The Art of Food Styling

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cheeseburger Cheeseburger styled by Roscoe Betsill (Photograph by Nigel Cox for Bon Appetit)

Food stylist Roscoe Betsill shares the tricks of his trade and explains what food stylists do to make foods look fresh and delicious in photographs.


Roscoe Betsill

Comments [7]

Roscoe Betsill from New York

It was a pleasure to meet and have this conversation with the much admired Leonard Lopate. I got off to a slow start, but Leonard put me at ease enough to be able to share a little insight into the job that affords me the opportunity to work with a number of very talented and creative people. (Thank you, Elizabeth Woodson! for having confidence in me when I was just starting out). In addition to the folks I work with on set, I regularly have the opportunity to work with editors, chefs, writers and purveyors who continually shape our perception and appreciation of food. I think that most of us in the field work very hard and appreciate the fact that we are able to earn a living doing something that we truly enjoy.

Apr. 12 2015 10:48 AM
Carly Simon from Nyc

Re: Allen Bank.
You obviously do not have any respect for people and their work. The photographer might have lost the account for that act of immature behavior on your part. If I was the food stylist on set that day the minute you picked up that knife mighty have been your last chance to pick up a knife ever. That job may have required pre made cakes, but a good amount of accounts require us to shop, cook and plate the food and or drink for camera. It sounds like you are just a jealous immature disrespectful individual with no sense of the real world. As for the stylists packing up and leaving, that is their personal choice. For the most part we are freelance workers and we are our own bosses. You just have no class or respect. Bottom line. And for you to post about it just make a joke of it, really shows that you are an ignorant, jealous and probably never had to work hard for something to call your own. So keep giggling. I'm glad you were amused and that you made your photographer friend look unprofessional and hurt their chances with work for that client in the future.

Feb. 13 2014 02:30 PM
Elizabeth Woodson

Whether you choose to respect this profession or not is your choice, but this is a very good overview of exactly what a good food stylist does. I've had the pleasure of working with Roscoe many times and he is one of the best. Excellent interview!

May. 24 2013 02:38 PM
Mike from Joisey

Talk about First World issues. I don't know which is more so, food styling or hand modeling.

May. 17 2013 12:57 PM
Allen Bank from Brooklyn

Whenever I hear a "serious" conversation about food styling I chuckle. A good friend of mine is a food photographer of high regard. He's photographed food for most major publications as well as national restaurants and "coffee table" food books.

One day I was visiting him at his NY Chelsea studio while he was shooting a slice of cake for one of the largest restaurants in the country.

They had had 50 whole cakes shipped to the studio to allow the food stylist to be able to make as many mis-cuts as was necessary, in order to get the "perfect" slice. The food stylist who had been at it for 3 hours was onto the 36th cake. She by the way was being paid; $600. per hour. plus expenses. Hungry; I picked-up a knife sliced a wedge; which first; the stylist absolutely flipped-out about; my friend; the photographer and his clients; jumped-up pleading I don't take a bite... and that was the slice that appeared on the restaurants menu. The stylist immediately shouted; "your still paying me"! Packed-up all her gear with her 2 assistants in tow and stormed from the studio.

I joked with everyone that next time they need me I'll "only" charge a flat fee of $200. and all the cake I could eat. My friend the photographer was furious with me demeaning the "talent" of the stylist (in front of his clients I assume was his biggest issue) and with extreme venom in his voice told me it was just a fluke which might happen 1 in a million times while defending the $3,600. fee paid to the stylist.

I laughed and thought... well... that's one reason we pay more then we need to for our food.

So it goes... so it goes...

May. 17 2013 12:40 PM
scotty watson from Secaucus

Mr. Lopate is doing his best to make this segment work but this guy is like listening to pompous paint dry. Is that a thing?

May. 17 2013 12:20 PM
Money shot

Is there any work or money for your guest in the world of food blogs or do bloggers use their own photography and stock photos?

May. 17 2013 12:19 PM

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