Why a food stylist is my superhero sidekick

A food stylist can prepare food that looks deliciously edible for hours! This is how long a food photographer needs to get those amazing shots.

A qualified chef’s fantastic creations are often for instant admiration and tasting. Even the most genius dish can structurally change over time into something more like road kill—only to be enhanced under the camera’s detailed view.

This is why I work with a food stylist.

A food stylist is Robin to my Batman.

They are the egg that saves my bacon.

What does a food stylist actually do that is superhuman?

I’ve identified five superpowers that make a food stylist my superhero sidekick. As a professional food photographer, I use my studio, equipment and props to immortalize food products.

My mission is to meet the client’s ultimate vision. I use my technical knowledge to direct the right type of light and highlight the most delicious areas, such as slow dripping honey glinting from a moist pancake stack.

I direct the photo shoot and constantly manipulate equipment and lighting to capture magical images.

Unlike some superheroes, I do not have the power to be in two places at once—behind the camera and in front at the same time. This is where my superhero sidekick comes in.

I asked four local legends to tell me their powers:

Wendy Berecry from WB Style

I’m a Superhero food stylist because I cause kitchen chaos, and then disappear leaving no trace behind.

Karlie Cowley Stylist

My superhuman power is illusion! By making food scenes look more beautiful than they appear.

Jaime Reyes from Brisfood Stylist

I save the day with tweezers and Japanese steel blades!

Lyndel Miller Stylist

I have an uncanny ability to envision the future. I know how to achieve and deliver clients desired results.

The five superhero powers that make a food stylist indispensable

Superpower 1: Sixth sense like “Spider-Sense”

A superhero food stylist is a catalyst for a photographer’s creativity. They have an ability to get in sync with a photographer in unfamiliar territory: the photographer’s studio. They team up with different photographers on different assignments and understand each photographer’s code. Such as:

  • space requirements,
  • depth of field,
  • focal point,
  • light direction and
  • how the food needs to be placed to respond to the light.

Superpower 2: Saving the day in time

The next most important skill of a superhero food stylist is timing. To achieve balance, composition and visual perfection, they know when to do each step in the food preparation:

  • when to make steam,
  • when to melt the dob of butter,
  • when to add the honey drip,
  • how much honey to add and
  • where to place the drip.

 Holy Pancakes, Batman!

Superpower 3: Freeze gravity

A superhero food stylist can literally freeze gravity! By holding drips and trickles for as long as the photographer needs, they achieve the mission. It also takes superhero like powers of control. A tiny shift on set can create great change in the final image. A pancake stack has to be built very differently under studio conditions than for a restaurant customer.

Superpower 4: X-ray vision

There is no denying that a superhero food stylist creates ‘style’. Food styling isn’t just about what’s on the plate, it’s also about what’s behind it or under it. The props, the surfaces, napkins, cutlery, linen (I could go on) create an image that embodies the client’s own style or vision for the brand, and intensifies the viewer’s response to that stunning image.

Holy Jelly Molds, Batman!

A superhero food stylist has an eye for cool props in the market. Hunting for the right items in stores and online is a special power. Anything can be sourced, depending on time and budget. If a food stylist cannot source surfaces required for a photo shoot, they may hand-make them!

Superpower 5: Endurance

No matter how far away, a superhero food stylist finds the utmost freshest ingredients at markets and specialty stores. Not to mention they often have years in the food industry and cook like rock stars! On preparation day, the food stylist makes in large quantities, what is possible, in readiness for the following day’s photo shoot. During the photo shoot, for example, many silky ice cream balls can be scooped to achieve the mission.

Most food needs a helping hand for several hours in front of the camera. Years of experience in food photography have shown me I can reach superhuman results when I work with a superhero food stylist.

Holy Guacamole, Batman!

(Share if you agree that food stylists have superpowers!)