If you’re a food blogger, vlogger, or working on a tasty marketing campaign, you should check out these top food styling tips and tricks!

“We eat with our eyes first” is a phrase bandied around by head chefs controlling the pass in their kitchen, and aspiring, fastidious home cooks alike. It’s true that the more visually appealing a dish is, the more inclined we are to stuff it into our faces. But, the images and video we see of our favourite tasty morsels is rarely an accurate representation of how we’d see them in real life.

For example, take the humble but amazingly popular big mac, from McDonald’s. All the billboard images and TV adverts depict evenly distributed lettuce, glistening brown beef, and neatly aligned cheese and buns. In reality, you usually open the cardboard box to find a massacre scene of loose lettuce, and a plastic-looking piece of cheese that’s been lazily applied to a lifeless (don’t read too much into that, fellow vegetarians), unappetising puck of meat. So, how do they make them look so damn delicious in the photos?

Food styling is imperative when photographing food. This goes beyond set dressing, or ensuring the lighting is perfect. We’re talking about all the food styling tools and secrets that go on the actual dish itself. If you need help elevating your snaps, here are some fantastic food styling tips, tricks, and methods to do just that!

Paper Towels

If you were expecting expensive, specialist tools, then sorry to disappoint. One of the most important pieces of kit, if you can even call it that, is kitchen roll or paper towels.

Whatever you’re plating, you’ll want it to sit on clean, splatter-free dishes. This helps the food to stand out crisply on the plate. To get rid of any smears or spits of tomato sauce, performing a careful clean up with paper towels makes all the difference. Cotton buds or Q tips also are a great little weapon to have on hand, as these let you get into those harder to reach spots.

Makeup Kits

Make your tomatoes pop by applying a liberal dousing of blusher and bronzer.

Just kidding. But, you’d be surprised at just how many makeup tools come into food styling. Because images of food tend to be relatively close up, you have to pay attention to the finer details. Utilising a pair of simple tweezers allows you to reposition items delicately, without disturbing the rest of the composition.

If you can get hold of a very soft fan brush, this works perfectly for sweeping away any unwanted specs. This is also good for getting rid of too much salt, or clearing away undesirable peppercorns or powdered spices.

Makeup sponges are also perfect for propping things like burger buns or bagels up slightly. This lets you play with angles, making a shot much more interesting to the eye.


Why do vegetables covered in water droplets appear more delicious than dry vegetables? Perhaps the droplets make us think of fresh, juicy, crisp food rather than sad, old bell peppers that have begun to wither at the back of the fridge.

In order to get those enticing little droplets on your veg, simply spray a fine mist of glycerine on it first. This non-toxic viscous liquid coats the vegetables, so that when you sprits them with water, it helps the water to form droplets.

Cheese Pull Perfection

Sometimes you cut into a pizza and lift a slice away, and the perfect cheese pull occurs. But, not every time.

We’re obsessed with cheese pulls, they’re the money shot of any cheesy dish and they drive us crazy. So, how can you guarantee the perfect cheese pull every time? Let’s talk pizza. If you attempt the pull too soon, whilst the food is too hot, the cheese could slide right off the slice. Attempt it too late, and the cheese could be too cool and snap.

Finding the temperature sweet spot is key. You also need to use the right kind of cheese. Mozzarella is a great choice, as it’s a very stringy cheese when melted. Be sure to avoid the pre-grated, low moisture mozzarella though, as this won’t give the desired effect.

Pre-slicing the pizza before building it also helps massively. It means you’re not cutting the cheese away from the main body of the pizza, so it can stretch and pull for longer.

Heat Guns

Possibly one of the more fun food styling tips, grabbing a heat gun will help you make food look much more inviting. This particularly applies to meats that are browned, like beef burgers or meatballs.

Realistically, you could take meatballs out of the oven, and they might brown on the spot they were touching the tray, but be kind of grey and dull elsewhere. In order to add colour and texture all over, you can point a heat gun in certain spots to crisp them up. Something like a MagTorch, meant for carpentry or construction, works beautifully.

Add Texture

Plates and crockery tends to be smooth and plain. Of course, you can get textured plates, depending on what they’re made from. Shiny objects can be difficult to shoot, and avoiding harsh glare can cause difficulties.

Adding texture to plates and bowls eliminates this issue. No glare on the plate makes the image look more real to the viewer, as if they could grab it themselves and take a bite. Using things like baking parchment or paper is a solid solution, and can be manipulated easily to achieve a pleasing final look.