Everyone loves pasta, honestly it’s one of the easiest and one of most difficult things to style on photo shoots. When it comes to a macaroni and cheese, sheesh that’s a tough one on set. The cheese sets up quickly and it’s just hard to make it look appetizing. Pasta has great texture in photographs, but sometimes the toppings are overwhelming and become the focus of the photograph and not in the good way.
The exact same thing applies to pasta at home or at a dinner party. The vessel you choose to serve pasta in is the most important element in making pasta look delicious. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to a party and the pasta comes out looking, well pale, overdressed and unappetizing.
Here are a few stylist tricks to remember next time pasta is on the menu.
1. Before :: Macaroni and Cheese. We love Mac&Cheese! However… how can something so yummy looks so un-yummy?
After :: Forget the glass casserole, in fact I don’t even own one. Stylist tip *FOOD DOES NOT LOOK PRETTY FROM THE SIDE WHEN BAKED PERIOD! Instead, think about something earthy to present your Mac&Cheese in. An iron skillet is perfect! I own lots of iron skillets in all sizes. Not only are they great looking, great to bake in, but they make awesome presentation vessels. I love making corn bread, pulling the baked bread out of the skillet, slicing it, then laying it back into the same skillet lined with some parchment paper. Voila! A super homey and appetizing presentation.* this was a pretty cover shot for Southern Living I styled a couple years ago. I still think it’s so yummy looking. It’s one of my favorites. *Stylist Tip* the cute little linen tea towel under the skillet elevates the Mac&Cheese just perfectly. A subtle touch like this can make the food look special on the table.
2. Before :: Pesto Pasta
After :: I love using glasses in unexpected ways. Pesto pasta is pretty, so seeing all the bits of basil in the clear glass is great, plus it’s easy to serve. I love these brandy sifters. They are the perfect size for 1 serving. Think of all your tableware in different ways. Glasses can be used for more than just drinks.
3. Before :: Seafood Pasta
After :: Styling tip * Always think about the bowl or platter you’re serving a dish in. Here the scallop edged bowl really makes a difference. It’s a nod to the sea, it looks a bit like a sea shell. You will never go wrong with a seafood presentation if you introduce the sea in some form. Even the serving spoon looks like something you would find along the beach.
4. Before :: Pasta with Zucchini, although this dish looks great, it could look so much better! Always think about the vessel, if the dish looks bland, then jazz it up with a fantastic bowl or platter.
After :: This bowl is magnificent! It’s an antique French handpainted bowl, one of my favorites in my collection. I have never seen another one like it. The pasta looks amazing because of the vessel.
I hope that this has helped you look at how you serve your pasta dishes. The key is to always think about the vessel options you have. It’s very important especially with something like pasta, to bring out the cool props.
If you’re interested in learning more about food styling check out my workshop June 7th. Hope to see you there, it’s always a super fun day of learning, sharing, creating and of course eating.
Photo credit: Jennifer Davick, Lauren Rubinstein, Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyen
Zucchini and Seafood Pasta Dishes from my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties
: Tags: before and afters
, food makeovers
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