Food photography friends can be the worst – everyone has that one friend who won’t let you take a bite before making sure she has a perfectly lit and composed picture of her ice cream for Instagram.
However, their perfectionism does not hold a candle to the professionals, with camerawork that usually requires their mouthwatering models to slap on some not-so-appetizing makeup. Behold 7 of the most horrendous hacks advertisers use to make their food look fabulous:
Food gets cold fast, so to keep those nice swirls of steam going through every shot, photographers don’t stop to throw their “subjects” in the microwave. Instead, they soak something like a tampon or sponge in water and heat it up for an instant and easily concealed steam source.
There is a reason your short stacks and sandwiches never stand up to the ad on your screen. Photographers strategical place sheets of cardboard between pancakes or burger patties, allowing their cameras to capture plates in delectable detail, making replication a tall order for amateurs.
3. Motor Oil
The best thing about pancakes is the way they soak up all the syrupy goodness – unless you’re a food photographer. Instead of worrying about syrup slipping into the sponge-like circles and out of sight, experts spray down their sweet subjects with a healthy dose of water-repellent fabric solution before drowning them in thick n’ rich motor oil to their heart’s content.
4. Mashed Potatoes and Lard
Sweet treat or side dish? Rather than mess with melting dairy, photographers make their own creamy concoctions out of kitchen staples: mashed potatoes, lard, powdered sugar, and food coloring.
5. Hair Cream
No one likes soggy cereal, including photographers. To keep their cornflakes crispy, pros use milk-alternatives such as Wildroot hair cream, shortening, and glue.
That stuff you use to get the squeak out of your door hinges? It’s a food photography favorite for making food (like this taco filling) “glisten” for the camera.
7. Soy Sauce & Soap Suds
That perfect cuppa joe isn’t easy to achieve – unless, that is, your brew isn’t made from coffee beans at all. By diluting soy sauce with water and adding some frothy bubbles from dish soap, photographers are able to achieve a drink that looks smooth but smells more like Chinese takeout.
Next time you find yourself salivating at food photography, think twice about what kind of “yummy” ingredients were used in the process