Food Stylist

What Is A Food Stylist?

Food stylists are a good example of the food industry's diversity. Part designer, part culinary expert, food stylists prepare dishes for photographs or presentation at trade shows and other high-profile events where the food needs to be artistically presented. They sometimes work for magazines, advertising agencies, production studios, or as freelance professionals. Some help create TV commercials. Others may demonstrate new foods or cookware at trade shows.

What Does A Food Stylist Do?

The food stylist must work with a team of other professionals, perhaps including an art director and almost always a food photographer. Food stylists understand a particular dish and the process of creating it, but add an artist's eye to the dish's presentation by arranging the elements in a certain way or suggesting garnishes and special serving platters.

Because prepared dishes only look their best for a short period of time, food stylists need to know when the photographer should take the shot. The quick pace of work also requires substantial logistical planning so that everything comes together perfectly.

Characteristics Of A Food Stylist

Food stylists must have an expert knowledge of the culinary arts, blended with an artistic sense of arrangement and color. They also must stay in tune with the latest trends in fashion and design, and always be on the lookout for materials that will make their presentations look more appealing, such as fake ice, sprays, or other technical elements.

The Nitty Gritty: Salary

Full-time food stylists who work for publications, agencies, or studios can expect to earn between $30,000 and $50,000 annually. Freelance food stylists who have built up their resumes and contacts earn between $300 and $850 per photo shoot.

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In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics
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