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NAPKIN WRANGLING FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY AND STYLING

January 13, 2019

 

 

Hi there, thanks for stopping by. I am kicking my year off with a post.

Finally, I am going to blog.I am listening. I am not going to say how often as I am new at this and I am not sure as a freelancer how I will integrate it. Yeah, yeah, I know -time management!. But I have made a conscious decision to give this year all I have got and put myself out there, get savvy, collaborate more, focus on some personal projects, do more of what I love and she what comes of it. Sharing with you my world of styling.Putting pen to paper or fingers to keys and passing on all know with some tips and tricks.

A focus this year to create more content, e-books and mentorship programs to support, educate and inspire others on their quest to style and maybe even launch a career. Whilst building a kick arse team of stylists moving forward. Who knows, you may be one. 

Anything is possible ! So enough of my game plan, 

lets wrangle !

One thing to conquer when food styling, is the humble napkin! Don't laugh. It can do your head in ! You have to get this down and quick on set. No art director wants to wait for you to get it right..

 

After years of food and product styling you naturally become one with this beast. A confident napkin wrangler. 

 

In the world of food photography and styling there are the basic purposes that a napkin serves. Correct me if I’m wrong..

 

  1. Assist with composition

  2. Add mood ( and therefore interest ) 

  3. Soften a shot 

  4. Add texture 

  5. Some instances, add movement.. with ripples of fabric. Know that look ? I have added some examples.

If I have lost you already, then subscribe..you will need to start from the beginning. But read on regardless. 

 

 

 

 

 

And while the napkin is generally not the focus of the food shot, or the' hero' as we call the product in question ( unless of course  your product is napkins) you don’t want it to overwhelm the shot with fabric either. If you feel it is distracting from what’s important, then drop it,  BUT note the humble napkin can play a significant supporting role. 

 

Linen is  becoming sort after entertaining element for the family home and is a basic in the  photo stylists kit.

 

There are various ways you can use them.

 

The most common - 

  1. Under the plate (a fold and a tuck ) I have included an image below to show you

  2. Under the cutlery ( which I guess is classic ).It's a formal approach and I generally use this on restaurant shoots

  3. Singularly, on top of a plate ( or a couple on a stack of plates ) 

  4. Seemingly, organic and scrunched up. For some this approach is the most challenging. It also looks the most beautiful. Persist with this. 

  5. And most recently popular, tied in a knot. It is pretty cute. 

 

I’m personally not a fan of the folded napkins of the 80s. Mmmm. No. Put your origami skills aside. No hats or swans. Stay pure. Don’t complicate things too much. 

 

And of course, not all napkins are the same! They come in all different thicknesses, fabrics, patterns, textures and levels of quality. 

 

I always go for quality. Quality always shows. There is no point in aiming for an engaging, stella image or table setting and pulling it down with cheap elements. So don’t go there..save the pennies. ( or hire !). 

 

Soft linen, is obviously more fluid. Thicker napkins, not so much. When it starts to look like a dish towel, then it’s too thick. And therefore your uses in food photography are limited. 

When purchasing napkins, evaluate them. Feel the fabric, observe the texture and note the flexibility. 

Oh, and avoid anything too loud. Attention seeking patterns can be too distracting for the camera and your subject. Unless of course you are styling a dinner table, then go for it! 

 

While I'm writing a whole chapter on the subject, have  e-book in the making ( yes, there is so much more to say , believe it or not )  this in the interim gives you something to play with. I hope enjoyed the read and take something away with you.

 

Remember, the more you do it the more natural and effortless it will become. Trust me. Soon enough you will be doing it with the flick of your wrist. Happy wrangling ! Tag me on your efforts ! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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