Whether you are a veteran chef, photographer etc or novice 'wanna be', this is an essential "must have" for your collection. At nearly 400 pages, this is a comprehensive undertaking that doesn't compromise quality or clarity. Here is why this is a "MUST HAVE" for anyone remotely interested in the culinary arts, food styling, photography or related trends.
1. Comprehensive. As mentioned, this is nearly 400 pages packed FULL of information. There is a balanced blend of photographs and text without one dominating the other. Instead, each enhances the other with ample detail/discussion and pertinent photos. Tone is conversational yet complete providing veteran and novice readers sufficient information to achieve desired results.
2. Beautiful Big Book. Not only is the book 400 pages but it's a large book. This is the hard cover with a clear dust jacket...complete with a "peel away" safety sheeting! Organized for ease of use, no detail is missed. Lovely Headings are bold/brightly colored for quick reference, ample charts/other make for simple comparison, excellent resource/glossary and index section. It is obvious a great deal of care went into the creation of this resource!
3. Content. Of course, any food styling book wouldn't be worth much without superb content and this is where Custer really excels. Tips and excellent information abound...from basic tidbits to in-depth discussion that can only come from years of experience, it's obvious the author is an expert in every sense of the word. I am absolutely smitten by the level of detail - combined with clarity - provided throughout. Chapter highlights include:
-Food Styling Overview
-The Medium is Everything
-Your Food Styling Teammates
-You Got the Job...Now What?
-Prepping the Assignment
-At the Shoot
-The Basics of Propping
-The Basics of Tv & Film Production Work
-The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
-Working with the Food
-The Business of Food Styling
-Beyond Food Styling
-Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
-Reviewing the Last Fifty/sixty years of Food styling and photography
However, within each of the above chapter are numerous sub=sections, tips, pertinent photographs, charts and much more. For example, a seemingly "mundane" topic related to the tools of the trade, we get a quick peak into the kit and set tray. We see actual examples of a simple kit set-up, the set tray, a listed photograph of each individual tool plus tips of the trade that make all the difference in a day to day setting. For example, how do you know which type of rice to cook and when? Find out on page 145!
How do you make a panini look enticing...rather than that big flat floppy thing you create in your own kitchen? Find out on page 207!
What is available when and how do you locate out of season fruits/vegies? Find out on pages 171-173!
This is just a very short sample of the incredible amount of information contained in this book. It is NOT fluff or filler...rather page after page of great information!
For those that are comparing this to the other available options, this wins hands down.
I also own Food Styling for Photographers: A Guide to Creating Your Own Appetizing Art by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee...an excellent resource but not nearly as comprehensive or detailed as this book.
Digital Food Photography by Lou Manna is another book I own/use but it tends to focus much more on the basics of digital photography. Many of the techniques and tricks/tips are duplicates from the comprehensive book "Food Styling" by Delores Custer.
Without a doubt, this is an absolute "must have" that will be used repeatedly. A perfect companion for anyone wanting to enter the field of food styling. It assumes nothing yet provides depth and details to inspire and inform even veteran styling professionals.