Food & Drink

Food styling 101

Just made the perfect homemade dish and keen to show it off to the world? Have some fun with ‘food styling’ with these top tips from Gousto’s top food stylist, Jenny Brown

Lead image by Trang Doan from Pexels

Take your foodie photos in natural lighting. It’s all about lighting when getting that perfect dinner shot – try placing your plate down next to a window, and never use your built-in flash. Natural lighting shows all the delicious details and highlights the vibrant colours of your dish.

Don’t overcrowd your plate. Piling your plate up will look messy, keep it simple! Find a focus point on the plate and add ingredients around it to complement. Looking a little basic? Have a change of scenery and introduce your dish to a jazzy tablecloth or tea towel to balance the shot. 

Pick the perfect plate. From size to colour, your plate should complement your food – choose a high contrasting colour like white for your colourful dishes. And pick matte over glossy – we want to avoid a shiny surface.  

Photo by Humphrey Muleba from Burst

Experiment with layers and height. Transform a basic dish by introducing different levels and layout of food. Try stacking different elements of your dish to create that wow factor. 

Surround your dish with complementary props. If your dish is looking a little lonely, try placing related ingredients and cooking utensils around the plate such as herbs, jars, tins and cutlery. Reveal the tools and ingredients of your dish, to set the scene and reveal how you achieved your tasty meal. 

Have a play around with angles. Achieve that dinner party shot by moving around the plate and taking a variety of different images – this way you can see which angle your dish looks the best from. Every dish will have a preferable angle.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Be prepared. Although you want to achieve that perfect shot, eating it is far more important. Don’t let your dinner go to waste – always have props, table setting and lighting set up in advance. Keep your herbs in cold water, to keep them fresh before the final shot! 

Don’t forget the garnish. A sprinkle of chives or a pinch of parsley can add life to a dish. The finishing touches will transform your meal into a virtual dinner party-worthy plate. Make a little mess to show how raw and real your dish is! 

Presentation is key. Mop up any spillages with kitchen paper, and just like restaurant chefs, wipe around the edge of your plate for final touch-ups. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil to keep things looking glossy. 

Join Nick Grimshaw and three dream celebrity dinner guests at Gousto’s Table for 1 Million on Friday 22nd May at 8pm. Go to for more info