Since regular syrup is usually too clear to show up in photographs, food stylists often use motor oil in its place. If that's not gross enough for you, they also spray the pancakes with Scotch Guard in order to keep the "syrup" from soaking in.
If you're a chicken that's about to be photographed, we have some bad news for you. First of all, you're dead. Secondly, you're going to be stuffed with paper towels and have mashed potatoes injected under your skin to make you look more plump. Then you'll either be painted with shoe polish or sprayed with dye. Finally, you'll be baked for ten minutes. But, hey ”” at least you'll never be eaten!
Food stylists very rarely deal with hot foods as it's too difficult to keep them warm for very long. But what if they need a picture of a steaming hot baked potato? Some food stylists use incense sticks carefully hidden behind the food. Another popular trick is to dunk a tampon in water, microwave it and hide the steaming hygiene product behind the food. Yummy!
Food stylists often add a little bit of dish soap into cups of coffee because soap bubbles last longer than regular coffee bubbles. For drinks like cappuccinos, food stylists use foaming hand soap! On the plus side, doing the dishes after the shoot takes barely any time at all.
To make berries look as though they just came out of a cold refrigerator, food stylists sometimes spray them with aerosol deodorant. They also spritz fruits with glycerin to give the appearance of water droplets.
Hamburgers and other sandwiches are notoriously difficult for photographers to capture. As it turns out, the many-layered sandwiches you see on Scooby Doo just aren't that realistic (unlike most cartoon foods). To keep everything in its place, stylists use toothpicks and pins to hold the layers together. In fact, photographing a hamburger is an intense process. To read more about it, check out this article.
To give the appearance of ketchup actually being on the burger, stylists use an applicator bottle or a syringe to add condiments just around the edges. If they're using a sesame seed bun, chances are high that they meticulously picked out each perfect sesame seed with tweezers and glued them all on top of a plain bun ”” just like you do at home!
Elmer's Glue is often used as a stand-in for milk when photographing a bowl of cereal. Some stylists prefer to use Wildroot Hair Tonic, though. It just depends on which inedible goo you prefer with your cereal.
You know those refreshing splashes you always see coming out of drinks in magazines? Well, as it turns out, those splashes are made out of plastic. You can even rent them for your own fake food photoshoot! These splashes might be fake, but our tears are real.
In fact, you'll rarely see real ice in any form in a magazine photograph. Polysorb crystals are commonly used as a stand-in for shaved ice because they won't melt. They're also commonly used in disposable diapers and shoe inserts.
You can't even trust a bowl of soup anymore! In order to make toppings and garnishes "float" on top of the soup, stylists sometimes create a platform using smaller containers flipped upside down. At least this trick doesn't make the food inedible...