We had the good fortune to grab a few moments recently with the lovely Annette Forrest; food media specialist, stylist, recipe writer & consultant. It was great to have her tips and to hear a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes in her world. We asked her the questions you would want to know the answers to:
How did you get into food styling?
I was very blessed to start working in food and styling in my first job working in seafood promotion at Sydney Fish Markets. There were only a handful of professional stylists and food photographers at that time, so there were plenty of opportunities.
What is the highlight of your job?
I think the very best part of the job is that no two days in food styling are the same. I would hate to be confined to an office desk, in the same location with the same team, every day. In food styling, every week is a new adventure and that makes it very interesting, plus you get to taste an amazing range of food.
Hard to imagine but are there any low lights of your job?
Certainly, I think every job has its ups and downs! As a food stylist, you have to do a lot of packing, loading and lifting. Plus most days you’re on your feet all day in the studio or on location, so it’s a physically demanding occupation.
What is your advice for people wanting to get into the food styling business?
Stay on trend with the current ‘feel’ and ‘looks’ of food in a range of food publications from Australia and overseas.
I think it also helps if you actually do a lot cooking and have a good understanding of food. You really do need a good creative eye for detail and need to be able to visualise a concept.
It’s common place to Instagram your meal these days, do you have any food photography tips?
Take a good look at the plate or dish you want to photograph. I like to create ‘a viewer’ to my eye with my hands, then move around the dish and look for different angles and crops that give the best look to the food. Sometimes food can look better overhead.
Keep it simple is a good rule. Handle flash with care as it’s easy to create light ‘hot’ spots on food that can be distracting.
What’s your top tip for making a Christmas meal look great?
Keep it clean and crisp. Whilst abundance is lovely at Christmas, don’t overcrowd platters and plates, let the food breath and be the hero.
I like to use lots of neutrals and whites in serving ware, and then I add a splash of colour to the Christmas table with simple fresh flowers and a scattering of sparkling decorations.