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Food Styling for the Holidays

Kim Kissling | Chef's Blade

Holiday comfort food (photo by K.K.)

Now, if a holiday spread has to be shot in mid-July, where does one shoot it? Sometimes the stories are written and photographed an entire year before during the appropriate season. However, most of the time holiday shoots happen in the middle of the summer but the food, props, and people are made to look like it is winter. For example, if shooting a spread for a holiday meal with a family sitting around a table, the “talent” (people in the photograph) are asked to wear sweaters and winter type clothing. Making it a bit unbearable in the summer heat!

Also, the background of a shot can be made to feel like it’s during the holidays by simply putting appropriate props or lighting in the background to give it a holiday feel. You can see that by putting sparkling white lights (as in the Mistletoe and Holly drink shot above) gives it just the right amount of atmosphere making it seem like these drinks are being served at a friend’s holiday party.

In the photograph above, a holiday feast is shown in a dark, moody atmosphere with big, comfort food. This shot happened to be taken in the middle of the day in an open studio, not during the evening hours in an outside location as it appears to have been shot.

So the next time you’re reading your November or December issue of your favorite food magazine take a moment to think about the process of creating that spread.

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