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#Foodporn: Styling And Photography Matters

#Foodporn: Styling And Photography Matters

We know sex sells, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the professional food industry that seductive photographs of food do as well.

Food porn: The glamourised visual presentation of food that arouses a desire to eat. The term is almost always associated with “treat foods” with a high calorie content and, needless to say, is common in the pastry and baking scene.

Food photography on the cover of a magazine or better yet, a cook book, looks great – so we buy the publication and give it a go. But, what do you know? The recipes don’t work and you realise you have just bought yourself a picture book where the contents don’t fit in with the storyline.

Instagram on the other hand, offers a great platform for food photography. #foodporn, #sexy #desserts, #annaypolyviou – they all fit together don’t they! With social media, sexy desserts quickly go viral, and why wouldn’t they? Instagram is the best form of free marketing. Check out mine at http://instagram.com/annapolyviou.

The more followers and likes you receive, the more opportunities are presented to you. You may need to do a bit of research on how to maximise your impact on social media, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your work will be picked up with the simple addition of a few saucy descriptions and on-trend hashtags like #foodporn, #bakedfresh and #yum.

Of course, presenting food provocatively is an art. With every great recipe is that additional ingredient; a great photographer.

Personally, I have benefited greatly from my relationship with photographer Nikki To. Creatively, I bounce off Nikki – she is like my handbag (actually, carrying around a handbag is a little too girly for me, but if I did, I would equate Nikki to a designer label). She is such a talent and my desserts turn into amazing works of art when she’s done with them.

I randomly met Nikki two years ago when she edited the images for Oliver Dupon’s book The New Pâtissiers, which featured my work. A year later, she contacted me saying she wanted to shoot some of my baked goods in her studio. From there, the friendship became a strong professional partnership incorporating shoots for Good Living Magazine, Bulla Cream, my dessert degustations and Alfredo’s Pure Gelato recipe cards (see image above). With Nikki’s help, it would be safe to say 99 per cent of the images on my social media are professionally styled and photographed.

Of course, as well as looking scrumptious, food styling needs to represent the content. Too often, people think foodporn is busy, over- cluttered plates with too much garnish and so much sauce oozing over the plate you can no longer see the product. I quickly learnt from Trish, the dessert stylist for Mindfood magazine, that props, plates, linen, decoration and cutlery – while very important – must play a subservient role to the food itself.

We worked together on a modern Christmas special and, for the first time, I actually allowed someone to fully take over my dishes and arrange them the way they wanted. The focus was always on the food and the props served simply to draw more attention to the dish. The priority was to photograph the food in a way that firstly made it irresistible and secondly, made it possible for anyone to pick up the recipe and re-create what they saw in front of them.

We don’t all need a Nikki to cash in on the foodporn trend. We all have a camera, whether it’s a digital SLR or an iPhone, and we all have the utensils and the skills to create sensational- looking food. There is a wealth of information available on the internet on food styling and food photography, including great tips from industry leaders. Give it a go!


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