Difference Between Commercial & Editorial Styling

December 22, 2016

As we all know food styling is all about dressing food for the camera so that it looks appealing to the eye, but have you ever thought of how the execution varies from one application to the other? Such applications may include styling for packaging, advertising, editorial or TV Commercials for that matter. 


Photographs shot for editorial purpose have to be matched with the articles or content in the magazines, recipe books, etc. It focuses more on the beauty and overall look of the picture for it to stand out; whereas when it comes to shooting for advertising, the shots are pre-decided. The concept is developed by the advertising agencies or the creative team. Everything has to look perfect. 




The stylist has to follow the vision of the creative brief on a commercial project while in editorial the stylist draws for her experience with food to build a story through the texture, colour, volume and many such elements of design.


In editorial styling, one can be as creative as they want. It provides more freedom to the stylist to play with props, lighting and the backgrounds as compared to styling for advertising shots. There is no limit to creativity. In the end, the picture should look attractive. The photographer and the stylist work together as a team to create pictures appealing to the senses.




The photographer has more freedom to play with the lighting when it come to shooting for magazines, recipe books, newspaper articles, etc. On the other hand; in commercial advertising, food is the main hero of the picture. The food/product should stand out more than the background and props in the picture. 




Another difference between advertising and editorial styling/ photography is that the former is used for promotional purposes. The motive here is to use those images for brochures, menu cards, billboards and other kinds of sales material. The main objective of editorial image is to capture the mind of the reader with the recipe or article and the picture along with it. Main purpose is to be able to create a story for the readers.




The photographer and the stylist have creative liberty on editorial projects because most often the food needs to look real. The feel of handmade is celebrated in such visuals so a little spill of flour here or a drop of curry there is not cleaned up. The environment created is more realistic than the clinically clean and perfectly shaped food for commercial advertising.



So next time you try your hand at food styling do keep these pointers handy. Stay tuned for more such tips.


Happy Styling! 

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