blog

photography
  • everything you need for your food stylist kit

    I see you. You’re creative, you love food, you're moved by food photography, you have a passion for cooking, you love the story behind a dish, and the moments surrounding creating a beautiful meal.

    You've dabbled in food photography or you're a seasoned pro, but you feel a bit lost when it comes to food styling. You want to learn more about food styling, or improve on your styling so you can take better photos. But you aren't sure where to start, how to learn, or what you need. It took me years of research, trial and error (so much error!), and experience to learn exactly what I needed in my food styling kit. And now, I want to share that knowledge with you - FOR FREE.

    Below is a list of ALL of my must have items in my professional kit and how I use them. I've also included links to either the exact item I have, or a similar option. 

    glass beads - if you need to prop up a garnish on soup, pop a few of these in the bowl and add your garnish on top to keep it from sinking.

    glue - sometimes you’ll need to repair a tear or crack in something. zap-a-gap glue will actually glue even wet items back together such as meat or pie.

    wedges - can be used to prop up plates, spoons, or other items.

    t-pins - invaluable when building the perfect burger or sandwich

    foldable kitchen rack on wheels - when on set you can’t depend on the client to have a place for you to set out all of your equipment. i’ve found that having this rack on wheels allows me to set out the items i know i’ll be using on that shoot for quick access to them.

    cotton gloves - must have when moving plates, glassware, and flat ware around to avoid leaving finger prints

    silicone spatulas - you can’t have too many of these and my smaller ones get the most use because of their precision when smoothing out sucks or condiments

    wooden blocks - stand ins for very time sensitive foods like ice cream

    toothpicks - stacking pancakes, building sandwiches, creating artful garnishes, so many uses!

    large plastic syringes - for that perfect sauce drip

    small spoons - to stir up beer, drip sauce, lightly sprinkle seasoning, etc.

    funnels - this will aid you in the smooth pour of smoothies, soups, drinks, etc to avoid splashes on the side of your glassware.

    kitchen bouquet or soy sauce - This is a liquid seasoning product used to brown and flavor gravies and sauces. It can be brushed on poultry, toast, or other food items you would like to brown or make look golden.

    red food coloring - if you need to add a glass of red wine and don't have any on set you can add a few drops of this to water. 

    EVOO - to be brushed on meats or anything else you want to make glisten

    chopsticks - for adjustments to larger items and particularly helpful when working with noodles

    cooking spray - butter flavor - can add a nice golden brown to baked goods

    Vitamin C - Mixed with water, this powdered form of vitamin C will create a solution to soak fruits and vegetables in to keep them from oxidising and going brown. Be sure to soak the items for at least fifteen minutes before you need them. A couple of spoons dissolved in one cup of water should do the trick.

    Lens wipes - to clean up plates/glassware/flateware without streaks

    small squeeze bottles - for that perfect sauce drip

    eye dropper - for the perfect drip

    cotton dish towels - you will need these for EVERYTHING, i recommend having at least six on any set

    cotton swabs - longer than q-tips and used to soak up any tiny dots of liquid out of place or to clean up plates

    vegetable glycerine - a mix of 50% vegetable glycerin and 50% water will crete the perfect “Water beads” that will last.

    museum wax - to hold anything in place, especially items that are round

    paint brushes - to create the perfect swoosh of sauce (small, medium, and large)

    pairing knife - you will need this for EVERYTHING

    fine mist spray bottles - condensation, freshly washed veggies, adding water droplets

    tweezers - for perfect placement

    small ramekins - to organize garnishes from the chef

    kitchen shears - just like the pairing knife, you will need these for EVERYTHING

    apron - because food styling is messy! always have a backup as I can't tell you how many times these have actually made their way into the photo! (love this one and this one too!)

    garnishing kit - everything you need to zest, peel, or carve fruits, veggies, cakes, etc to create the perfect garish for a dish or cocktail.

    pill organizer - I like to keep several spices on hand and have three of these full of different herbs. spices, and powders.

    culinary torch - to caramelize sugar, melt fat, and reheat anything that might be “dying”. make sure to adjust the torch strength before firing!

    maldon sea salt - for texture.

    peppercorns - for texture.

    pepper grinder - this is the best one I've found!

    rolling case - to hold it all!

    Food styling is 100% about problem solving and being able to come up with creative solutions quickly. You most likely won't ever use all of these items on one single shoot, however, the more prepared you are the more professional you'll look and the lower the overall stress level of the shoot. And, with the right tools you can relax and focus on making the food look it's best!

    To shop everything I've recomended above you can visit my amazon shop

    We may receive a small commission on sales of items linked below. That's how we are able to continue to create these posts and share this with you for free!