15 Incredible Tricks Advertisers Use To Make Food Photos Look Yummier

Things aren't always what they seem, especially in the world of food advertising! Here are 15 tricks photographers use to make food look even tastier... though I'm not sure I'll ever look at a picture of pancakes the same way again.

1. Deodorant Shine

Fruit is always shiny in ads, and it's all thanks to a coat of deodorant spray (or hair spray).

2. Engine Oil vs. Maple Syrup

As wonderful as maple syrup is, it absorbs into pancakes too quickly. So, photographers use engine oil. Sometimes, they also use a water-repellant spray on the pancakes to keep them from getting too absorbent.

3. Shoe Polish Burgers

Burger patties are left mostly raw for ads, as cooking would reduce the plumpness of the meat. They're simply roasted for a few seconds and then colored up with shoe polish. Grill marks are made using hot skewers. Watch this video to learn more.

4. Glycerin Keeps Seafood Fresh

Seafood only stays presentable for a short while by itself, so photographers use glycol syrup and water to keep it looking juicy.

5. Syrup-Coated Noodles

Noodles dry out pretty quickly, so advertisers coat them in glucose syrup to add shine.

6. Cardboard Inside Cakes

Using cardboard in between layers of cake helps keep the cake dry and stable for longer. This is also used with burgers and sandwiches.


7. Liquid Soap Makes Perfect Foam

To get the best, most luscious head of foam on any beverage, photographers use dish soap since the foam from it is stable, long-lasting, and looks naturally attractive.

8. Mashed Potato Ice Cream

Ice cream has a tendency to melt and drip everywhere, so photographers prefer to use mashed potatoes or a paste made of starch, icing sugar, corn syrup, and fat. Check out this video to see more.

9. Whipped Shaving Cream

Whipped cream melts, while shaving cream stays "puffy" to create the ideal-looking dessert photos.

10. Plastic Ice

Since real ice melts too fast under lighting equipment, advertisers use plastic cubes instead. By the way, these cubes can actually be frozen and used to make drinks cold, so it's not a total sham.

11. Glue vs. Milk

Cereal will soak up milk too fast and start to sink to the bottom of the bowl. To get that perfectly picturesque bowl of Wheaties, photographers replace milk with glue. 

12. Bubbly Drinks Made With Antacids

Because the carbon dioxide bubbles disappear too fast, photographers add antacid tablets to the soda to give it a bit more fizz.


13. "Stuffed" Chicken

Chickens in ads are never fully cooked. They're merely given a quick treatment of heat on the outside, supplemented with paint. The body is stuffed with paper towels and sewn up to seem more plump.

14. Wax Sauces

To get the perfect consistency, photographers sometimes add melted wax to a sauce.

15. Fake Steam

Steam always makes food look extra appetizing, as we can almost smell the aroma and picture that dish piping hot and ready to eat. Often, however, the food in question is barely even warm. Photographers use a number of tricks to create steam (besides Photoshop):

  • They can use a steamer to pass steam over the food a few time to make it "smoky."
  • Moist cotton balls that have been microwaved will produce steam for several minutes.
  • They can use a device specifically made to simulate steam.

Check out this video to see more.

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H/T: Bright Side

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