A deodorant makes fruit shiny
Fruit always shines in advertising. No special tools are required — only a deodorant spray to add shine to fruit. Some food stylists also use hairspray.
Engine oil instead of maple syrup
Pancakes absorb real syrup too quickly to photograph, so photographers replace it with engine oil. Another trick is to cover pancakes with a water-repellent spray that creates a protective layer.
Burger patties are colored with shoe polish
Burger patties are almost raw in advertising and are roasted for a few seconds to stay large and juicy. Photographers color them with shoe polish and create grill marks with hot skewers. Watch this video to learn other secrets of fast food advertising.
Glycerin keeps seafood looking fresh
Seafood loses its presentation very quickly. To keep it looking fresh and juicy, photographers treat it with a mixture of water and glycerol.
Glucose syrup for Chinese noodles
It takes a few minutes to cook noodles, but they dry quickly, so advertisers coat the dish with glucose syrup (commonly used for desserts).
Cardboard inside the cake
To keep cakes dry, photographers interlay them with cardboard and fasten them with toothpicks. They use the same trick in sandwich and burger advertising.
Liquid soap creates foam
To take a picture of milk, coffee, or beer, photographers add liquid soap. It creates a stable foam that looks natural and attractive.
Mashed potatoes instead of ice cream
Ice cream melts too quickly under hot studio lights. Therefore, photographers replace it with colored mashed potatoes or a paste of starch, icing sugar, corn syrup, fat, and other components. Here is an example.
Shaving cream instead of whipped cream
Unlike whipped cream, shaving cream doesn’t melt, and this is exactly what photographers need. They just need to keep reminding the actors that the "dessert" isn’t real.
Plastic ice cubes
Ice melts very quickly under lighting equipment, so photographers use plastic cubes in soft drinks. By the way, you can freeze the cubes and use them in real life.
Glue instead of milk
Cereal quickly soaks in milk and sinks to the bottom. If you want to photograph it, replace the milk with white glue. The cereal will remain on the surface and keep its original form.
Sparkling drinks with antacids
Bubbles of carbon dioxide in soft drinks disappear quickly. Therefore, photographers add heartburn antacids. The mixing of sparkling water and antacids causes a chemical reaction of neutralization, and bubbles reappear.
Chicken is stuffed with paper towels
Chicken in advertising is never cooked on the grill. It is subjected to a minimal heat treatment and then painted. To add volume, photographers stuff it with paper towels and sew it.
Sauces are prepared with wax
To create the perfect consistency, photographers add melted wax of different colors into sauces.
Steam is artificial
Steaming food in advertising looks so appetizing. In truth, it isn’t even hot. Besides Photoshop, photographers have other ways to create steam:
A steamer — they pass it over the food a few times to make it "smoke";
Cotton balls — photographers moisten them and put them into a microwave. Then they place them inside a dish, creating a few minutes of steam for the photographers;
A special device to simulate steam.
Watch this video to learn more. Who would think that shooting a baked potato was an art?!