Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Food Styling?

I went out to coffee after work with my friend Kathy. We're both in the midst of a career transition/evolution/dreaming phase - she's planning a bit more drastic change than I am, but we're still here to support one another along the way.

For those who don't know me well, I work in a marketing agency the primary product of which is CPG design and production. In other words, we create the packages for a lot of food, hardlines, health and beauty aids and beverages that you might purchase in your local supermarket. I, myself, work as a project manager - co-ordinating with clients to ensure that the work is done to their satisfaction - on time and on budget (sometimes... anyone who works in this industry will know what I mean).

One of the best roles that I play comes when we do a photo shoot in our onsite studio and I get to work with the photographers, the client, the creative director - and most fun of all, the food stylist. I've worked with some of Toronto's top food stylists and photographers - award winners in some cases - and the thing I really liked most was the food styling. I really loved the photography at first, but seeing how the food stylist worked hand in hand with the photographer and the creative director to bring an illustrated vision to life are the most fascinating moments of my job.

So... how does this relate to my transitional state? Well, I'm thinking about a career in food styling. I'm doing some research and I'll be making some calls to see if anyone is taking on an assistant or apprentice. Its not as though I'm expecting heaps of cash for the job straight away, but I know for a fact that the going rate for a top stylist here in Toronto can be well over $800 a day (and the, well, less talented? they're still making $400 - 500 a day). I guess in posting this, I'm wondering if anyone who reads this blog has any kind of experience or advice for someone wanting to get into the industry. Feel free to either comment or send me an email - I'd love to hear from you!


At 4:03 p.m., Anonymous Matt said...

Good luck in your quest! I hope to someday see your art gracing cookbooks and food articles!

At 4:17 p.m., Blogger Eric said...

Thanks Matt! Super appreciated! Its not going to be an overnight thing, but more a gradual transition, I think... I've got a few things to do along the way so keeping fingers crossed by this time next year I'll be able to say that I'm a food stylist, period. Not a food stylish/somethingelse... :-D

At 8:04 p.m., Blogger pat said...

Look at this web page:

It's something I was considering on a part-time basis, because of my love of phood photography :-D

Ya know, with you living so close to where I work, we really otta meet up one night after work... there are few good restaurants in the area. Have you been to Romagna Mia yet? Excellent homemade pasta. How about Toba? Some yummy food there. Montreal Bistro's homemade pate is yummy, and I seem to recall really enjoying their tortiere...

Ah, food.

At 12:14 a.m., Anonymous Jen said...

Hi Eric,

Came upon your site via Apartment Therapy. I really enjoy your posts and the food you've made looks wonderful. My question is in regard to your decision to become a food stylist. Just wondering if you are finding your marketing background/contacts are a big help? I'm just curious as to how one becomes a food stylist- and as an avid Food Network watcher, it's something I think I may be interested in as well. Could you post more about it? or drop me an email?

At 10:44 p.m., Blogger Eric said...

Hi Pat,
Sounds like a good idea - let's talk about dinner sometime! I've not been to either place yet - but I'm hoping that Toba doesn't disappoint. I'm really looking forward to my reservations at Centro and Truffles though, they should be pretty damn good!
Thanks for the link to the George Brown site - its EXACTLY what I was looking for - going to start finding out about it soon.

Hi Jen, and welcome! Always nice to hear from new people! With regards to my marketing contacts being a big help? Heck YES! I've gotten to know quite a few of the top stylists in Toronto, chatted with them about how they got their start in the industry and a few other little tidbits (not to mention that I've got to be on set with them and the food photographers, learning pretty much first hand what goes into a good shot and how the shots are composed. Extremely valuable experience).
I'll definitely be doing a follow up post on here - I'd email more, but I think that its a topic that some people would really like to hear about. Thanks for asking and the kind compliments!



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