Because food photographers sometimes use ingredients you would not really want to be consuming. Like WD40. Shampoo. Hairspray. Glue. Marbles. Soap. Incense sticks. Cardboard. Shoe polish. Take this shot of a seemingly moist, juicy, just-out-of-the-oven turkey, for instance. Would your appetite still hold up if you knew the bird was mostly raw inside and had been full of wet paper towels (so it would steam), and brushed with dish soap? Some photographers may additionally use shoe polish or wood stain to get the effect they want. Or how about this soup with a consistency so thick and even that the asparagus floats perfectly on top? Turns out the photographer had to use a bit little bit of help.  There’s something very appealing about this photograph of strawberries in a basket. Chances are, though, there was lipstick used to make sure there are no white spots on any of the fruit. There’s loads of trickery prone to have been used on this one from a stock photo website… That ice? Plastic. The frosting on the glass? Deodorant or hair spray. The fizz inside? An antacid tablet dropped in. The wooden table? A vinyl sheet with a table-top print. The good thing about food photography is that it really is pretty accessible to non-professionals. Food is something you consume on daily basis (so no shortage of subjects), it does not require travel, and it doesn’t require people to sign model releases. You may make do with accessories you will have at home (plates, silverware, napkins); all you need is an appetizing-looking dish and access to good, natural light. When you do need to step it up a notch and pick up some accessories, a few of these might help: A light tent kit. The one pictured here goes for around $100, but I’ve seen smaller ones for as little as $30. Or pick up a couple of pieces of inexpensive white foam board and use it near a window to add reflected light for more interest.
Table-top backdrops. Around $20 for vinyl backdrop sheets, or look around and find some real wood without spending a dime in your neighbourhood.
Fake Ice Cubes. These are acrylic and go for around $10 for 20 pieces on Amazon.
Dulling spray. Use it on silverware or anything that is too shiny to forestall unwanted reflections and hot-spots. About $14 for a can on Amazon.
Finally, some resources you might find useful: 13+ Secrets a Food Stylist Won’t Tell you
Food Styling Tips and Tricks
Food Props and Styling Resources for Photographers
Random Things You should use to Make Food Photos More Appealing
10 Strange Food Photography Tools and Tricks
Footnotes  WD-40 and microwaved tampons: secrets of food photography revealed  Food Styling Tips and Tricks This question originally appeared on Quora. – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You possibly can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: Photography: What are essentially the most amazing photos you’ve gotten ever taken?
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