Take a Bite: 10 Tricks Advertisers Use to Make Food Look Irresistible

We all know the pictures on the packaging of food you buy usually is a lie. It's not how it's going to look when you open it, and it's not going to taste as good as your imagination was telling you it would based on the photo of the package. But it surely works to get people interested and buying one product over the other. How do they do it? This video shares 10 tricks food advertisers use when shooting the images to be used in advertising and packaging. A picture of a piece of bread being broken open, hot and steaming out of the oven, sure looks delicious. Did you know wet cotton wool will steam longer than bread would? Yes, me neither. 

The Tricks

  1. Use wet hot cotton wool when you want something to steam for a longer duration than the product would steam on its own.
  2. Use mashed potatoes to give other foods sturdiness, or even as ice cream. It doesn't melt, so it can be used for as long as you need to. 
  3. Substitute milk with Elmer's Glue when you need to shoot cereals or anything where milk is a feature. It looks thicker and, well, more milky. 
  4. Don't grill the steak. Rather pan fry it, and add the grill marks using shoe polish. Don't eat it though!
  5. Replace your whipped cream on the desserts you need to photograph with shaving cream. It'll remain as is for a lot longer, and is a lot more consistent that whipped cream.
  6. Spray fruits with deodorant to give it that shiny look. 
  7. Add wax when you need to photograph a sauce. It makes the color pop, and gives it more consistency without the separation that usually occurs with sauces.
  8. Cardboard can be used to give cakes the extra sturdiness it needs for the advertising photograph. It's a cheat, but it sure does work. 
  9. Airbrush your chicken to look perfectly cooked.
  10. Spray the pancakes with Scotch-Guard to stop the syrup from being absorbed by the pancakes. This give you more time to shoot. And don't use syrup. Use 10W30 motor oil instead.

These tips are for the guys who want to take their food photography into advertising photography. It's a quick introduction to the way certain foods can be made to look. I knew about the potatoes, but not about any of the other tricks. Do you know any other tricks not shown here?

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9 Comments

I got a severe bout of depression after watching the video.

Simon Patterson's picture

Well it didn't whet my appetite, but it did spark my interest! Fascinating video!

That is true

david squire's picture

Always knew it was fake... now I just know how it's fake. Seriously, my pancakes at iHop never look like the picture. haha... Cool!

Nursultan Tulyakbay's picture

#8 is a cheat? Aren't they all cheats?

Ryan Mense's picture

I think he meant that it isn't as dishonest as the others, but nonetheless it's still a cheat.

Percy Ortiz's picture

im hungry...

Does anyone listen to what he said, "under the hotlights in the studio". There are not many people today that is using hotlights or so called Tungstens they have basically been retired since the eighties and if you do not use flash for stills you are using led, fluorescents or hdmi and then most of this silly advice is out of the room.
This is a very silly and very unrealistic.

Ice cream and whipped cream will still melt at room temperature.