This week on LOVE, LARK:
When a friend referred me as food stylist for an upcoming shoot with a marketing firm, I didn't think she'd ever hear back from the agency. Surprise! They called, hired her, and it's officially go time. Here's what happened at the shoot. And just below this weeks episode, a list of everything I took (and wish I'd taken) in my Food Styling Kit
As a food and prop stylist, your only job on set it to HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE THE FOOD & STYLING LOOK GREAT. I knew this going in, so packed in abundance. But once in the studio, there were a few things we needed that I had to borrow from the (thankfully well-stocked) studio manager.
Whether you're headed to your own on-set shoot, or simply putting together a food styling kit for your own space, there are some definite must-haves to keep you well prepared and ready for anything. If there had been time before this shoot, I would have purchased this ready-to-go Food Styling ToolKit and this Chef's Plating Kit, because those little sets have such useful pieces.
But there was no time to ship in premade kits, so I pulled together everything I could possibly thing of that would help make the shoot go smoothly. Here's what went inside:
FOOD STYLING KIT
- EXTRA PROPS. It doesn't matter that the list says "4 sweaters, 8 bowls, 7 forks, 2 flower bouquets and 1 chair." Art directors want to have options, so bring them options. Get EVERYTHING on the prop list. Then get DOUBLE the number requested. And by all means, add some beautiful extras to your kit. I packed each type of prop in it's own plastic storage container, so I could easily pull what was needed from the kit, keeping all the parts and pieces organized but accessible as the day went on.
- RECIPE PARTS & PIECES. Whenever possible, precook and pre-prepare all ingredients, so you can simply assemble in pretty parts on set. And make sure you prepare extras. Having ample options helps you have room to get creative, make up for messups, and generally be ready to rock.
- RECIPE GARNISH. Go through any and every recipe or food item on your list and match it with at least 3 garnishes or sides. Parsley, a loaf of bread or rolls, whatever easy-grab items or toppers that might match your recipe or set. You may not need them, but you'll feel like a rockstar if you do, and you have 'em!
- GLASS WIPES. So you can keep everything shiny and new looking.
- BABY WIPES. You just never know when
- PAPER TOWELS. Bring all the paper towels.
- TRASH BAG. Or two. Go Big.
- ZIPLOC BAGGIES. You will inevitable need them for something. Quart size to the rescue.
- REUSABLE PLASTIC CONTAINERS. Great for sorting smaller props, keeping props and ingredients organized & for sending home leftovers and extras.
- SHARP KNIVES. Chef knife, bread knife, santuoku and paring. You'll be glad to have all of the above.
- SCISSORS. A good, sharp pair.
- SHARP EDGES RAZOR. One of those ones
- Q-TIPS. So great for tidying up teeny tiny spills, and pushing little things into place.
- TWEEZERS. Endlessly useful.
- GRATER/PEELER. "Grate" for everything, including peeling garnishes.
- MINI SPATULA. And probably a maxi-spatula, too.
- SCRAPER SPATULA. At least one mini, silicone spatula will come in handy more often than you might guess.
- SALT AND PEPPER. Pretty salt. Fresh-cracked pepper. Because.
- COTTON BALLS OR TAMPONS. Soak with water and microwave, then set behind an item for steam. Or use to clean up, or share for lady emergencies.
- PAINTBRUSHES. You just never know when you'll need one.
- STICKY TACK. So useful for securing props in place.
- DOUBLE SIDED TAPE. See above.
- CIGARETTES. No kidding. We tried everything to get out steam shot. And ultimately decided a cigarette lit horizontally and place behind the mug was the most visible way to create the steam effect. So cigs are now in the kit.
- MATCHES. For the above.
- DROPPER. A little dropper helps move tiny pieces around, and also helps you get just-the-right amount of whatever, wherever you need it.
- OLIVE OIL SPRAY. Great for keeping that glisten during a long shoot. Also idea for added
- CLOTHES IRON. For tablecloths, napkins, etc. etc. A mini ironing board is added bonus.
- STEAMER. If you have access to a clothing steamer, bring it. Otherwise, see above.
- BRULEE TORCH. You will inevitably be called upon to torch something. Be prepared.
- INSTANT COFFEE. Make it weak for a pretty "bourbon colored" drink filler. Make it strong for yourself.
- SNACKS TO SHARE. Someone always needs a snack. Chocolate, fruit snacks, granola bars, turkey jerky. That should cover all the bases.
This weeks episode was shot with a Canon 5D Mk III paired with a SigmaArt 35mm Lens. Since my videographer hand holds for most shots, we rely pretty heavily on the "Warp Stabilizer" effect in Premiere Pro to keep the shots from bugging your eyes out. That effect is life. Give it a try!
Wanna get even more of Food Photographer geek on? Find tricks, tips and answers 24/7 in my Food Blogging, Photography & Videography Facebook Group. It's free to join!