Photography Tip: Food Styling

There are a ton of blog posts out there on food photography and food styling but this post from Digital Photography School is one of the best around. Food styling can be tricky and can really enhance a photograph or completely ruin it if done poorly. Check out this great post and then grab one of our many available food assignments. Good luck!


Featured Photographer: Jessie Cowan

Location: Los Angeles
Job: Photographer 

I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…enjoying the sunshine at the park, running after my three year old son with my newborn strapped on me in her carrier. She loves the ride.

My favorite photographer is…so hard to choose just one but I have fallen in love with the newly discovered B&W street portraits by Vivian Maier.

This one time I was taking a photograph and…I had decided to shoot a picnic on the beach. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Moments after getting everything situated I turn around (after struggling with sand, wind and my hyper 3 year old jumping on everything) only to see 30+ seagulls attacking my food props. It was a scene right out of finding Nemo… “mine.”

I couldn’t make it through the day without…my double espresso, and smiles from my kids

Film or Digital? I adore film but I have to say I have embraced digital and my patience and budget thank me.

Photo Tip: Digital Noise & Compression Artifacting

By Christina Domingues 

2 common issues that photographers face are digital “noise” and compression artifacting. These are both negative side effects that one can experience with digital photography.

What is Compression Artifacting?

Compression artifacts or artifacting is what happens when there is missing digital information in an image. This can be caused by

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Featured Photographer: Adrian Gonzalez de la Peña

Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Job: Photographer

I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me… Traveling and writing stories.

My favorite photographer is… Gaby Herbstein.

This one time I was taking a photograph and… slipped into the Venice canal (Italy).

I couldn’t make it through the day without… a cup of coffee in the morning.

Digital or Film… Digital, for practicality and cost. However, film will always have that “nostalgic” perspective of photography.

Photography Tip: Who, What, Where — Part Three


By: Jennifer Dorn

In the past I’ve asked that you contemplate the ‘what’ and the ‘where.’ For my third post I’d like to round things out and contemplate the ‘who’.

Casting is such an important part of the assignment, even if you’re just dealing with somebody’s hands and hair. Choosing the right model is crucial to success. For most of the assignments the ideal candidate is someone who practically disappears and is not distracting. Remember: it’s the action they’re engaged in that is the focus of the assignment, not the person.

I humbly request that you please take the time to read the article you’re shooting. Does your model fit the bill? Are they the right age, description, have the right ‘stuff,’ and represent what you are being asked to illustrate (pregnant, athletic, correct build, appropriate hair style)? Once you have that right person, then it’s time to get them camera ready. Please note certain characteristics about specific people that make them unique can be distracting to the article—tattoos, ornate manicures (or a lack of a proper manicure) are all things that can really detract from the focus of the assignment.

Casting and wardrobe also go hand in hand, we really want to remind you that unless the situation calls for it please style your models in plain clothing, without logos or branding. Freshly laundered garments, a neat presentation, and as little jewelry as possible is not only in the guidelines, it’s aesthetically less distracting. Rule of thumb: If the situation doesn’t call for it, simple = better. These extra steps that really don’t cost any extra to accomplish will help your work tremendously.

We realize that you might not have unlimited access to people to photograph, but there are a lot of things mentioned above that can help you decide if you have the right resources to complete an assignment, how to make the most of what you do have, and guide you to keeping the focus on the ideas and your end results.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the Studio guidelines. Photo editors can click here for their guidelines.

Photograph by Richard Ellgen/Demand Media

Meet the Team: Chloe Millar

Get to know a member of the team working behind the scenes at DMS!


Title: Photo Editor
Location: Santa Monica, CA

I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working you can find me…on a beach somewhere, or outside. The Brit in me loves the sunshine here in Los Angeles, though I’m always fearful I’ll never see it again when it dips behind the occasional cloud!

Who is your favorite photographer? I’m loyal, so I’d definitely have to go with Shannon Livingston. Not only is she a close personal friend, she and I actually grew up together. I love all her work, especially the moments she’s able to create and the way she creates them!

What is your favorite food? If its not too spicy I will literally eat anything, but I definitely suffer from “Hanger.”

Digital -or- Film? I do love film for its unique attributes and they way it can be developed—but who doesn’t like the ability to turn a digital camera around and instantly get rid of the ‘terrible’ shots you used to have to wait weeks for?

I couldn’t make it through the day without…eating, and my phone!