+
upworthy
Internet

Food stylist reveals her best tricks for getting mouthwatering photos

From smooth, delicious ice cream to Instagram-worthy eggs, Diana Jeffra dishes on all the secrets behind food photography.

food styling, food, milkshake, ice cream, food styling tips
Representative Images from Canva

Who knew there was so much craft behind a photo of a milkshake?

Has this ever happened to you? You’re minding your own business, when suddenly an ad for food pops up. A perfectly stacked burger with nary a sesame seed out of place…fries the color of the sun at summertime…a milkshake so impossibly frothy you don’t know whether to sip it or slather it on your body…you had only eaten lunch an hour ago, but now, as if by magic, you’re starving again.

Of course, when you finally do make it through the fast food window, your order looks nothing like that dreamy photograph. Many of us know that this expectation-vs-reality moment is because an entire team of creatives work together to create the image that sold you the idea of the food.

In other words, it’s an art form. And if there’s any doubt of that, just watch a food stylist at work.


Food stylist and recipe developer Diana Jeffra has wowed over 18 million people on TikTok with her video of what appears to be delicious cookies n’ cream ice cream, which actually contains no ice cream at all.

In the video, Jeffra explains that the faux ice cream was created to appear in the background of a photo for an ice cream sandwich company. Which in turn meant that the product would have it last a couple of hours without melting.

Though she does use non-food products on occasion to get the look she wants, Jeffra tries to stick to the real deal. So for this recipe, she whips together a combination of frosting and powdered sugar, adding in additional scoops of the latter ingredient until she reaches her desired texture, after which she kneads in Oreo bits.

And voila, smooth, mouthwatering “ice cream.” And it’s still edible, so win win!

@culina_creative How to make fake cookies and cream ice cream for photography. #foodstylingsecrets #foodstylingtipsandtricks #foodstylingvideo #foodphotographyandstyling #foodstylist #foodstylingtips #fakeicecream #foodstylinghacks #foodstylingtiktok ♬ Live Your Beautiful Life - Gray Griggs

Also, an interesting caveat: Jeffra mentioned that this image would not be used on the product’s packaging, and therefore it’s “not considered false advertising.”

She also mentioned that since food stylist can be a hard business to break into, she wanted to give others some helpful tips on the creative side, hence her behind-the-scenes videos which on more than one occasion have been called “fascinating” by viewers.

Take this video for instance, which has 445,000 views, where Jeffra shows how to create perfectly photogenic eggs.

@culina_creative How to food style eggs for food photography. #foodstylingtips #foodstylingvideo #drippyeggs #foodstylingsecrets #foodstylingandphotography #foodstylingtipsandtricks #eggphotography #foodstyling ♬ Souvenir De Paris - Martin Taylor

If Jeffra is creating eggs that will show by themselves—i.e, on a plate next to bacon or pancakes—she drops the whites into a pan with oil, then drops the yolk into the center. But if the eggs are supposed to go on a sandwich, she might place the yoke further on the edge so that it’s visible. She might even use a pipette to give the sandwich that delectable “egg drip.”

“Food styling is all about controlling the food to get it to look a specific way for the camera, “ she says in the clip.

Or this one of a milkshake, which has nearly 2 million views.

“I know it looks delicious, but trust me, it’s not,” she says, revealing that what you see is actually a cup of mashed potatoes in a very glamorous disguise.

@culina_creative Food styling a fake milkshake for food photography. #foodstylingtipsandtricks #foodstylingtips #foodstylingsecrets #milkshake #foodphotographyandstyling #foodstylingandphotography #foodstylist #fakeicecream ♬ Souvenir De Paris - Martin Taylor

Jeffra apparently takes instant mashed potatoes, adds chocolate syrup, and whisks in water until she gets her desired texture (because, again, texture matters with ice cream). She then transfers the mixture to a cup, and tops it with whipped cream, aka “white chocolate pudding mix and cream.”

Once the milkshake is placed on set, Jeffra sprays it with a glycerin-water mixture to “make the cup look cold.” Talk about insider secrets.

And if you’re thinking, “I could get down with some chocolate potatoes,” you’re in good company with folks in the comments section.

Or how about this: ever wondered how they get non-melting ice for fancy drinks? Sure, you can order some pretty uniform ones, but in this video, Jeffra shows how she makes them herself:

Even this simple trick for how to get a perfectly unwrapped candy bar is so so cool:

@culina_creative How to style a candy bar in its packaging with @Kate Grewal #foodstylingandphotography #foodstylingtips #foodstylingtiktok #candyphotoshoot #foodphototips #foodstylist #foodstylinghacks #lifeofafoodstylist ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version - Andy Morris

Food styling really is a unique blend of art and science. There’s a need for precision and attention to detail, a willingness to think outside the box, probably a healthy dose of perfectionism and of course, a good eye. Kudos to the folks who can do it, even if your work leaves us with some uncontrollable cravings.

By the way, if you’re hoping to get into food styling yourself, Jeffra swore by a book titled "The Food Stylist's Handbook" by Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan in her interview with Good Morning America.

Plus, you can follow Jeffra on TikTok for even more amazing insider tips. Or check out her website: www.culinacreative.com.

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


Health

Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Father takes daughter's bullying victim on a shopping trip to teach her a lesson

When Randy Smalls of South Carolina discovered that his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup, he took swift action.

Randy Smalls of South Carolina

Bullying is a huge problem. According to DoSomething.org, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 in the United States are bullied during the school year, and approximately 160,000 teens have skipped school because of bullying.

So when Randy Smalls of South Carolina discovered that his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup, he took swift action.

Smalls instantly felt sympathy for Ryan Reese, a seventh-grader at Berkeley Middle School, having been bullied in his youth. So he took money meant for his daughter and went on a shopping spree with Ryan to get some new clothes and a makeover.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.




Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.

Keep ReadingShow less


Asexuality is often misunderstood.

In general, it's believed to be the absence of any romantic interest, but asexual identity actually means that a person is not sexually attracted to anyone. Romantic feelings and the strength of those feelings can vary from person to person.

Currently, about 1% of adults have no interest in sex, though some experts believe that number could be higher. For a long time, information on asexuality was limited, but researchers recently have found information that gives us more knowledge about asexuality.

Being asexual can be tough, though — just ask the artists from Empathize This.

To demonstrate, they put together a comic on asexuality, defining it as a sexual orientation, not a dysfunction:

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A study has been following 'gifted' kids for 45 years. Here's what we've learned.

Some of what we used to think about gifted kids turned out to be wrong.


What can we learn from letting seventh graders take the SAT?

In the 1960s, psychologist Julian Stanley realized that if you took the best-testing seventh graders from around the country and gave them standard college entry exams, those kids would score, on average, about as well as the typical college-bound high school senior.

However, the seventh graders who scored as well or better than high schoolers, Stanley found, had off-the-charts aptitude in quantitative, logical, and spatial reasoning.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Hunger 4 Words / Instagram

Christina Hunger, 26, is a speech-language pathologist in San Diego, California who believes that "everyone deserves a voice."

Hunger works with one- and two-year-old children, many of which use adaptive devices to communicate. So she wondered what would happen if she taught her two-month-old puppy, a Catahoula/Blue Heeler named Stella, to do the same.

"If dogs can understand words we say to them, shouldn't they be able to say words to us? Can dogs use AAC to communicate with humans?" she wondered.

Keep ReadingShow less