Why You Need a Professional Food Stylist for Your Photography

February 25, 2016 | blog | By Mike Sullivan


In a world of Instagram food snaps, everyone is a food photographer—or so they think. But even the best digital filter can’t measure up to the excellence you can expect from a true professional. I’ve blogged about why you should hire a professional food photographer before, but that’s really only half of the story.

Enter the food stylist. A food stylist typically has experience as an art director and may have even gone to culinary school. It’s the intersection of two passions: food and photography.

For budget-conscious challenger brands, it’s vital to get the most bang for your photography buck. Photoshoots can be expensive endeavors when set up with the appropriate professionals, set, lighting and more, but there’s no better way to make people crave your food than with expert food styling and photography. It’s money well spent.

Following is how you can expect a food stylist to contribute at your next food photoshoot.

Tell the story. A food stylist can help you convey the message of the photo. In addition to food placement, the stylist will work with props and lighting to help the photo mesh with your brand and its positioning and stage the mood.

Preps food to save time. You can count on your food stylist to grocery shop for the ripest, brightest food and slice and dice your ingredients to perfection before the shoot to save you valuable time and money. They’ll even give thought to garnishes that give photos that little something extra.

Promoting Value vs. Discounting in QSR

Equipped with props. Food stylists have an arsenal of cooking and serving utensils at the ready, so that when you get to the shoot, you’ll have exactly what’s needed to stage the photo.

Keeps the food looking fresh. Because the presentation of the food is the sole focus of a food stylist, their highly trained eye allows them to notice quickly if the lettuce is wilting or the bread is getting soggy. They also have more than a few tricks up their sleeves for perfecting the shot and keeping the food looking delectable.

Preferred by photographers. For all the reasons described above, food photographers and food stylists go together like peanut butter and jelly; ask any food photographer, and she’ll have a preferred food stylist at the ready. This duo has worked well together before, and gets how the other operates. They likely have similar specialties, such as cookbooks, editorial or quick service.

Pairing a food stylist with your photographer can help you give your challenger brand’s food photography the professional edge to have customers craving your food before they even taste it.

food photography

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.