Have you noticed the difference between the burger pictured on the menu and the burger delivered to your table? They look vastly different, and while it tastes delicious, you can’t help but feel a bit let down. (Until you take that first bite and forget all about it, of course!)
The secret? Food photographers specialize in making things look perfect, and for items to look precise and magical…well, they can’t be real.
Ever noticed how spongy and pristine slices of cakes look in magazines? They are usually propped up with toothpicks and spaced out with cardboard, plastic, or even boxes before the icing is added. Sometimes, it isn’t even cake underneath the fondant shell to ensure that the pictures are exactly right.
Ever notice how fizzy the sodas are in a commercial? Antacids are frequently used to create an extraordinary amount of fizz in a glass. And those ice cubes are so perfect because……they are made of plastic! Splashed with water or sculpted to look as if they are melting, almost no food photographer works with actual ice. By the time the shoot would be set up, the ice would have long since melted. Regular ice is too cloudy to use anyway.That “steam” is usually a cotton ball or cloth that has been heated with boiling water or microwaved. Others burn sticks of incense just out of frame. The food isn’t hot…but it sure looks like it just came from the oven!Why does cereal look like it’s floating on opaque milk? Because it’s been placed in a shallow amount of school glue.That’s not syrup – it’s motor oil. Real syrup just doesn’t look as tasty on screen.Don’t worry, your food will still taste delicious! It just won’t look as good when you order it.
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