Food Stylists' Tips for Setting an Appealing Table
While food styling for photos is best left to the professionals, we can all learn from their example:
• Look through magazines for table settings that inspire you.
• Pay attention to how your food is served to you when you're eating out.
• Take cooking classes from local chefs to learn how to plate food.
• Avoid fancy garnishes. Stick with ingredients that are part of the dish and garnishes that are edible, like lemon wedges or tomato slices or a sprinkle of herbs.
• Shop yard sales and thrift stores for interesting fabrics, napkins, table runners, bowls, glass cylinders and other props.
• Look at the plate as if it were a canvas.
• Think about color, texture and background. White plates are really great for making food stand out (as long as the food isn't white also, but even then it can be quite striking).
• For a buffet table, think outside the box. Use different levels. Use flowers and other greenery including herbs.
• If you're planning a dinner party, buy the most beautiful food you can find. Try to keep the sizes of carrots, for instance, about the same.
• Think of a sense of order when going through the buffet: dishes, utensils, where to place the side dishes, entree, etc.