Buchanan Studios Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘stylist

Cookbook images

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My food stylist, Harry McMann, brought a job in for us – a healthy eating cookbook by a wonderful doctor in Washington DC.

Chicken-9 Pancakes-3 Fish-1

Written by stevebuchanan

April 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

New food photos from Glory Days

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Part of our ongoing work with Glory Days Grill

cheeseburger with lettuce tomato onionpork chop with apple slaw and potatoes

Food styling by Harry McMann

Written by stevebuchanan

October 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Book Review: Food Styling for Photographers

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originally published on Photocrati


Book review- Food Styling for Photographers…

by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee

It may be easiest to start with what this book is not.  This book, and the lessons within, will not make you a food stylist. This book will not take work away from stylists. We all know there are times when we don’t have the option of working with a professional stylist, whether due to budget, time or logistical constraints. They will not replace the expertise, talents and skills of a professional food stylist.

They will however allow you to understand and communicate the processes a bit better. They’ll also allow you to perform some limited and relatively small tasks on your own when a food stylist simply isn’t an option.

One of the biggest lessons of this book and of food styling in general is that preparing food for photography is nothing like cooking food for consumption. This seemingly simple sentence is well illustrated and supported in the following 200 or so pages. The book is broken down into food/shot types with a full chapter devoted to each. There are step by step narratives and tips for working with beverages, meats, sandwiches, salads, desserts, veggies and pasta. There’s also a great recipe for fake ice cream on page 168.

In addition to the narrative, step by steps and equipment lists for each shot, there’s also call outs and asides written from a photographers point of view. This book is not about food photography per se, it won’t teach you the basics of food photography. The authors assume a reasonable knowledge of food photography on the reader’s parts – but the insights into the working process of other photographers is always valuable.

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a few months now and it comes down every now and then when I have a particular question about how or why to do something styling related. I had it down just yesterday while planning a quick portfolio shot. It’s not a page turner, and you’ll probably not want to read it cover to cover in one sitting. But if you’re looking for insights and tips and trick of styling this is a good addition to your library.

See it here… Food Styling for Photographers: A Guide to Creating Your Own Appetizing Art

Written by stevebuchanan

June 18, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Why use a food stylist?

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sandwich, photograph, food, photo, maryland, maryland food photographer, md, dagwood, mid atlantic, commercial

The short answer is it makes the work better.  I know lighting.  I know composition. I know lenses and file types and filters.  I don’t know cooking, I don’t know food chemistry.  That’s where the food stylist comes in.  It’s the stylists forté to know how to cook the food (or not) in the manner that will produce the look you’re aiming for.  It’s a combination of experience, talent and education that makes this possible.  Food stylists are a great combination of chef and visual artist. Most stylists have degrees in culinary arts and years of experience in the food service industry.  They’ve learned the craft of food styling from apprenticeships as well as the occasional workshop or class at school.  A few come at it from the other direction and were artists, film makers or photographers who got into food styling from that side.

Often we’re approached by a restaurateur or small chain restaurant that’s looking to do some photography for marketing purposes.  Maybe they need shots for their menu, their website or other such uses.  Invariably the talk turns to pricing and after finding out what they need I’ll send over an estimate.  Since I like to keep my clients in the loop on exactly how they’re spending their money I itemize my estimates.  This will occasionally lead to the questioning of line items on the estimate and I’m happy to answer any questions.  Many clients will question the need for the food stylist stating, “Our chef can prepare the food, we don’t need a stylist.”  Sometimes they’re right.  Usually not.  The chef’s job is to prepare food that tastes out of this world.  Our job is to prepare food that looks out of this world.  How food is prepared for photography is nothing like how food is prepared for customers.

Above image styled by Harry McMann

Written by stevebuchanan

January 22, 2009 at 10:32 am