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Thread: Food stylist rate part 2

  1. #1

    Default Food stylist rate part 2

    I don't know what happened to my previous post but somehow it has been closed by some strange unknown reason to me.

    Here goes again...

    I am seeking some advise on the basic rates to hire a food stylist and their scope of work.

    My client is looking to publish a recipe book. Beside hiring a food photographer they also requested a food stylist. They wanted the food stylist to help in presenting the food ready for the photographer to shoot.

    There is no requirement to help with the ingredients, cooking and preparation.

    I would appreciate some indication of per hr/half day and full day rate from medium skilled to top stylist. Thank you.

    Also is there a need for set stylist?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Perth Australia
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    Default Re: Food stylist rate part 2

    Hi,

    Food Stylists do the plating up of the food and also select the condiments and quite often the setting for the dish to be photographed. Their job is to make the food more appetising and sensual for the viewer of the photograph by interpreting the aroma of the food and then making that tangible on the image. It's a quite tricky proposition unless you to duplicate what they do unless you have a lot of specialist "food" knowledge. In many cases they will do the ingredient selection and basic prep work to ensure that the food looks it's best, the stylist will also set up the fake smoke / ice effects etc as required. Most stylists are either professional photographers who specialise in food or ex chefs.

    A medium grade food stylist will set you back 1000-2500 USD a day and a top flight stylist from 2,500 to 5-6,000 USD a day. Those figures are also the ballpark figures for the photographers fees.

    There is no need for a set stylist (set dresser) unless you are doing a whole kitchen shot and don't think you are up to making it look up to scratch.

    One other thing, food work is quite a specialist art in itself, it took me quite a few sessions to start to get a real grip on it. I'd be charging the client a lot of dollars for a recepie book if it's got market appeal or dropping the stylist etc for a cheap book.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Food stylist rate part 2

    What if the contributors to the recipe book are experienced chefs from various restaurants and the food stylist has to work with them?

    We know artists are protective of their work (ourselves included). How much involvement can the food stylist has during the process other than applying the final touch/arrangement of the food before the first image is shot?

    It is nice to know that photographers can command similar fees. I know the food stylist are highly trained in the art of food but without a good photographer, the process will not translate into visual art.

    I am preparing the quote to my client. Producing a recipe book is a big project that will take numerous days to complete and it is easy for us to take advantage of it and quote a high fee. We are in a situation where what is considered a high fee, what the client would pay and not drive them away. We can't ask the client what their budget is can we?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Hi,

    Food Stylists do the plating up of the food and also select the condiments and quite often the setting for the dish to be photographed. Their job is to make the food more appetising and sensual for the viewer of the photograph by interpreting the aroma of the food and then making that tangible on the image. It's a quite tricky proposition unless you to duplicate what they do unless you have a lot of specialist "food" knowledge. In many cases they will do the ingredient selection and basic prep work to ensure that the food looks it's best, the stylist will also set up the fake smoke / ice effects etc as required. Most stylists are either professional photographers who specialise in food or ex chefs.

    A medium grade food stylist will set you back 1000-2500 USD a day and a top flight stylist from 2,500 to 5-6,000 USD a day. Those figures are also the ballpark figures for the photographers fees.

    There is no need for a set stylist (set dresser) unless you are doing a whole kitchen shot and don't think you are up to making it look up to scratch.

    One other thing, food work is quite a specialist art in itself, it took me quite a few sessions to start to get a real grip on it. I'd be charging the client a lot of dollars for a recepie book if it's got market appeal or dropping the stylist etc for a cheap book.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Perth Australia
    Posts
    2,548

    Default Re: Food stylist rate part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by dsphotography View Post
    What if the contributors to the recipe book are experienced chefs from various restaurants and the food stylist has to work with them?

    We know artists are protective of their work (ourselves included). How much involvement can the food stylist has during the process other than applying the final touch/arrangement of the food before the first image is shot?

    It is nice to know that photographers can command similar fees. I know the food stylist are highly trained in the art of food but without a good photographer, the process will not translate into visual art.

    I am preparing the quote to my client. Producing a recipe book is a big project that will take numerous days to complete and it is easy for us to take advantage of it and quote a high fee. We are in a situation where what is considered a high fee, what the client would pay and not drive them away. We can't ask the client what their budget is can we?
    Experienced Chefs or not the stylist will usually go and organise the ingredients. What you need to understand (as do the Chefs) is that when you shoot for publication you are not cooking the food to taste good, it's designed to look the best. In general the food ends up filled with highly toxic materials so it's wise to allow for the food to be disposed of via toxic waste disposal methods as ethyl-glycol for example is a common ingredient often used to add a sheen to a dish to make it look more tempting (or to meat to make it look more juicy etc).

    Assuming the job is for a publisher then it's not your job to find a food stylist, that job lies squarely with the art editor for the publisher.

    You'll find it impossible to do an accurate quote for the job until a suitable stylist has been recruited and seen the menu of items to be shot as they will then be able to give you the total time needed to prep the items and that will determine the number of dishes you can shoot each day. You will be surprised at how few dishes that can be per day. One one shoot the stylist went through 8 batches of one dish until we got the perfect look, that took half a day to achieve. Meantime the food was so laced with nasties that it would have been fatal for any human consumption and had to go off to a toxic incenerator afterwards.

    So go talk the art editor and toss the stylist issue back to them where it belongs.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

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