Food Photographers Show Simple Tricks For Perfect Shots
We can all agree that when we see a photo of a delicious stack of pancakes on a plate, drizzled with sweet maple syrup, our stomachs start to growl and our mouths start watering! If you think those delicious pancake photographs with the syrup dripping off the edges look too good to be true, you’re right!
If you are a food photographer, or even just a pancake fan that like to post pictures of their food on social media, here are some simple ways to achieve those mouth watering pancake shots. Warning....this may turn you off pancakes in the future! Watch this video to learn two simple tricks to up your pancake photography game.
Canadians, you might want to turn away! Your cherished maple syrup is about to be tainted. We are going to tell you about something that we are sure you would consider a crime! These pancake ads may look tantalizing, but the syrup is sadly staged. Maple syrup isn't dark enough to show up very well in photos since it is so close to the color of the pancakes and gets washed out with all of the lighting needed for food photography. So photographers and stylists will sometimes use motor oil to darken it. That's right, we said motor oil, as in 5W30! Those pancake photos don't look so good now do they? Motor oil thickens and darkens up the syrup and gives it the consistency of sweet, thick and delicious syrup that slowly drips down the stack of pancakes and pools nicely on the plate.
Just when you think this may be the most disgusting photography trick ever, the stylists will also spray the pancakes with Scotchgard! That's right, the fabric protector, before pouring the oily syrup onto the pancakes. The fabric protector keeps the oil from soaking into the stack of pancakes, and gives the photographer much longer to achieve the perfect shot. We have all poured syrup on pancakes before starting to eat, just to add additional syrup half way through because all of the liquid has completely soaked into the cakes. If only someone could come up with an edible Scotchgard....instead of a fabric protector, it would be a pancake protector!
That's not to say maple syrup is off the table, so to speak. Photographers have also used this same technique to represent spilled coffee from a mug. Adding the oil to darken up the syrup gives is a perfect coffee color and just the right consistency to handle the intense amount of lighting needed for food photography. Using the syrup helps the "coffee" have the dimensional quality of spilled liquid in photos and keeps it from dripping all over the plate and table, like a liquid would.
So next time you look at a photo of pancakes in a magazine or on television, remember, that isn't something you want to eat! If photographers are adding oil to their syrup and fabric protector to their stack of pancakes, what else are they doing to their food before they take the photo?