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A Culinary Conversation: Insights from Food Styling Experts Laura Cole and Naomi Smith

Updated: Feb 5

Hey styling enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the world of food styling with two incredible artists from The Spin Style Agency – Laura Cole and Naomi Smith. Welcome, ladies!

Spin Style Agency: Laura, in your extensive experience, what would you say is an essential rule in professional food styling?

Food Styling using a dropper

Laura Cole: In food styling, professionalism is key. It's about being reliable, showing up on time, and having a good attitude. Remembering who hired you, whether it's a client, agency, or art director, is crucial. While expressing your opinion is fine, ultimately, it's about respecting the process and meeting the client's vision.

Spin Style Agency: Naomi, your thoughts?

Naomi Smith: I'd echo what Laura said. Delegating to your team, clear communication, collaboration, and understanding the brand are fundamental. It's not just about making food look appetizing; it's doing so efficiently to stay on schedule for demanding shoots.

Spin Style Agency: Naomi, can you share a memorable experience related to food styling?

Food styling using a dropper

Naomi Smith: Yes! During one of my shoots for Carnival Cruise featuring Shaquille O'Neal, I collaborated with my team to create three fake cakes for background aesthetics. Simultaneously, we baked identical edible cakes for consumption. What caught me by surprise was when the talent indulged in the delicious creations they couldn't get enough. Shaquille not only enjoyed my marble cake but was so impressed that he requested his own personal slice not once, but twice, off-camera.

Additional Tip: Make sure to ask about talent allergies, or dietary restrictions. Always ask if talent will consume on camera, even if they say no sometimes that might change. So be flexible.

Spin Style Agency: Laura, what are some common mistakes in the industry that you think should be highlighted?

Midcentury modern food styling shrimp cocktail

Laura Cole: The most common mistake I've encountered is when there are too many voices on set. It's best to have one person to go to for approvals. Getting mixed messages can lead to confusion and wasted time.

Spin Style Agency: Naomi, any industry mistakes you've observed?

Naomi Smith: A lead stylist not communicating or delegating properly can result in an inefficient workflow. Also, not asking enough questions in preproduction can leave you unprepared on set.

Spin Style Agency: Laura, tell us about your favorite tools or techniques that make your food styling work easier or more effective.

Laura Cole: There are a few tools I can’t do without. Tweezers are at the top of the list, spray bottles for spritzing, Q-tips, paper towels, paintbrushes, and scissors plus a few more. One thing that has made my job easier when needed, is learning how to make fake ice cubes that float, unlike the glass or plastic kind that sink and are a dead giveaway that they aren’t real.

female placing food for photo shoot

Spin Style Agency: Naomi, what about your go-to tools or techniques?

Naomi Smith: Precision tools like tweezers, syringes, and piping kits are essential. I often use MASA or instant potatoes as a filler to prop up food items. It's all about the details!

Spin Style Agency: Wrapping up our culinary conversation, let's delve into the impact of your expertise on your food styling projects.

food styling beverage for photo shoot

Laura Cole: When it comes to success, it's all about embracing a strong work ethic, practicing patience, and maintaining nerves of steel. Additionally, the streamlined process with one designated person for approvals minimizes confusion and ensures a smoother workflow.

Naomi Smith: Understanding how the food will look before it hits the camera is a game-changer. Preparation is the cornerstone, especially for shoots involving talent consuming the food. Through dedicated practice and meticulous preparation on prep days, we guarantee a sustained visual allure on camera.

Spin Style Agency: Thank you both for sharing your expertise and these valuable food styling insights. We love to peer into the art and science of food styling. To our audience, for a deeper dive into Laura and Naomi's exceptional work, explore their portfolios on our website. Happy styling, everyone!

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