Food Stylist

Make food look scrumptious for photo and film shoots.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $77,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Food Stylists do?

The photo shoot has been dragging on for 10 hours, but the strawberries still look ripe and luscious as they sit on their bed of perfectly whipped cream. And it’s all thanks to the Food Stylist hovering nearby. As a Food Stylist, you use a combination of culinary skills and basic chemistry to make food look appetizing in photographs and on film—no matter how long the shoot may last.

Having beautiful raw materials makes the job of a Food Stylist easier. It’s common for you to spend hours looking for the perfect carrot or the most luscious bunch of grapes. Sometimes, you hit several stores in one day, just so you can make sure to source the best products.

On the day of the shoot, you prepare the food. Sometimes, you add color to food using lipstick, paint, or dyes. Other times, you spray water, gel, or lacquer on food to make it look wet and fresh. You may also prop up parts of the food on toothpicks, making the savory bits stand out. However, due to truth in advertising laws this doctoring isn’t always legal. In order to protect your clients, stay up to date on the latest laws and discuss the matter with the Director before whipping out the paints and brushes.

Once the food looks perfect, you place it on plates or in dishes to show off its best parts and hide its flaws. Then, you stand to one side as the Photographer works.

Periodically, you check the food to make sure it still looks fresh, replacing any items that seem wilted and touching up parts that seem lifeless. Having extra servings on hand is an excellent way to prepare for very long shoots.

Should I be a Food Stylist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become a Food Stylist

    Most Food Stylists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aci9aa&chl=|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%2811%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2885%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,85
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