3 Days :: 2 States :: 1 Purpose FOOD

Food photography has to arouse the senses of the viewer and create a feeling in the mind to taste the dish and Food styling does just that!! It is the art of dressing up food so that it looks attractive for the photo shoots. But there is so much more to this.

Stylists, Photographers and Designers like us (well, yeah) spend hours and even days researching the right camera angles, shots and compositions, lights, garnishing, supporting props, backdrops, textures, shape, appearance, freshness and what not.

In any case what better way to start off with a project when the delicacies are from the south! After spending hours munching and hogging, finally kicked off our campaign for Melam at the heart of it all. From Kerala’s mouth watering dishes to Tamil Nadu’s irresistible delicacies, we captured it all for Melam. Our pictures tell our story!

Creating texture in the photographs using colour, making sure there’s that right balance between choosing props and backgrounds..making sure the props aren’t too huge or too far apart, knowing there’s just sufficient in the photo and not too much clutter.

It’s also important to remember that the story gets completed by ingredients that complement the dish. Think about the yumm factor when one talks about the Kerala cuisine…that delicious Kerala Sambar or the fiery Rasam, the mouth watering Chicken Peralan or the Kadala Curry or the Alleppey Fish Curry gives one a delightful feeling.

When we think about Styling for Kerala our Photography Brief was so complex in picking out just the right props to serve the dish ….be it the traditional earthen mud pots of Kerala or the woven cane mats, the use of coconuts in our layouts (either as laddles, spoons or coconut shavings) or the Kerala Drape (in our case we used the Kerala Traditional white sari with the gold border) which added another regional dimension to the image. It is only here we realize that as a Design Agency that research on a particular cuisine is very crucial. It just adds another depth to our photographs.

Often with food photography is that food tends to dry out, shrink, dis-colour and sag. The food in our packaging looks as though it was placed there effortlessly, but the reality is that getting the right photograph takes a lot of time.

At the shoot, we realized to never look at food photography the same way again. The food looks delicious, but you’d never want to eat it. Mostly everything has been manipulated by the food stylist to appeal to the consumer, but nothing is what it seems.

Meat tends to dry out and shrink when you cook it, so chances are the meat in the photo is only partially cooked to keep it plump and juicy. Then it may be browned up with a coat of gravy, and and then blowtorched till they gleam the perfect color. A final coat of oil gives a hot, fresh-looking shine. Thus a Packaging image is always aiming for perfection!! With a few sneaky tricks, food stylists can manage to make ordinary food look fabulous.


Wait a minute, photography…”Grasp the lighting”….

Lighting is incredibly important in all photography but with food it is absolutely vital. It’s also important to remember that shadows can be a really great prop and can add a lot of depth and texture to a photo. Basically, we want the images to look fabulous at the end and that’s where food styling with photography steps in.

Making a picture perfect… now we purposely tend to do things like put some crumbs around the dish, drop a bit of spice powder somewhere..We make it look artistically messy! And that is where an experienced food-stylist, an experienced photographer and a seasoned designer score. We make images that speak!!


Urvi Gokani

Urvi was a graphic designer who was formerly associated with TAN-TA-DAN DESIGN. Urvi's eye for styling and design added a new perspective in building brands.