the foodstyling and not on the actual recipe. Most of the times I prepare food and then take a photo of it. This time the focus was only on the styling and not on the edibility of the food, so that is why I called it the first time!

    Lo, I did do a clean plate as well, but I liked the peppery bits on the plate as I thought it gives it just a bit more structure… 🙂

    Nina, you’re too kind! Thanks so much!

  9. My list of people who are good with foodstyling are the same as yours except that I have one more person that I think is super talented………Junglefrog!!!!!

  10. I think this is beautiful! I need to work on my styling as well.

  11. I’m no expert, but in my opinion, the best food pics are the ones that make you want to eat. Mission accomplished with your’s!

  12. The second image has more dynamic energy. Just that bit of a tilt helps a lot. Beautiful shadowing on the plate. Nice job on the styling. Good structure and nothing is improperly oozing, melting, or about to fall out of place. The little molded dishes can be tricky. Some compact them too much. The two grains towards the right against the tomatoes forming the upside down “V” are very pleasing and draw proper interest to that darker side of the dish.

    The only negative comment I have is that the image is too heavy with blue. Kind of ok with this dish, but my own personal preference here would be to see creamy whites in the linens and the plate rather than a blue tone. I usually shoot raw files to help take care of proper white balance. And if the shot is still too cool in color from strobes or daylight balanced lamps I warm them up with 1/2 CTO gels.

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