Whether it’s in a menu or TV commercial, food always looks much nicer when advertised. But just HOW do photographers get the food to look even more tasty than in real-life? Ironically, by making it taste a whole lot worse…
Here are 10 unsavory techniques commercials use to make food look more appetising!
1. Wood Glue
On the packet of your favorite cereal, the flakes in the bowl of milk are never soggy, and the milk is always mighty white. This is because it’s not milk, it’s wood glue. A special shallow bowl accommodates a thin layer of PVA glue in which the cereal is sprinkled, stopping it from going soggy throughout the photoshoot.
2. Newspaper and Paint
In those lovely commercials where a delicious Thanksgiving Turkey is featured, looking plump and golden brown, is actually a barely cooked bird, which is stuffed full of newspaper and then spray painted a golden brown color. Delicious!
3. Mash Potatoes
How does a frosty ice-cream keep it together throughout a gruelling photo session? It doesn’t. It melts everywhere. This is why they use mash potato instead! Added food coloring makes it look like any desired flavor.
4. A Fridge
How do some photographers capture super macro shots of fidgety bugs, without them all being blurred? By sticking the insect in the fridge for a couple of hours! This slows down the creature’s metabolism like a bear in winter, keeping them alive for the shoot, and slow enough to film.
5. Motor Oil
Surely nothing is more appetising than a stack of pancakes with syrup dribbling down them? Well, no that’s not not syrup. It’s motor oil. Not so appetising now? Also to stop the pancakes absorbing the oil and getting soggy, they spray them with water resistant fabric protector.
6. Cotton Wool
How do food items stay steaming hot throughout a long shoot? They don’t. The amount of steam that comes off a food is relevant to the amount of liquid it holds. Bread for example wouldn’t steam for very long at all. Cotton wool balls however, hold a lot of water and therefore give off steam for a lot longer. Place them behind the food et voila!
7. Shaving Foam
What sulks on your plate almost faster than ice-cream under a spotlight? Whipped cream. Just a few minutes after being sprayed from the can, you have a volume-less blob. That is why advertisers use shaving foam which holds it’s shape for a lot longer. You wouldn’t want to put that on your strawberries…
8. Shoe Polish
We all love that char-grilled chicken fresh from the barbecue. Scrummy. But achieving that perfect looking char without burning the bird is much more trickier than just painting on the char-marks with shoe polish. Of course, it’s not as tasty tho…
Supermarkets have covered fruit in a layer of wax for years, making apples glisten with a seemingly natural healthiness. However it is also used in the sauces and soups of commercials, as real great tasting sauces tend to be more watery and not as brightly coloured as melted wax.
We’ve just mentioned how some supermarkets cover their fruit in wax to make them shiny, but advertisers go one step further. Spraying deodorant on the fruit makes a glossy seal, helping them shine even brighter whilst repelling water droplets, making them seem even more natural in some weird way…
Which one of these techniques surprised you the most?