From Styled to Wild: The Shift in Food Photography

Okay, so wild may not be the best word, but 10 years ago, stray herbs or seeds outside a perfectly plated dish would be considered messy. A licked spoon sitting on the rim of a plate would have called for a re-shoot. As a trend I hoped would continue into this year, beautifully imperfect content is here to stay and brands are rethinking how they produce content.

Just look at the two pumpkin tortellini examples below. The first is perfectly styled, but when you look at the next photo by the Berlin-based photographers, Krautkopf, it captures more of narrative. Like a Joseph Cornell box, it calls upon the viewer to spend time with it. One should inspect all the intricacies and subtle accents.

Before, perfectly styled


more raviolis
Now, Photo by Krautkopf


Luckily, there are a select number of food photographers – true artists – whose blogs are changing the industry. They are even prompting brands to not only reconsider how they shoot their products, but now partner with these bloggers to create beautiful content.

Eggs and STUFF
Photo by Local Milk

Top-tier bloggers, like Love & Lemons, are partnering with brands like, Target, French’s and even our own North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission to develop lovely content.


And for most food-lovers here at PadillaCRT’s Food, Beverage and Nutrition practice, the annual release of Saveur’s Best Food Blogs is as exciting as Christmas morning.

The shift in food photography is all subjective. Some will say that today’s photography may not have that taste appeal. For me, there’s an authenticity to this new style that invites you in. Maybe it’s the bread crumbs that remind me of my own kitchen and the mess I create when cooking. It inspires us all – from new home cooks to gourmets – to create your own scene.

For brands, this is where the true value is found. Through sponsored posts many bloggers will be subtle in placing products. Brands are also tapping into the bloggers massive followings. So as they shift from perfectly styled food to what’s actually on the table, brands are starting to acquire more than what was listed on the menu.

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