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Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera [Hardcover]

Delores Custer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 May 2010
The authoritative and comprehensive guide to the art and craft of food styling Based on her 30 years of experience in food styling for advertising, magazines, books, and films, Delores Custer presents the definitive lifelong reference on food styling-complete with lists of handy tools and vital equipment, recipes for artificial foods, and guidelines for running a successful food styling business. Full of ingenious advice on styling in any media and packed with full-color photographs, Food Styling reveals every trick of the trade, from making a beverage appear to sweat to producing those perfect grill marks on meat without a grill. Filled with resources and organized in a simple problem-and-solution format, this is an ideal resource for both experienced foods styling pros and first-timers alike. This is the only book of its kind on the market, shedding light on the art and craft of food styling More than 300 full-color photos reveal the process of styling and the spectacular results, teaching and inspiring anyone interested in food and how it is presented in media The book features a timeline of 60 years of food styling, a glossary of important terms, and a listing of vital styling resources The only book the aspiring or professional food stylist will ever need, this exceptionally thorough resource covers challenges from flawless fried chicken to fluffy, cloudlike cake frostings-and everything in between Whether you're looking to break into the food styling business or just touch up on the latest and most effective techniques, Food Styling is the ultimate guide to creating stunning culinary visuals.

Frequently Bought Together

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera + Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling + Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
Price For All Three: 79.58

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (11 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470080191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470080191
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 22.9 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Delores Custer has been a freelance food stylist and culinary educator since 1978. Today she styles for magazines and cookbook publishers, and in print advertising, public relations, television, and feature films. She has taught courses in Professional Food Styling, Recipe Writing, and Food Demonstration Techniques for Television at New York University, The Culinary Institute of America, The Institute of Culinary Education, and culinary schools around the world. Her food clients include Kraft Foods, General Mills, Unilever, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra, Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Red Lobster, Subway, Cuisinart, Bacardi, and Budweiser. Her website is delorescuster.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!! 8 Dec 2011
By Patty
I'm very pleased with the quality of it. Is a massive book which it will keep me really busy.

The Author works a lot hard showing details and important informations,trick of the trade and giving tips how to start into Food Styling.

I haven't finished the book,as I said is huge and contains a lot of information too. On the back of the book you can find a lot of websites to contact with other Food Stylist/Shops to buy equipments,etc.

I'm a Product/Still Life/Food Photographer and I think is important to know how a Food Stylist work.

I will recommend this book definitely!!
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Stylish Indeed! 24 Oct 2010
As soon as I received this book I new that it was going to be good, it's so beautifully presented, there is so much information and I have definately learnt quite a bit, it's a really nice book to own.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential and Comprehensive - Why This Book is one of the BEST Investments you will make! 28 April 2010
By javajunki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you are a veteran chef, photographer etc or novice 'wanna be', this is an essential "must have" for your collection. At nearly 400 pages, this is a comprehensive undertaking that doesn't compromise quality or clarity. Here is why this is a "MUST HAVE" for anyone remotely interested in the culinary arts, food styling, photography or related trends.

1. Comprehensive. As mentioned, this is nearly 400 pages packed FULL of information. There is a balanced blend of photographs and text without one dominating the other. Instead, each enhances the other with ample detail/discussion and pertinent photos. Tone is conversational yet complete providing veteran and novice readers sufficient information to achieve desired results.

2. Beautiful Big Book. Not only is the book 400 pages but it's a large book. This is the hard cover with a clear dust jacket...complete with a "peel away" safety sheeting! Organized for ease of use, no detail is missed. Lovely Headings are bold/brightly colored for quick reference, ample charts/other make for simple comparison, excellent resource/glossary and index section. It is obvious a great deal of care went into the creation of this resource!

3. Content. Of course, any food styling book wouldn't be worth much without superb content and this is where Custer really excels. Tips and excellent information abound...from basic tidbits to in-depth discussion that can only come from years of experience, it's obvious the author is an expert in every sense of the word. I am absolutely smitten by the level of detail - combined with clarity - provided throughout. Chapter highlights include:
-Food Styling Overview
-The Medium is Everything
-Your Food Styling Teammates
-You Got the Job...Now What?
-Prepping the Assignment
-At the Shoot
-About Photography
-The Basics of Propping
-The Basics of Tv & Film Production Work
-The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
-Working with the Food
-The Business of Food Styling
-Beyond Food Styling
-Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
-Reviewing the Last Fifty/sixty years of Food styling and photography

However, within each of the above chapter are numerous sub=sections, tips, pertinent photographs, charts and much more. For example, a seemingly "mundane" topic related to the tools of the trade, we get a quick peak into the kit and set tray. We see actual examples of a simple kit set-up, the set tray, a listed photograph of each individual tool plus tips of the trade that make all the difference in a day to day setting. For example, how do you know which type of rice to cook and when? Find out on page 145!

How do you make a panini look enticing...rather than that big flat floppy thing you create in your own kitchen? Find out on page 207!

What is available when and how do you locate out of season fruits/vegies? Find out on pages 171-173!

This is just a very short sample of the incredible amount of information contained in this book. It is NOT fluff or filler...rather page after page of great information!

For those that are comparing this to the other available options, this wins hands down.

I also own Food Styling for Photographers: A Guide to Creating Your Own Appetizing Art by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee...an excellent resource but not nearly as comprehensive or detailed as this book.

Digital Food Photography by Lou Manna is another book I own/use but it tends to focus much more on the basics of digital photography. Many of the techniques and tricks/tips are duplicates from the comprehensive book "Food Styling" by Delores Custer.

Without a doubt, this is an absolute "must have" that will be used repeatedly. A perfect companion for anyone wanting to enter the field of food styling. It assumes nothing yet provides depth and details to inspire and inform even veteran styling professionals.

53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well done, but not for what I wanted 8 Nov 2010
By curious cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a nice book, full of good information, if you want to break into the food styling biz. But it is really focused on the business, and not on the particulars of plating for an attractive photo, which is what I wanted if for, in order to plate food at home, to photograph for my cooking blog. Food that could actually be eaten after being photographed. If you are interested in the differences between food shot for advertising, and food shot for magazines, this is your book. If you are after plating tips for attractive presentation and natural looking photos, this is not the book for you.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was written for me 2 May 2010
By Walter K. Ezell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
OK, I'm sure many others will love this book as much as I do, but if Delores Custer had studied my business and written a book just for me, she couldn't have done more.

It is massive, thorough and comprehensive, yes. But so beautiful, well-organized and entertaining, you'll want to jump right in.

I am constantly striving to improve performance as a food photographer for the menus of independent restaurants. I may have to purchase a second copy, so other food photographers and designers at Menu Works can pass it around. Because this copy will not leave my side for many years to come.

For me, the heart of the book, comprising more than 150 pages, is chapter 11, "Working with the food: Overcoming Challenges."

Food styling is detail work, and this section deals with specific food items in extraordinary detail. Cakes for instance. How to adjust baking temperature to achieve a dome or a flatter top. How to cut a perfect wedge. How to match the slice to the plate size. How to mount the slice on the plate for easy adjustment. How to frost the two-layer slice after it's cut. (A surprising trick here.) How to patch unwanted bubbles in the surface of the cake. (Warning, you won't be eating the cake after you do this.) Mixes versus scratch. How many ounces of batter Custer uses per layer. 9-inch versus 8-inch pans.

The author brings this level of detail to soup, pies, beverages, salads, etc., etc.

There are other books out there. But to learn more about styling food for the camera, this is the book you'll want to keep close at hand.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly in-depth and indispensable book. 28 April 2010
By Christian Stella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For anyone that is even remotely interested in food styling or photography, this book is an incredible piece of work. Though it is much more entertaining than a textbook, the sheer amount of information in this book really gives it the feel of a textbook for a master class on food styling that you could pay tens of thousands of dollars to participate in.

I am already well on my way in the business, but have never had the opportunity to stop and actually learn the tricks of the trade... instead, the trade just kind of swept me up and took me for a ride. While food styling is just one aspect of my work (I am also the photographer, as well as the art director/designer/illustrator/etc. of entire cookbooks for clients) there is so much information in this book that I've found plenty of tips on the non-food styling aspects of my business as well.

I have to give a huge thank you to Delores Custer for writing this book. Compiling such an impressive book about such a specific topic is a gift to those of us that it will truly benefit.

If you work in the business, there is no question that you should own this book... even if you think you know it all, you will still find many of the anecdotal stories hilarious. (Like the time she and her team spent an entire day prepping 80 bowls of salad for 1 massive photograph, only for the client to crop out most of the bowls in the final ad.)

If you don't work in the business, but just enjoy looking through cookbooks, food magazines, or even watching food television shows... you may even enjoy this book more than the professionals, as you read all of the secrets and tricks that make the food you see in print look so darn good.

This is the only book on my coffee table at the moment. It's beautiful and it proves to all my guests that I don't just play with food all day!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master of Her Craft 20 Mar 2013
By Steven - Published on Amazon.com
WITH the commercialism of flashy advertisements and three-minute long commercial breaks, it is hard not to succumb to trendy marketing schemes. People today are constantly bombarded with the media's desire for us to purchase every type of product available. While this has become a social norm, it seems that one of the largest sectors of the market today is the Hospitality Industry, and in particular its food. Our daily observance of beautiful dishes and ingredients is a key decision maker in choosing the types of food we consume. Viewing these advertisements has become such a regular task for ourselves that most do not consider the process involved in creating these beautiful, mouthwatering scenes.

In Delores Custer's Food Styling, we are shown this process in fine detail through the explanations of a gifted food stylist. Though more a text book than a leisurely read, Custer's stories of how she became who she is, and own personal reflections on this unique line of work, allow the reader to become educated in a very casual way. Its bright and cheerful cover featuring, what seems to be, a foot-tall cold-cut sandwich contrasted with a bright orange background, make it very inviting and noticeable on any book shelf or coffee table.

The text is divided into four major sections; The Basics, The Job, Pulling it all Together, and Food Presentation Trends, each with its own in-depth lessons on the subject. From introducing the reader to the fake "splashes" used in cereal commercials, to the reasoning behind tearing a muffin in half as opposed to just cutting it, she proves her belief that food should not only look attractive, but be mouthwatering. The content is both visually appealing and easy to read, and gives insight from her preparation techniques to the abundant list of tools she uses.

It is obvious that this book was not only designed for those in the Restaurant Industry, but also for any home cook interested in why food looks so good in magazines and on TV. Throughout 400 pages, Ms. Custer invites the reader to share her expertise for food styling through both her writings and many beautiful photographs which give a step-by-step breakdown to how the "perfect shot" is achieved. Her passionate display of the work she does is extremely well presented, and would both intrigue foodies into how these advertisements are created, or inspire a young culinarian to enter a field of endless opportunities. Through the combination of both her love of food and artistic detail, Delores Custer truly is a master of her craft.
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