We all want to make our food look as good as it tastes. Remember, when you went to a lunch that was hosted by your lazy friend who didn't take out time to plate the food in a better way? That led to people not opting for several dishes that didn't look visually appetising. It is not an easy task to present food in a way that it attracts more people. Food styling is required in restaurants, food photography and even at personally hosted lunches and dinners. If the dish isn't a visual feast then the reaction to the food may sometimes not be as great as you'd expect it to be. It's true that people tend to pick out food that is a treat for their eyes too.
Even the processed food is always packaged in a way that is enticing to the eye. Imagine yourself walking up to the aisle of a grocery store and picking out what strikes as different and unique than the others, if you didn't have prior preferences. The way something looks doesn't just add to its beauty but also adds a commercial value to it.
Here are some tips that will help you with food styling and its presentation -
A restaurant looking to attract customers will not just focus on food presentation but will also try to upload pictures of the dishes online that possess a high visual appeal. For that, you don't need a professional food stylist but some tips and tricks up your sleeve that lights up the plate of food. It's important to remember that badly cooked food is hard to present in a way that will add beauty to it. So, well-cooked food is a must. Now, what you can do is choose small plates as they would look more elegant. A big plate will bring more attention to the size of the plate and less attention to the food lying on the plate. It might also make the presentation look clumsy. Also, try not to complicate the plating by adding too many props or using unnatural lighting. You want the food to look good but you must also make it look real. Gone are the days when people would believe that a burger would look exactly the same way that it looks on the poster of a fast food chain.
It is necessary to have a background that compliments the food on the plate. Sometimes you won't even have a well-plated food but just some food lying in a bowl or a drink in a mug that needs to look good. For that, you must use a background which adds to the beauty of the bowl of food or the drink in a mug. You can experiment with different table wares. You must also choose specific colours for the backgrounds. For example, if your dish looks bland or too simple, then you must choose a textured background or something that makes the food pops up the dish. On the other hand, a transparent mug of coffee or tea will look good with colourful beverages and vice-versa. You must experiment before you arrive upon a final decision. Sometimes, even unlikely of things can look good together.
3. Food spacing
There will be times when the spacing of the food will matter, especially when a plate of food has more than just one kind of food on the plate. For example, shahi paneer, naan and chopped onions on a plate will need serious attention towards its spacing. Try to space it in such a way that it looks classy and enticing at the same time. That also depends on the theme of your restaurant. But, if you are just a food photographer then you have the freedom to choose. You can take a bite of a bagel or a burger which would also give a view of what is inside the food. If the photo captures the filling, then it becomes more delicious in the eye of the spectator. Messy can look good sometimes. If the food on the plate is not laid out properly, it may sometimes work in your advantage. People tend to sway towards food that looks real.
(Also read: Food photography tickles the taste buds)