A food stylist on how to serve camera-ready dishes during lockdown

From optimising your lighting to picking your props, this is how you can make your creations look extra delicious on screen
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  • Whether you’re hosting a virtual dinner party or simply seeking new content for your social media feed, our new online world calls for expert tips from a food stylist on how to entice with our cooking.

    Interestingly, food box company Gousto found 83 per cent of us who are using video calls to keep in touch with friends and family say sharing food together is one of the most important ways to keep spirits high during lockdown. With this in mind, Gousto food stylist Jenny Brown has served us some easy-to-apply styling tricks to make your creations look extra delicious online.

    Take your photos in natural lighting

    It’s all about lighting, when getting that perfect dinner shot – try placing your plate down next to a window, and never use your build in flash. Natural lighting shows all the delicious details, and highlights the vibrant colours of your dish.

    Don’t overcrowd your plate

    Piling your plate up will look messy, keep it simple! Find a focus point on the plate and add ingredients around to complement. Looking a little basic? Have a change of scenery and introduce your dish to a jazzy table cloth or tea towel to balance the shot. 

    food stylist

    Piling your plate up will look messy, keep it simple, says food stylist Jenny (Unsplash)

    Pick the perfect plate

    From size to colour, your plate should complement your food – choose a high contrasting colour like white for your colourful dishes. And pick matte over glossy, we want to avoid a shiny surface.  

    Experiment with layers and height

    Transform a basic dish by introducing different levels and layout of food. Try stacking different elements of your dish, to create that wow factor.

    Surround your dish with complimentary props

    If your dish is looking a little lonely, try placing related ingredients and cooking utensils around the plate such as herbs, jars, tins and cutlery. Reveal the tools and ingredients of your dish, to set the scene and reveal how you achieved your tasty meal. 

    Have a play around with angles

    Achieve that dinner party shot by moving around the plate and taking a variety of different images – this way you can see which angle your dish looks the best from. Every dish will have a preferable angle.

    Be prepared

    Although you want to achieve that perfect shot, eating it is far more important – don’t let your dinner go to waste, always have props, table setting and lighting set up in advance. Keep your herbs in cold water, to keep them fresh before the final shot.

    Don’t forget the garnish

    A sprinkle of chives or a pinch of parsley can add life to a dish. The finishing touches will transform your meal into a virtual dinner party-worthy plate. Make a little mess to show how raw and real your dish is.

    food stylist

    A sprinkle of chives or a pinch of parsley can add life to a dish (Unsplash)

    Presentation is key

    Mop up any spillages with kitchen paper – just like restaurant chefs, wipe around the edge of your plate for final touch-ups. And finish off with a drizzle of olive oil to keep things looking glossy. 

    Gousto is bringing the nation together for the UK’s biggest virtual dinner party on May 22, in support of food banks in the Trussell Trust network. For more information see tablefor1million.com

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