In a creative field, it’s quite alright to color outside of the lines. Defying expectations with a cookie cutter in hand is one way of doing so. Believe it or not, a metal cutout can come in handy outside of working with raw cookie dough. Food styling with cookie cutters can help to shape and separate food components withing the image effortlessly.
What attracts people to a food advertisement, food magazine’s editorial spread, or photograph? More often than you’d think, the subject itself doesn’t play a major role in capturing attention. Rather, it’s the presentation that draws in a crowd. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we crave balance. A cookie cutter can help compartmentalize food colors and textures, making it easier to calculate a “pleasing” composition of the food photograph. Containing an ingredient to a recognizable geometric shape creates visual “pinpoints” that immediately suck the viewer in.
Imagine working with an array of powdered spices. Accents of cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne can accomplish two separate goals. Firstly, they provide context on what a dish may taste like. Secondly, they provide a burst of unexpected color, hooking viewers. However, such fine particles can be sent flying with the smallest sneeze. Without some outside help, it would be practically impossible to prevent the spices from intermingling and spreading every which way across a given platform.
Food styling with cookie cutters can provide a solution. By pouring spices into a round cutter, for instance, you can contain fine powders to a specific perimeter. While this may not provide the most “organic” appearance, a perfect circle of sumac might fit perfectly in a modern or experimental place setting intended to turn heads.
A cutter’s usefulness extends far beyond styling spices. Just about any food that’s got a tendency to stray in every direction can benefit. Mold sticky rice into a cube to create an elegant side for an avant-garde main course. If you choose heat-safe cutters, use them to cook spherical fried eggs atop a hot griddle or even heart shaped pancakes for your client’s Valentines Day Instagram ad.
While you may want to leave the evergreen tree and gingerbread men at home, having a variety of cutters on hand is beneficial. When food styling with cookie cutters, you’ll likely want to stick to ovals, circles, and basic polygons. That being said, don’t be shy to experiment with size. Common shapes like circles or squares are often available in graduated sized sets for under $10 and they shoould be a staple of an each food stylist’s kit.
Restricting your cookie cutters to holiday baking is a mistake. Work outside the box by playing with shapes on your next food photo shoot!