RWT styles sandwiches…and a “stylish” giveaway! June 21, 2011

Of all of the different types of food I style, two things are a re-occuring theme in my life: pasta and sandwiches. I can fluff some noodles like nobody’s business and I enjoy working with pasta…but sandwiches really are a love of mine – both to eat and to style. I’ve done them for print photography and televisions commercials – imagine a little kid flying around the kitchen holding a styled sandwich being held together with toothpicks and a prayer – and I really get a kick out of making them. Since I wanted to do another styling post during my birthday week and have a little fun while I was at it, I chose sandwiches as my subject. There’s a lot going on in this post so let’s get to it…

Okay…a few more quick things before we get started:

1) I chose very basic ingredients for this example that would be available to most people and might be common in everyday kitchens. Don’t be fussy because I didn’t do a post on how to make a mushy roasted eggplant panini look good – that’s a different show.

2) All stylists do things differently – we’re like snowflakes. This is my way. That having been said…on most shoots where sandwiches are involved…I have hours to work on a stand-in and then a beauty (called a “hero”) sandwich. I’m also not the one taking the photos as well as styling…so…I’m juggling a lot of pins here. This is about basic techniques you can apply to your recipes. Is this a loose-y goose-y way of styling a sandwich? No. Is this the only way to do it? No. Will you now be expected to make your child’s sandwich look like this? No.

3) I am not eating this turkey once this styling post is done…but my boyfriend will.

Now we’re ready to get started…

When I’ve been fortunate enough to speak about food styling, I always tell people that the styling of a dish starts with the recipe and choosing your ingredients. I don’t think anything demonstrates that like a sandwich. Each component of the sandwich needs to be thought about. In many cases, the ingredients are going raw into the sandwich and not being cooked down into another component…so each item on the sandwich needs to be as photogenic as possible. Pay attention to what you’re buying at the store to compose your sandwich. Buy the reddest tomatoes that are slightly firm – this will help in the even slicing of them. See that spritz on part of the tomato vs. the dry tomato? We’ll be coming back to that later.

There have been times where I have pulled every loaf of bread off of store shelves…and deemed them all too scrunched up and wrinkly to use and asked for flats of it to be brought out from the back. The rub is – a lot of prepackaged bread has labels that cover the parts you really need to see. You’re looking for even distribution of the bitties on top (I prefer darker wheat bread but this all depends on your recipe), a smooth crown and a notch in the side. Just remember – in theory, all you need is two pretty pieces!

Lettuces and greens for sandwiches always do well with a little swim in an ice bath. It shocks them and perks them up so they stay friskier longer. If I know the sandwich might be sitting around for an extended period of time, I try and buy myself some more time with adding a little Fruit Fresh to the water. You might know Fruit Fresh from old-school canning days….but it works well in keeping greens and other veggies from turning brown from oxidation. When buying your lettuce, take a good look at the edges. A nice tight ruffled edge free from brown spots is optimal.

This is a peek at a simple styling tray I keep on set – this is very similar to every other tray on my shoots. I tend to just keep stuff with me that I need in order to keep a space clear to work. Some things to keep handy – some brushes for dusting away crumbs and brushing on a little oil, small scissors from trimming away jagged edges of meat and bread, an exacto knife (in case i need the big guns), tweezers for making adjustments, wooden skewers for holding things in place (you’ll see those in action later), canola oil for adding moisture – it’s edible/won’t poison anyone and it’s colorless unlike olive oil, and windex/glass cleaner in case I need to clean off the edges of a plate. Needless to say, if this is something you’re feeding to anyone on said plate, skip the windex step and just wipe the plate down.

So I’ve chosen my “beauty” breads – they’re well matched in shape, not puckered on the top and have the notch I’m looking for on the side. For things like sandwiches, which may have to be moved around or slid onto the set once you do the initial build, I like to make them on a paper plate or a cutting board. That way, once you’re done fussing with it, you can slide it off into place. I’m also, at this point, deciding from which angle or perspective I’m going to style the sandwich. I’ll make most of the styling decisions based on which direction the sandwich is facing the camera.

One of the most grueling parts of food styling is being on your feet all day and being hunched over a work/prep table. When I have the chance to lift the work space up, I do. Anything like an apple crate, a small cooler, a footstool or a large can will give you another 10-12″ so you’re not killing your back. For the shots in this post, I used a tall glass vase to place my work board on.

Being organized and having your components prepped gives you a huge advantage going into any shot but especially so when dealing with produce that will wilt or brown and meats/proteins that will change color as it sits out. Using a mandoline for your sliced produce eliminates any uneven cuts on tomatoes and cucumbers. For the meat component of my sandwich, I chose a high quality name brand smoked turkey. Having the slightly darker edge on the sliced meat helps give you definition in your folds (which are coming up). As much as I hate to say it, the better the quality of the meat…the tougher it is to work with. Freshly cut turkey or roast beef from your deli doesn’t have as much water content and fillers as the cheaper pre-packaged stuff…so it will tear and break apart more easily than the cheap stuff. You’ll just have to practice working with it and find a brand that makes you happy.

I’d say the main issue with sandwich photos is that the sandwiches tend to look flat and lacking dimension. That’s where the folds come in. This is the fun part, folks. Everyone does theirs differently. I tend to go two ways with mine…and mix it up as I work with the product and get going with the sandwich. One way to approach it is the laid down wavy fold. This is pretty self-explanatory. Just kind of gently lay it on the bread and make a wave. Easier said than done, huh? It takes practice so just be patient.

The other way I go about it is making a cold cut “rosette”. Remember those origami paper fortune tellers from middle school? I always think back to those when I’m making rosettes. You can make the waves and folds as wide or as narrow as you want and the thickness of the folds helps get some height on your sandwich. A few layers of those and you’re rockin’ and rollin’.

Here is a close-up shot of one of these foldy rosettes. The flowery looking thing is deli sliced turkey. The things that look like ham are actually my fingers. Also – if anyone knows a lotion company that would like to be my sponsor, please advise.

Once you get the hang of making the foldy waves, start putting them up front in the area that you’re focusing on as your perspective. This technique is for shooting a whole sandwich. If you cut this sandwich in half, all the wheels are going to come off. I often have to style two individual halves instead of easily cutting one in half. See how there is motion and height going on? We want that.

I like keeping the lid or top piece of bread nearby so I can periodically pop it on just so I can judge the progress and not be surprised by styling the sandwich all the way, topping it and then realizing it’s not working. I’m also trying to visualize the other components of the sandwich on top of the meat. You don’t want the sandwich to be outrageously tall (or maybe you do but just keep it real). Keep in mind the other items you’ll be putting on top of the protein portion.

Despite the angle that I’m shooting the sandwich from, I like to make sure the entire bottom layer is covered. The edge that isn’t showing doesn’t have to be as photogenic as the front but having an even layer helps build an even foundation for all your other ingredients. I should say…that you can absolutely change the order in which you place your ingredients. Want to put your meat rosettes on top of the lettuce? Do it. I’m just doing this as a basic guide so go crazy with your own recipe.

Here is a fun little trick: DIY Swiss Cheese. You certainly do not have to make your sandwich with Swiss cheese. I chose it for this demo so I could show you this trick. When you buy pre-sliced Swiss cheese…sometimes you just don’t have a Swiss cheese “hole” – the thing that really cues to Swiss in your recipe – where you need it. You can easily take a pastry tip (or anything else small and round – teensy cookie cutter? Sure.) and cut out a hole closer to the edge of the cheese. Voila!

I’m starting to get into my build now and here is where the wood skewers become way handy. You can also use toothpicks for this and they’re certainly handier…but sometimes I find they aren’t tall enough – with a skewer, you can cut it to the height you need. They also tend to poke through the top piece of bread way easier than a thicker skewer – the bread tends to just rest on top. You don’t have to keep the skewers in but in the effort of keeping one layer in place as you add another on, it’s a lifesaver. Once you get your build done and feel like your sandwich is solid, remove them if you want. Another given – if you’re serving this to someone, please please please take the wood picks out.

The tomatoes being tethered to the picks allows you to make slight movements with the slices even once things are on top of it. You can also just lean them up against the skewers and they’ll be propped up and not fall off the back of the sandwich. For the lettuce, I just use the front ruffly part and discard the tough, lighter colored end. Don’t worry about seeds and crumbs and such as you start adding on – you’ll have time to brush that stuff off and do final touches at the end.

In this instance, cucumbers could equal pickles or any other sliced veggies you have in your recipes. Using them as another layer to help fill in the gaps between the veg and the bread is a smart move. It’s another small item you can easily tweak instead of making major changes with the meat layer.

Popping the lid back on to take a peek, it’s mostly looking good except for the lean off the back side of the sandwich at the top. The top piece of bread needs to be settled in and smooshed down a bit to look natural and integrated with the rest of the sandwich. We’ve got some gaps in the front which will fix themselves once the back corner is tilted forward.

See how much tilted up that back corner helped? Now once the condiments are on and we do a little gentle smoosh, we’ll be good. It’s got nice height, the waves are good and everything looks pretty balanced.

The traditional slather-it-on-with-a-butter-knife really doesn’t cut it when it comes to your condiments. My preferred method are these awesome squeeze bottles that I get at a local cake supply store (brought to me by my awesome friend/assistant turned fellow stylist Abby) – they have a coupler on them with inter-changeable tips. You can use a very wide tip on this if you are applying a thicker condiment or a thin chutney or the like. You could also apply your condiment or sauce with a brush and do a quick flip of the top bread to put it on. The great thing about these bottles? You can gingerly get the tip of it in there to add more sauce without mussing up the rest of the sandwich.

I just put an initial squeeze on the areas that might show with the bottle. I can always add more later. In the world of food styling, it’s easier to add more than it is to take off. Taking off usually ends up meaning “doing it over”.

Lookie there! It’s looking even…the meat looks awesome….the mustard is showing without being goopy and the produce is still frisky. It’s time for some last looks and any final touches.

A slightly elevated angle but the same turn on the sandwich shows the cheese more on the sandwich. If the cheese is a key component of your recipe then, by all means, pull it out to make it more prominent. It’s up to you as to which elements of your sandwich are most important – those are thing things you should notice first.

For a final shot, I pulled the sandwich off the board, spritzed the lettuce and the tomato (I told you we’d get back to that) and brushed any crumbs off the lettuce and tomatoes. If I was to go back and make any change to the sandwich, I would pull that back cucumber – the one that’s less in focus – around to the front a bit to center it more on the bread. Other than that, I think it looks yummy and I’d eat it. Minus the turkey.

If you’ve made it this far through the epic sandwich styling post, you deserve a reward….and I have one – at least for one lucky reader. To celebrate my birthday week and the fact that I frikkin’ love my job and love sharing it with you all…I’m giving away a styling kit. Not just some brushes….not a bottle of glycerine to paint stuff. A full on styling kit.

You’ll get this Husky (my preferred brand of styling kit bag – they’re really for construction but they’re super tough and travel/fly well) pocketed bag full of the things you’ll need to work on your food photos. There’ll be some spritzers, a few squeeze bottles, some brushes, a set of my beloved extra long tweezers, some browning liquids, some Fruit Fresh, skewers and whatever else I can think of to include between now and Sunday – the value is already somewhere around $100 and I’m still adding. You have until noon on Sunday, June 26th to enter for a chance to win. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Tell me what you learned (or didn’t learn), say hi or Happy Birthday – whatever you want. One winner will be chosen at random and will be packin’ some serious styling heat. Good luck everyone!

UPDATE: My dear friend Helen from Tartelette has thrown in a copy of her awesome new book, Plate to Pixel, for the winnner of the styling kit. It’s a wonderful resource for all things food photography and styling & just makes this giveaway that much sweeter!

WINNER! A winner was chosen at random at 2:30ish today. It chose comment #267, which belonged to Lauren of Celiac Teen. Congrats…and thanks to all that stopped by.



Brit Jun 21, 2011 08:06 pm

I love the tip about the mustard! It looked amazing and it’s such a great tip!

Michael Jun 21, 2011 08:06 pm

I love using tortillas in place of bread–so easy to transport to work for lunch.

Nicole Jun 21, 2011 08:06 pm

Wow, I learned so much I forgot there was going to be a giveaway at the end! My favorite parts were the cheese holes and the application of the mustard. It looks like the perfect sandwich!

Sabrina Modelle Jun 21, 2011 08:06 pm

Happy Birthday Tami! Could you be more awesome? Have cooler tricks? Cuter ham fingers? Notice how you never see mine in my photos. I miss your mug, for reals, and I hope your birthday is the best ever. Guess who’s makin’ sandwiches tonight! XO

Lisa~~ Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Very interesting post, it made me think about how to do better when I post recipe pics.

Snippets of Thyme Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

First things first. Happy Birthday! Everyone needs to have good wishes on their birthdays. Second, I learned so much with this post it makes me giggle. It seemed so easy at first, then I began noticing that it looks easy for many many reasons. Thank you! I would love a job like that too!

Alesya Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to see what you eat! (Of course.) At least post the cake!

LOVED this post. The meat and mustard tips were amazing. You’re such a pro! Thanks Tami.

marla Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

LOVE this post & such a generous giveaway Tami.
Big happy b’day….what did I learn? Lots. I would have smeared the mustard all over the piece of bread and then would have botched up all the other hard work.
I would love these pro tools & stylin’ Husky bag.

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

This was such a helpful post! I am really good at making food taste good but it is hard for me to make it look great in photos. Having 3 boys and a very hungry husband sandwiches are on the menu a lot. I actually learned something from every step. Soaking it all up. I really liked how you used the squeeze bottle for the mustard.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Tami this is a phenomenal post!!! I loved every second! I went to a Real Food Styling and Photography Class with Matt Armendariz/Matt Bites and Adam Pearson in their studio in the LA area and I learned how to build burgers for the camera, make whip cream dollops, and make spaghetti pretty. I also learned the toothpick tricks, the cheese cutting out trick, and lots of squeeze bottles, too.

I love this post and learned tons! Thank you! Like how you JUST rimmed the edge of the sammie w/ mustard, that’s it, and it gave that lovely pop of color.

I would love a chance to win that little food styling kit!

Amanda Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Fascinating reading – thank you. I’m always trying to make my turkey frilly like that instead of just flat in a pile! Happy Birthday!

Jes Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

It’s not just the giveaway, this post rocked my socks! That mustard trick is perfect!

Kate P Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Yum! Happy Birthday, and I say it with much sincerity as it’s my birthday today too!

Haven’t used the toothpicks before but would give that a go for photos (note to self: remove before eating).

Not sure if I count being in Australia but thanks for a really informative post nonetheless! I will link to this from my own blog, if thats ok!

NancyB Jun 21, 2011 09:06 pm

Working through the process step by step, with your thoughts on each, was a big help.

Pilar Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

I met you at the Blog Her Food Atlanta, and since I’m being reading your blog and having fun learning. Thanks and Happy B-day!

Allison Achauer Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

Happy birthday! I especially liked your tips on selecting ingredients – by explaining precisely what to look for you really helped me understand the key aspects of each contributing element. The mustard edging is also super cool!

suzie Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

happy happy birthday!!!
what an incredible post!! this was amazing! i’m sure hours of effort went into making this but i loved it :)
my favourite bit was the idea of asking to inspect loaves of bread to find the perfect two slices…

Kalyn Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

Hi Tami. Hope you have a great birthday. I love your styling posts. (And I usually never enter giveaways but I would love to win this! What a great prize.)

Lynn Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

This was an epic stylin’ post – I liked it though. I’ve always wondered what went into food styling.

Happy Birthday!!!

jessica lynn Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

Wow. That was incredibly informative. So much goes into food styling. Thank you for taking the time to share every step with us!

Sheila D. Wright Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

Happy Birthday Week!!

The use of picks, Fruit Fresh for the lettuce, and the mustard around the edge of the bread are AWESOME tips. Thanks for enlightening us!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table Jun 21, 2011 10:06 pm

This is an awesome post! I love the idea of “frisky” produce. I knew it was hard work but had NO idea how much goes into photog-ing a simple sandwich. Incredible!

Happy Birthday!

the A to your T Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

Awesome, as per. I wonder WHAT SORT OF AMAZING HUMAN BEING gave you your first pastry-tip squeezy.


(and no I didn’t leave a comment just to win the kit, silly)

Vanessa Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

Happy birthday!! Love the tip about the skewers in the sandwich and the mustard around the edges. So simple.

cb Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

I want to eat that sandwich. Right now. Frisky lettuce, non-goopy mustard, holey cheese and all. YUM!

Marvett Smith Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

I’ve learned that it takes a whole lot of thought and preparation to create such beautiful shots!

Redawna Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

What a great post. I am very new to the art of food styling. Very informative.

Espically loves the swiss cheese trick!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

I so enjoyed this entire post! I’m sure I’ll keep coming back to it over and over. Thanks!

Michael Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

HEY. Thanks for the nice detailed post ! OH and happy birthday !

Tracy Grant Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

This was wonderful! I just did an on location shoot where they brought a sand which out to be photographed. I don’t have the tools but I did try several different angles of the sand which.
Then I used my finger to fix the mayo on the side that was uneven. That is the shot my editor chose. I think… no.. I know your styling kit would be a tremendous help to me in the future :) Thank you for this step by step tutorial.

jaclyn Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

first things first: happy, happy birthday, Tami!

what a great and informative post! i loved the bit about DIY swiss cheese! i’m going to have to look into getting some of those small squeeze bottles for condiments; just rimming the edges of the sandwich bread really made that mustard pop!

Heather {WhipperBerry} Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

I LOVE it all and I soooo would love to learn even more. I really need that styling kit!

By the way… It’s my birthday too! We should party together!

Laura Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Have a wonderful birthday week! Beautiful post with great information. I love the use of the cake squeeze bottle to add the mustard :)

Kate@Diethood Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

WOW … all that goes into styling a sandwich… awesome! :) Great post…very informative. Thank you!
Love the rosettes tip.

Kathy - Panini Happy Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

So *that’s* how it’s done! You know I need to study this post, lol. Actually, one of these days I need to have you show me your tricks for photographing grilled sandwiches – a similar, but slightly different beast. Love the mustard trick, I can definitely use that one right away.

Wishing you a very happy birthday, Tami!

Ardala Evans Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Love the mustard squeeze bottle tactic!

Yadi I. Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Good tip about the skewers to hold the layers in place. I hope I win!

Amy Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Wow! Thank you so much for this detailed post. I always pick up so many great tips from you and my food photography has improved ten fold since attending your session at Lavish! in December.

I love the mustard trick as well as the toothpicks and the cheese holes.

A very Happy Birthday to you and thanks again for taking the time to share this with us. You really do have a dream job!



Siri Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

the tip about the mustard sauce is very neat. :-). Lovely photo tutorial Tami and winning that styling kit would make my day for sure.

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday.


andrea in seattle Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

what a great post! I’m a photographer, and I could definitely use some styling tips. Loved the swiss cheese holes and the mustard technique.

Triplescoop Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Wow that was amazing! I didn’t know you applied the mustard on the edges like that. I learned some cool tricks.

Cyn Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Happy Birthday! I just wanted to say that I really enjoy this blog and have made several of the Saturday soup recipes you have posted. Thank you for posting them and sharing your tips on food styling!

clara Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

that sandwich looks fantabulous!

Judy Kaspar Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Hi, Happy Birthday… This was a great article. This is an area I’ve been very interested in since I’m a photographer and would like to get into doing food shots, along with learning more about styling it myself. Thanks for this article.

Kristina Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

First, Happy Birthday!
Wonderful post. Thanks for all the details. I’ve tried photographing a sandwich before and who knew something so simple to make and eat could be so hard to photograph well?

Nelly Rodriguez Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Happy Birthday and I loved this post! I will be definitely be referencing back to it and hope to someday make as pretty a sandwich as you do! Seems like such an awesome giveaway! Thanks!

Nancy Giacolone Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

What a fantastic post! I am going to have to break out the sandwich ingredients this weekend and give it a whirl.

Happy Birthday and thanks forsharing.

Anny Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Wow, all these little tips and tricks. Things I never would have thought of. Plus I would eat that sandwich! thank you.

Katie Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

I always love reading how-to posts. I would love to be able to try to do this, but I am overwhelmed with everything I’d need to start with. This kit is such a great idea!!

Also, I really want a sandwich now. :)

Katarzyna Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

Happy Birthday! Gwiazdki z nieba! :)

Holly Dunning Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing about sandwich styling. I love that you compared folding meat to origami, how great!

CouCou Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Great article and happy birthday!! I don’t know if I can participate in the giveaway as I live in Canada, but I would love to! :-)

MelanieMH Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Okay…this post was genius! Thanks for showing us step by step :) I never would have thought about tethering the tomatoes or ‘making’ your own swiss cheese! All kinds of awesome.

Stephanie @ 52 Kitchen Adventures Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Wow! This was so informative, I learned a ton! Loved seeing every step by step, learned how to make each layer look good and some great tools to use. This was amazing, thank you!

Myrian Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Oh wow, I love this styling tutorial. I’m just getting started photographing food, so this is definitely going to help me.
Thanks so much.

wen Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

looooooove this tip…..xooxoxooxoxox

Ginger G Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

… HBDay! great advice and prize

Jenn Jun 22, 2011 01:06 am

Wow what an amazingly informative post, I’m going to be reading this so many times – such great great styling advice in here, and what a wonderful generous prize! Loved the tip about the mustard, I would never have thought about that!

Dena Lacey Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

A very Happy Birthday week to you Tami! Loved this post and felt like I learned a lot. The turkey rosettes, the crisp lettuce in ice water bath (and Fresh Fruit…who knew?!), and the squeeze bottles of condiments…all lovely and handy knowledge to know for building the picture perfect sandwich! Thanks for the wonderful tips! I can’t wait to try it out!

Paula at Dishing The Divine Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

I’m reading Plate to Pixel now and am *so* inspired by that! I still have a lot to learn and a styling kit sure would be helpful! :) I loved your post. Can’t believe how much time you spend photographing a sandwich. Can’t wait to try the wavy meat bit soon. :)

Clea Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

Well, hi! And Happy Birtyday!

Mairi @ Toast Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

What a fantastic post Tami, illuminating! Learned so much :) The mustard tip is genius! Thanks :)

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

Tami you are awesome! I learned so much from this post. Thank you for sharing such an insight! Happy birthday to you. Hope you have a great year ahead of you :-)

Amy Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

Very cool. This is the first styling post I’ve ever read!

Joanna M. Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

I love the advice about the mustard and squeeze bottle. Also, the swiss cheese was pretty cool too. You would think it’s pretty obvious to make more holes in the cheese, but sometimes it takes someone else giving the advice for it to truly soak in. Thanks for all the tips! :)

Tanvi@SinfullySpicy Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

Tami, I must say that this is one of the best posts I have read on food styling so far.Each one of us our own little tricks- thanks for sharing yours.I like the mustard trick- I would have never thought that way.Thank you & Happy Bday!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Jun 22, 2011 02:06 am

Fantastic post, thank you for sharing your food styling methodology so well. I particularly like your tip about the mustard. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!

Alli Jun 22, 2011 03:06 am

Thanks for the tips, it really shows how much time goes into professional styling and shooting food shots. I will be a little more patient when photographing in future ;0) it’s a never ending learning curve. Have great birthday.

Prerna@IndianSimmer Jun 22, 2011 03:06 am

Wow, that’s really a wonderful post Tami! Got to learn a lot and I am SO using that tooth pick and mustard sauce trick in my photos. Thanks so much for sharing these useful tricks which otherwise are tough to learn unless a stylist like you is kind enough to tell :-)
And wish you a very very Happy Birthday!

Astrid Jun 22, 2011 03:06 am

Hi and first of all: Happy Birthday!!

I am still learning all about food photography and your article helped me a lot to understand more of important things to think of when shooting food. Thank you!

Miranda Nahuysen Jun 22, 2011 03:06 am

The swiss cheese tip makes me smile, great idea! Loved also the mustard tip. It’s always hard to present a sandwich in a stylish way to my customers. I learned lots from this post.
Beautiful pics and love the little steps on the pictures.

Jessica's Dinner Party Jun 22, 2011 03:06 am

What I learned? Everything! So many little details and tips that I never knew. I’m digging the rosette turkey layout.

Lisa {With Style and Grace} Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

What a great post! Thanks for these tips/tricks, super helpful & will definitely be trying this out soon!

Carrie @ poet in the pantry Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

Wow, clearly I’m just throwing things together by comparison. Thanks for the education! (And Happy Birthday!)

Zita Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

Great summering post Tami! I learnt so much from it! Thank you!

berta-el sabor de lo dulce Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

Congratulations!!! Have a great b-day.
I’m astonished at looking the different tips which I’m sure will help me to make it better next time.
Fabulous and sweet kisses

Zita Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

* Happy Birthday! *

Maris(In Good Taste) Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

These are fantastic tips and your photos prove they work

Wiosanna Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

Like my friend said “there is not enough mustard there”

Ainhoa Vega Jun 22, 2011 04:06 am

Loved this post, very informative! And the giveaway, so generous!

Jule Jun 22, 2011 05:06 am

Hiiii :)
Awesome post. Makes pretty photos seem doable!

Raquel Jun 22, 2011 05:06 am

Caray tengo que abrir el traductor en otra pestaña pero con las fotos ya alucino que buen post :)

Dena Jun 22, 2011 06:06 am

Your post showed me how to make something flat come alive. The idea of “fanning” the meat for height and texture was great. And I love the mustard on the edges for color. Great.

Sawsan@chef in disguise Jun 22, 2011 06:06 am

Happy birthday Tami..
That was one amazing post I learned so much..thank you for taking the time to do this post..
I’m really happy I found your blog :)

Frances Jun 22, 2011 06:06 am

Hope your birthday week is wonder filled. Thanks for all the tips on making that sammwich look extremely yummy. Will definitely remember to use the squeeze bottle the next time for the condiments.

Shannon Jun 22, 2011 06:06 am

Happy birthday!! This post was incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for sharing!

jodi Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

edging the bread with mustard? brilliant!! i hope your birthday is fabulous, and thanks for such an informative post:))

Liz Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Awesome giveaway! I love how you used the mustard on the outline of the bread. Genius!


lanzaelizabeth77 at gmail dot com

Stephanie Frey Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

First off, Happy Birthday! It is so generous of you to offer a food styling kit bag. Your article was wonderful. Enjoyed every moment of it. Especially loved the tip for swiss cheese.

Patrick Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Very inspiring post. I’m motivated – and hungry! And Happy Birthday too.

Melissa @Dash of East Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Happy Birthday Tami! I enjoyed reading through and looking at all the photos in this post – okay, I just loved it all… the cheese trick, the wood skewers and the mustard on the edge of the bread. Loved it, loved it! Hoping for more styling posts soon :)

codruta Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Wow! Your job is extraordinary! I never thought it is so difficult to make a perfect looking sandwich! thanx a lot for sharing! and happy birthday!

ps: I’m from Timisoara, Romania… You deliver worldwide your beautiful present?

Julie Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Happy birthday!

kita Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Happy Birthday! This post was wonderful – I clicked over from foodgawker thinking that I would just check and leave but ended up reading the whole thing. The mustard tip is really awesome! Thank you for the post!

bellini Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

I learned so much from this one post on how to stule a sandwich and make it look appealing on the plate, from using toothpicks to prevent it all from crashing in to rimming the bread with mustard. Great tips!

Erika @ The Teenage Taste Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Wow! Not only are you an excellent photographer, you are also an excellent cook and writer! Thanks for sharing your tips. I really appreciate them!

PS – That sandwich looks reallyyyyyy good!

Rochelle Jun 22, 2011 07:06 am

Awesome post and Happy Birthday!

I love the info about how to fold the meat and the idea about the squeeze bottle, which I now need to go look for :D

Sherron Watson Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I love it! I have shot food for 4 years and yes, I am the photographer and the food stylist..LOL I loved the tips, ideas and photos. People think that what we do is simple and easy, well…your, right…it’s hard work, tiring bending over all day and hoping you get it perfect for the client. I would have loved to have found your site a few years ago but I have found it now..Thanks!

Jennifer Fenster Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

Thank you for the great tips. I learned alot!! I am new to styling and photography and love all the tips I can get!

[…] din cauza site-ului runningwithwizers, am comis si eu ceva, de pofta, nu va imaginati ca seamana, nu am chef, timp, aparat si rabdare sa […]

Heather Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

This looks like the perfect sandwich! The lettuce, mustard, and meat tips were great!

Abbie Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I’m a family and children’s photographer but love doing food shots for fun. I had never thought to pin some of the foods in to keep them in place. Probably a “duh” moment for all food photographers but it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Thanks for the tip!!

SMITH BITES Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

first off – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and second . . . the mustard tip, cutting holes in the swiss cheese and making turkey rosettes are awesome tips . . . and third . . . WANT!!!

Janice Kenyon Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

Happy Birthday! ‘Tis my birthday week too and I loved this post. The folds, the cheese, the mustard – all genius and so simple at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

emm Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I’ve never read a styling post on how to make sammies look sexy. Great tips, I love the mustard only around the outside bit :-) Happy Birthday too!

Jane M Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

Oh these pictures make the sandwich mouth watering! Yes indeedy!

Julita Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

Hi. I’m a huge sandwich lover!!! This sandwich looks amazing and I’m sure it extremely tasty :)
Good luck! :)

Kirsty Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

Happy birthday, Tami!!

What an awesome tutorial!! That sandwich looks absolutely divine, I would gladly take a large bite out of it. I love the tip about the wooden skewers, that is so cool and such a great idea.

andy Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

What an awesome post! I’m just starting out with wanting to learn food photography (as a hobby only) and now I’m going to try a sandwich shoot this weekend!

Have a wonderful Birthday!!

Fran Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I love love love the mustard tip!!!! I can’t wait to get home and try this. And I’m going to employ my bottle of toothpicks tonight, Fabulous! This has been such a great help.

Happy birthday and I hope we’ll see more great tutorials like this one.

LyB Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I loved every little tidbit of information in this post! So very well written! Thanks so much for sharing what you love to do with the rest of us. :) Oh, and Happy Birthday!

Moya McAllister Jun 22, 2011 08:06 am

I think the mustard tip is wonderful!

Thanks – great post – great read!

Jasmine Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

Wow, I love this post! It’s packed with good advice and useful tips!
Best bday wishes and cheers from an Italian follower :)

stephchows Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

Amazing post and amazing giveaway! I feel like there is so much to learn with styling no matter how much you think you might know :) Thank you! Great post!

Gabriel Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

Very inspiring, thank you. Happy Birthday!

Lisa Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

Fantastic post! New to your blog, but have bookmarked it to check daily. One of my brother’s girlfriends told him she knew I was a good cook by how I made my sandwiches. Now I know how to make them look good too (minus the picks). Happy birthday and I look forward to more tips and tricks of your trade!

Jenn Tousey Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

I would never have thought to cut more holes in the cheese. That and the mustard tip are great to know!

meg jones Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

gosh, what DIDN’T i learn! i’m an aspiring food photographer and stylist, and i’m attending the international conference this weekend at boston university…i’ve been so incredibly intimidated, and this post makes me feel so much better somehow. the skewers are a brilliant idea – i’ve heard it before but it’s so helpful to see all of the steps in place. i love seeing where you placed the mustard on the bread – it makes much more sense to see it that way, and those squeeze bottles are perfect. but i think my favorite piece of advice is cutting holes in the cheese yourself – i love it!

i can’t tell you how much i appreciate all of the step-by-step advice, especially with accompanying photos. i never win anything but i did want to say happy birthday, and thank you SO much for this!

DessertForTwo Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

What a great post! I loved watching you work :)


Stephanie Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

Love this post! I am new to blogging and photography. I found the tips with the meat rosettes, the mustard, and using the skewers to be really helpful! Oh, and Happy Birthday!

JulieD Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

I love the mustard tip, never knew how it looked so perfect in pictures like yours. Hope you have a happy brithday!

SandeeA Jun 22, 2011 09:06 am

after reading your post no one would include a sandwich in fastfood category xD Very helpful, thank you :)

Renee Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

Sandwiches. Talk about the perfect comfort food. Thanks for sharing your info!

Cecelia Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

Happy Birthday!

I’m going to agree with everyone else and say that one thing I definitely didn’t know before reading this post was the mustard trick. VERY cool. Thanks for sharing!

Maureena Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

I loved this post. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It helped me ti think more about food presentation both in photography and in general cooking.

Marge Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

I leaned so much! Food styling always seems like such a hard task that I’ll never be able to accomplish on my own. I love the part about folding the turkey and the DIY swiss – genius!

Daniel Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

How generous of you sharing these special secret tricks! The fake swiss cheese holes are surely my fav!

Marge Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

I also spelled “learned” wrong. That’s what I get for sneaking to read food blogs at work!

Claire Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

Thanks for the tips…food styling is absolutely facinating to me. Love your work! Happy Birthday!

aishahias Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

You’re amazing! Thanks for the great tips.
Happy birthday! :)

megan @ whatmegansmaking Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

wow, awesome post. No wonder my food doesn’t look very well styled – I’ve been missing so much!

Karly Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

Happy Birthday!

Love that swiss cheese trick! Such a great idea!

Sid's Seapalmcooking Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

I totally needed this tutorial, as you could tell from the pictures on my blog if you look at it. Of course I’m usually rushing out the door or getting ready to put my dish on the table or … So pictures tend to take a backseat. But, I’m always up for learning. And thank you for posting this. Hope you have a great birthday.

Amy Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

OMG! This has me more excited than you know…I can’t wait to try out all your tips! Thank you!!

Tara Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

The mustard tip was great. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to show since it is a different consistency then mayonnaise. Thanks!

Tanya Chan Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

I’ve always wondered about food styling. Sounds like such a fun thing to do! Thank you for the post – a vert fun read :)

Lindsay Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Loved how you’ve broken this seemingly mysterious process down. Such useful tips. And would also love to win this kit!! :)

Andi Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

love the use of squeeze bottles and swiss cheese cheat. and Happy Birthday!

Taylor Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Amazing Post Tami! Thank you so much for sharing your talents!

merry jennifer Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

What a wonderful styling post! I always learn from you, Tami. Seriously.

Happy birthday, friend! Miss you. xo

Deniz K Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Aha this was great! My friends are always telling me to “make me a sandwich”, I’ll be sure not to disappoint after reading this post :)

I loved the tip on folding the meat and the mustard around the edge, I’m sure my sandwiches will be much better looking after this haha

emily Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

happy birthday! love the mustard tip, never would have thought to squeeze it just around the rim. i absolutely love these tutorials.

Ange Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

This was really informative!

Niki Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

I hope you have a lovely birthday! I really enjoyed reading this post.

Lies Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Loved this post- very interesting, I never realized so much went into food styling, but I’m tempted to try myself now!

Lindsay C Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

What a wonderful post! I have been trying to pay more attention to my styling in my food photos, so this post was very helpful. I would love to win the styling kit!

Rachel Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

This is amazing. I work for a magazine company and because we’re kind of low budget we do lots of our photos in-house rather than sending them out, but I know I have a lot of trouble with styling food in particular anyway so this is extremely helpful. I never thought to just have stuff poke out the edge like that or to put holes in cheese to make it look swiss. Thanks so much for the post, I look forward to trying your tips. :) (PS Happy Birthday!)

Erica Tesla Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

The piped-on-the-edge mustard and the Swiss cheese fake-out were news to me. Nice shot! And now I want a sandwich with cucumber slices on it.

katie Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

how is this sandwich so gorgeous?! this was fantastic and i feel like i could do this at home!

athena Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

great, informative post! i give a lot of credit to the stylists who make food look great for the camera. loved all the tips and secrets, especially the DIY swiss cheese idea and use of squeeze bottles. as someone who is hobbying in food photography, this kit would be amazing to own. thank you, and happy birthday!

Sarah Matista Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Happy happy birthday!!
Thank you for this epic post, I’ve never wanted to a) eat a sandwich or b) be a food stylist so badly. I’m a food photographer and I have never been able to get sandwiches to behave for me. So helpful! The DIY Swiss made my day. Hope your birth-week is wonderful!

Jacqui Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Happy birthday! Thank you for such a great post. I am extremely interested in food styling/photography and this really gave some great information. I think my favorite part would have to be the mustard tip. Thanks!

Christy Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Oh! Interesting! The mustard application was neat to learn. The ham folds, as well. I have miles to go…

Naomi Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

I recently started to learn about food photography and styling – and it is not easy!! Your post made me want to get to my kitchen and whip up a turkey sandwich for my blog! Thank you for this incredible post and I am definitely going to be using it for my future posts :)

But more importantly – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope your day is beautiful and joyous and you finally get to eat the food you photograph so well :)

Heidi @ Food Doodles Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

I love this post! So awesome. I love the mustard tip, the folding of the meat, the spritzing tomatoes and lettuce with water, I can’t even list everything I’ve taken away from this post. Thank you so much :D
Happy birthday!

Carolyn Jung Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

So many great tips — from the do-it-yourself Swiss cheese holes to the best way to apply the mustard. Learned a ton! Thanks for this awesome lesson.

Samantha Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Amazing post! Great tips that I can assue you I will be utilizing!

Cinzia Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm

I love the mustard trick!
Awesome post! :)

Judy Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

Looks like a fun job! Thanks for sharing your tips!

Jillian Cupcake Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

Happy Birthday! This post is so helpful! I’m trying to learn about food photography/styling as I start my baking blog. I’m making a lot of bread and I will definitely be using these tips to showcase my breads! I would make great use of the styling kit!

Kaitlyn Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

Happy Birthday! I like the rosette idea, I usually do the other method, but I’ll give it a try!

Kieran Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

It’s always been interesting to me to know what goes into photographing food… cool post! :D

Jon@shoottocook Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

Thanks for the post – is there a trick for controlling the spritz when adding it to the veggies so it doesn’t get on everything? Do you cover up the non-spritzed parts of the sandwich with somewhile while you apply?

Elizabeth Jun 22, 2011 01:06 pm

The mustard idea is simple, but genius!
Going to make a sandwich right after I submit this comment. :)

Mia Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

This was fantastic to read! I learned so much. And it definitely made me want that sandwich! That’s the point, right? Happy Birthday!

Lauren Wyler Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

wow! What a great post and one amazing giveaway! It may sound silly, but prepping your sandwich on a paper plate before moving it to where you will shoot it was a great tip! Saves on all the mess otherwise :)

Lucy@acookandherbooks Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

Happy birthday! And I learned so much, reading this…can’t wait to amaze my kids with deli meat rosettes!

Sue @ All About Food Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

Your post was perfect timing for me. I’m just getting ready to put together a grilled chicken breast sandwich to shoot. I love your mustard tip, as well as spritzing the tomatoes to make them glisten. You must use tiny little spritzer bottles. Thank you so much for all of this great information. I feel better-equipped to build a photogenic sandwich!

anna Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

happy birthday! what a fun talent, thanks for sharing!

ginger and scotch Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

I love the tip about the styling tool box – will have to put one together. thanks!

Beth Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

So pretty. Am definitely going to use your suggestion of keeping the top piece of bread nearby to check the look as the build progresses. That tip might’ve saved me a considerable amount of effort on an occasion or three.

Invaluable information, all of it!

Winnie Jun 22, 2011 02:06 pm

I learned A LOT from this awesome post, and I love how you made the folds with the turkey. ps Happy Birthday Tami ;)

ALESSIA ELYSEE Jun 22, 2011 03:06 pm

Thank you for this fantastic post! I just took a food styling class, and so much of what was covered I also read here :) And definitely got some new pointers from you, so thank you once again. Keep adding more things like that!

Miri Jun 22, 2011 03:06 pm

Happy Birthday!
The sandwich looks so good, it made me really hungry (although I´ve had dinner about 20 Mins ago ;) )

Meghan Jun 22, 2011 03:06 pm

I love the swiss cheese tip! And happy birthday!

Jennifer (Savor) Jun 22, 2011 03:06 pm

Tami, I need to kiss you AND your cute squeeze bottles – this is so dang helpful! If I need to choose one, it has to be the meat folding and mustard squeezing combo. Sorry, cant be limited to one.

Angharad Jun 22, 2011 03:06 pm

I’ll be honest, the condiment thing kind of blew my mind! I’d NEVER have thought of that, I love it! Also, such great reminders to trim, brush away, rearrange, etc. Once the food is done I often just focus on the photography (and some very rudimentary ‘styling’) and forget about touching up the food itself. Super useful, thank you!

Diana Jun 22, 2011 04:06 pm

Such an educating post! I never knew about the cheese trick, it’s always nice to learn something new. What a beautiful sandwich!

kelro Jun 22, 2011 04:06 pm

Thanks, that was very great and of course, you make it look easy. Taking it slow comes across too, which I like. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Go somewhere nice, and relax girl. You’ve earned it!

Lori Jun 22, 2011 05:06 pm

Happy birthday! So many wonderful nuggets of information in this post, especially the condiment application through the squirt bottle and adding a Swiss cheese hole with a pastry tip. Left to my own inexperienced devices, I’ve had to fashion my own styling tools from time to time (like a small syringe from one of my kids’ last go-round of antibiotics). Amazing what you’ll grab in a pinch. Would be nice to have a set up from the master, though!

Miss T Jun 22, 2011 06:06 pm

OMGoodnessh, what I learned! everything! how cool is the mustard trick! and I often use skewers to hold my towering burgers together, but in a sandwich – coooool! and the swiss looking cheese! Hapy birfday too!

Maria Jun 22, 2011 06:06 pm

Great tips! Thanks for sharing. Now I want a sandwich:)

Terri/Love & Confections Jun 22, 2011 06:06 pm

I absolutely love the mustard trick. That is so ingenious! Thank you for all the tips.
Happy Birthday!

Diana Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

Ooooh, I have a little spray bottle like that somewhere but have never thought to use it to spritz my vegetables.

Lili Lemieux Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

Hi ! =)
I’m an artist photographer and i do have a new and growing obsession about food styling ! I’m very happy i found out about you and your blog. I would L♡VE to own this super-fantastic-amazing styling kit !

Thank you so much for sharing such great tips ! Very generous of you. =)

Martha Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

Happy Birthday! And now I want a turkey sandwich….

Lili Lemieux Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

oh and Happy Birthday ! ◕‿◕

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

Awesome tips! Bookmarked for future reference for sure. And a BIG Happy Birthday! :-)

Cate @ Liberal Simplicity Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

I had NO IDEA how much work went into food styling! (Well, I figured it must be more work than I put into MY food styling…) Thank you so much for the tutorial!

Kiran Jun 22, 2011 07:06 pm

Happy Birthday Tami! What a great post. Thanks for sharing some of your food styling techniques. I’ve learn a lot today :)

Priya Jun 22, 2011 09:06 pm

The DIY swiss cheese is brilliant! I would love to take a styling class one day, but this was nearly as helpful.

Christina H Jun 22, 2011 09:06 pm

This was so insightful and helpful! Thanks!

Ms. T Jun 22, 2011 09:06 pm

So cool! I wanna try making a beautiful sandwich now!

pilar v Jun 22, 2011 09:06 pm

thanks for breaking it down. i’m gonna give sandwiches more respect from now on!

barbara Jun 22, 2011 10:06 pm

Great post Tami. Thank you for sharing. The mustard idea is priceless. I’ll be using that.

Happy birthday for Friday. Glad you are enjoying a whole week of celebrations,

Chris Jun 22, 2011 10:06 pm

I always learn something from you…always! And, can I say I will never look at swiss cheese and condiments in a picture the same way again.

No need to include me in the drawing…just wanted to comment. :) See you in a couple of days!

Lisa Jun 22, 2011 10:06 pm

Wow, I love the idea of layering the visual effects!

Vivian Jun 22, 2011 10:06 pm

I learned a lot of things in your great post, but especially liked the Swiss cheese “holes” trick. The squeeze bottles that take couplers look fantastic, will have to find me some of those. The mustard application is also one I’ll be using in my own jobs. Am new to food styling so a kit from a pro would be very welcome ;-).

MikeVFMK Jun 22, 2011 11:06 pm

Hi. Happy Birthday! I actually learned quite a lot and I’m looking forward to taking some of those tips when styling my next post. Best tip? Everything! Thanks.

Nicole/Life's a Batch Jun 22, 2011 11:06 pm

Love the tips! I would never have thought to just put mustard on the tiniest edge of bread – cool!

Michelle Jun 22, 2011 11:06 pm

inspiring post!

Jamielyn@Iheartnaptime Jun 22, 2011 11:06 pm

Awesome post! Thanks so much for the step by step instructions. I had no idea. I need to go get some skewers.. perfect! I would LOVE to win this kit!

Irvin from Eat the Love Jun 23, 2011 12:06 am

That’s all well and good, but my readers need real food that they can eat… I’m just kidding!

I love this blog post. Actually I love all your blog posts, but I especially love it when you do a food styling post! I love the folding and fanning of the turkey and the customized swiss cheese. Genius.

Happy birthday! I am coveting that styling kit. But aren’t you suppose to be GETTING presents for your birthday and not giving them away? Hope you had a good one!

Lisa H. Jun 23, 2011 01:06 am

Happy Birthday….
Love the post… an eye opener is the mustard trick… gotta love it…


Helen buck Jun 23, 2011 02:06 am

I am a big fan of food styling. To me, it’s like a magic.
Happy Birthday!

Memoria Jun 23, 2011 03:06 am

What a great, informative post! Thank you.

Hasmik Jun 23, 2011 05:06 am

I never thought that styling food for photographs was such a serious business, wow.
Need to practice a lot before I can shoot food like you do!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite Jun 23, 2011 06:06 am

Tami, having met you in Atlanta, I am not surprised at your generosity both with the giveaway and with giving away some of your food styling tips. As I was reading this post, I found myself nodding and agreeing with most everything – because of course everything sounds so logical. Thanks for so much practical advice – nice to see some do-able food styling that one might achieve at home with no fancy accessories. Though I *would* like the food styling kit! Happy Birthday – I hope you drink some lovely rosé and eat some fabulous food te celebrate!

Lexi Jun 23, 2011 09:06 am

Just starting to learn about food photography. Thanks for the lesson and Happy Birthday.

Amy Jun 23, 2011 09:06 am

Happy Birthday! Fabulous tips for making a gorgeous sandwich. Thank you for sharing!

Steph Jun 23, 2011 10:06 am

Now I know why food always looks so good in magazines…the work that goes into food styling is amazing! Thank you for sharing your trade secrets, I can’t wait to try them out :)

Celia Jun 23, 2011 11:06 am

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to Tami!!!
Happy Birthday to You!
You are a genius! I wish I could just experiment with food and my camera all day long.

Jenn Jun 23, 2011 12:06 pm

Happy Birthday! I loved reading this post, great tips and an awesome looking sandwich.

Angela Jun 23, 2011 01:06 pm

Amazing post! I find this fascinating to read.

Nicole Jun 23, 2011 01:06 pm

I recently started a food blog, and am just starting to fiddle with food “styling” more than just taking pictures along the way, so I found this post very helpful. Although my blog is more baking focused, and likely won’t be featuring sandwiches anytime soon, the general principles/tips you gave were inspiring.

Susie Bee on Maui Jun 23, 2011 02:06 pm

The clever mustard trick is the top of the list of things I learned! Great post. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

ladywild Jun 23, 2011 02:06 pm

What a fun giveaway. My favorite tip is the folding of the meat. It really makes that sandwich look beautiful.

The Prudent Homemaker Jun 23, 2011 05:06 pm

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays!

I like to make my food beautiful for my family, but you’re right–there’s no way I’d make 8 sandwiches with folded meat like that every day! At my house, it’s all bout making 8 sandwiches as quickly as can be (while all of the children ask if they can have something to eat that ISN’T whatevr I’m making at the moment!)

Cookin' Canuck Jun 23, 2011 05:06 pm

Tami, you rock! You know how much I love your styling posts. Thank you for this. I’m one of those who typically smears the mustard all over the bread and hopes for some attractive, tempting drip to magically appear. Now I know better. And the Swiss cheese hole trick – well, I think I might do that to my Swiss cheese just for fun. Seriously, this was so helpful.
Happy Birthday, Tami. I hope you have a great week!

Allison Jun 23, 2011 09:06 pm

OMG I learned so much. The icy water trick for bringing out the green of the lettuce is HUGE for me. Plus I’d never even heard of Fruit Fresh. Going to look into that. Just the building of the sandwich is so helpful. I’m looking forward to studying this post further.

Thank you for sharing your tips!

Natanya @ Fete & Feast Jun 23, 2011 09:06 pm

Wow, just wow. I am completely blown away by all that I learned in this post. It was all amazingly useful but the information on the styling kit has me wanting to run out right this second to get supplies to make my own. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with us. I know posts like these are tedious to put together – they are much appreciated.

Natanya @ Fete & Feast Jun 23, 2011 09:06 pm

Wow, just wow. I am amazed by the wealth of information here and am inspired to create my own styling kit. I know that posts like these take a lot of time to put together so thank you so very much for taking the time to share your extensive knowledge with us.

Cecilia Jun 23, 2011 10:06 pm

First–Happiest of happies during your birthday week. Next–Loved your tips on making your own swiss cheese, and also that little mustard ridge was genius! And who doesn’t love a meat rosette? Nobody, that’s who! great post. Thanks for sharing this treat during your birthday week. :)

Kim Jun 24, 2011 12:06 am

I just discovered your blog from a friend and am so happy that I did. And on my first visit there’s a contest, to boot! I gotta say, the mustard ring around the bread really blew my mind. I look forward to learning more from you. Happy Birthday!

Rita Jun 24, 2011 12:06 am

Happy Birthday (8~) I love the wavy turkey tip…The sandwich is beautifully irresistable!

Eunice Lee Jun 24, 2011 01:06 am

I LOVE your swiss cheese idea, too cute! Happy Birthday :)

Rita Jun 24, 2011 05:06 am

Happy Birthday! (8~ ) I loved the wavy turkey fold. The sandwich is beautifully irresistable!

Lisa Jun 24, 2011 07:06 am

I’m completely clueless when it comes to food styling, so a food styling kit just might be what the food stylist somewhere inside of me could definitely benefit! BTW, love that you don’t use inedible ingredients to make that sandwich look as amazing as it does!

Pam Jun 24, 2011 10:06 am

I love your styling posts! Well, all of them are wonderful but your step by step instructions and tips are spot on. Another great post from RWT!


Amy | She Wears Many Hats Jun 24, 2011 11:06 am


And I’m hungry for a sandwich too.

paige c Jun 24, 2011 12:06 pm

loved the way you applied the turkey – made for a fantastic looking sandwich!

Kat Jun 24, 2011 12:06 pm

Hi! Thanks for all the tips. I stumbled upon your site because I was searching for tips on styling Christmas Hams. I’m doing this for a company here in the Philippines. Thanks for the tips. Will surely ask a friend to bring home fruit fresh. :) Hope you have a great Birthday!

Stephanie - Wasabimon Jun 24, 2011 04:06 pm

Happy birthday, darlin! I’d love to win this! I just had a birthday too, but I forgot to ask for a lovely styling kit from the birthday fairy. ;)

Dena Jun 24, 2011 05:06 pm

Very cool! I understand how it would take work to make food look so good.

Sally Jun 24, 2011 05:06 pm

Happy Birthday! You’re photos are awesome and i love your step by step styling posts. Do you ever hold classes?

Scott_D Jun 24, 2011 07:06 pm

Wow. Such good tips. I just took a picture of a sandwich a couple of days ago and should have read this first. The condiment tip was my favorite.

Happy Birthday!

Lynx Jun 25, 2011 02:06 am

Happy Birthday!

Gosh! You make food styling seem like such a breeze. You are amazing! I love how you broke down each element so clearly. Thanks for the wonderful tips, especially Fruit Fresh. Now I must try them out for my amateur photo shoots.

Dawn (KitchenTravels) Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

I’ll join the legions who are singing the praises of the mustard tip. Genius! So simple, but it makes the sandwich look so much more appetizing. Thanks for the great tips, and the giveaway. And Happy Birthday! :)

Heather Muse Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

Happy Birthday, Tami! Thanks so much for this post. The step by step nature of the information and the detailed pictures were both very useful!

cara Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

Happy birthday!

Sallie LeBlanc Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

I learned that canola oil does not stain, but olive oil will!

Nichole Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

Seeing how you layer up the sandwhich and how to create different textures and accents was great!

Jeanette Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

Happy Birthday! I hope all your wishes come true. I learned so much from this post so many to pick just one but the mustard trick stands out. Thanks for the posting these tips & tricks.

Robin (Hippo Flambe) Jun 25, 2011 12:06 pm

I love all of your styling posts, I struggle with so many dishes that don’t lend themselves to photos easily. Thanks and Happy Birthday!

Carrie Jun 25, 2011 01:06 pm

Damn you are so amazing! Now I feel as if I need to go make a (NO, style) a sandwich and practice. Thank you SO much for the education. You rock.

Dixie Caviar Jun 25, 2011 01:06 pm

I’ve never craved a sandwich as much as I do right now. Impressive!

shannon Jun 25, 2011 01:06 pm

I LOVED this post – so cool to see the style & photo broken down.

Katy Jun 25, 2011 02:06 pm

I always love your how-to posts and this was no exception! The tricks with the Swiss cheese and the condiment piping were especially insightful. Have a fantastic birthday and thanks for sharing your gift with us!

stoney Jun 25, 2011 03:06 pm

That was great Tami!

Katie Jun 25, 2011 03:06 pm

What a great post! I’ve just gotten into some very amateur food photography and styling, so I really appreciate your tips. Happy birthday!

Deborah Jun 25, 2011 05:06 pm

What a beautiful presentation of such basic items. I have so much to learn from you talented ladies!

Danette Jun 25, 2011 05:06 pm

Wow! I just looked at the sandwich photo and thought it looked great, without even noticing that the turkey had been “rosetted” and that it had a perfect ring of mustard around it. What amazing tricks, thank you!

Deborah Jun 25, 2011 06:06 pm

I LOVED this post. I know I need some help in the styling department and this was super helpful. I loved the tip to use skewers or toothpicks. Genius!

Niki Jun 25, 2011 08:06 pm

That tip about cutting holes in the cheese if there aren’t enough? Genius. I never would have thought about doing that, but now I’ll never have hole-less Swiss again. Thanks!

Martha Jun 25, 2011 08:06 pm

Who would have ” thunk” that making a sandwich could be so complicated?! Looked good enough to eat!

Carlina Jun 26, 2011 01:06 am

The mustard trick is amazing ! Happy B-Day Tami !!

Chantelle Jun 26, 2011 01:06 am

Happy Birthday Tami :) Loved reading this and think it’s fantastic how you kindly share your little styling secrets. It’s so nice to hear how passionate you are about what you do, and it shows.

Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen Jun 26, 2011 09:06 am

I’m new to this world pf photo styling but have been studying Helen’s book like a Bible! What a generous giveaway! :) I think I loved the mustard tip most!

Tracy Jun 26, 2011 09:06 am

I love the toothpick idea. So simple, but so useful for keeping the ingredients from toppling over. The mustard tip is fun, too. Thanks for the giveaway! And Happy Birthday!

Freespiriteater Jun 26, 2011 09:06 am

Thanks for posting. Great advice. I love that its step by step. I will definitely be back for more. I already learned with this post looking forward to reading more, great giveaway =]

Connie Weiss Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

I love how you placed the turkey. Now I’m hungry for a sandwich!

Jewel Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

I hope you had a great birthday! I learn a lot from this tutorial thank you for posting it.

Elaina Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

What a brilliant and informative post! I love how you made your own hole-y swiss cheese :)

Paula thomas Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Wow I learned so much. I mostly learned that styling takes time and patience. But my fav tip was using toothpicks to keep tomatoes in place. They are slippery little buggers.

Paula thomas Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Also a big happy birthday to you! Mine is coming up this week too!

Lesley Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

I’ve really enjoyed reading this, it’s very fascinating. I love food, love to cook and eat, and always want my food to look great on the plate. I especially liked the swiss cheese trick. Thank you for sharing!

Lauren Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Tami, I learn so much from you every time I visit. Having seen your kit, I know that there is so very much more for me to learn. Happy birthday week! I hope it’s been the best one yet :).

Paulette Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

The mustard tip is indeed brilliant! I’m shooting sandwiches of cooked meat next week, so this was not just timely but super informative. Thanks so much. And, more importantly, happy birthday!!

Calantha Elsby Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Wow! What a great giveaway! I learned that getting those meat waves takes talent and patience… and that meat doesn’t just wave naturally and photogenically like that into your sandwich. Great post! Thanks.

Elisabeth Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

There goes the rest of my day… time to play sandwhich-maker! Hope you have a truly delectable birthday.

Michelle Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

What a great post, and such a generous giveaway! Happy Birthday!

christa Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Happy Birthday!! What a generous gift! And Tartelette for her book too! One thing I learned – squeeze the mustard around the edge of the bread, not all over the sandwich like we usually do :)

Jackie Baisa Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

The DIY swiss cheese idea is fabulous! Thanks so much for the tips.

Francina Sanders Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

Wow, Tami. I loved this. And it made me want to make everything I cook look more beautiful. Thank you!

Richard Haber Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

A very detailed and instructive post. I learned that it is a very deliberate effort to get food to look like it is casually assembled! I also learned that I have to add your blog to my RSS feed and follow more closely if my shots are going to even get close to the quality of yours. If you do chose this comment as a winner, please choose another one for the book. I already have a copy and think that someone who doesn’t have one should get it.

Rebecca Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

Thanks for this lovely post, it’s full of useful advice. And happy birthday!

robynski Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

The mustard tip is priceless.

Happy Birthday! thanks for sharing with all of us. :0)

Lizanne Eastwood Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

Interesting tidbit about the higher the quality of meat the more difficult it is to work with….

li Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

loved this!! very instructive. bookmark, check!

kaela Jun 26, 2011 11:06 am

Wow! I’m truly impressed. Had no idea that so much went into a simple sandwich photo. I’m ready to take my sammichs to the next level!

Thanks, and Happy Birthday!

Tom Jun 26, 2011 12:06 pm

Christopher Jun 26, 2011 12:06 pm

Your trick for making Swiss cheese is so simple and genius – loved it!

Kay Jun 26, 2011 12:06 pm

I loved this post. In fact, I first came across your blog searching for styling tips. Thank you.

Mindy Jun 26, 2011 01:06 pm

This is awesome! I’ve been reading Plate to Pixel, and have found Helen’s book extremely helpful. I’m ready to move on to the next level of styling now. Oh, and happy birthday!

Stephanie Horn Jun 26, 2011 02:06 pm


Stephanie Horn Jun 26, 2011 02:06 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND CONGRATS FOR DOING WHAT YOU LOVE AND GETTING PAID FOR IT! I had no idea it was hard to make a sandwich for an add or commercial. I will make rosette turkey for my boyfriend now!

Julie Marie Craig Jun 26, 2011 02:06 pm

Thank you so mu for this post! It was. Great to see how it was styled naturally. Meaning with the addition of toothpicks it was ready to eat! I always felt like since I used only real food in my photos that styling would sometimes be difficult, having been originally to use glue for milk and so on. But this post really helped! Thanks!

M'Lisa Kelley Jun 26, 2011 02:06 pm

So much wisdom here. It took reading this to remember that the way that you may prefer to eat your food is not necessarily the way it comes across in a photograph as delicious.

Kristin Jun 26, 2011 02:06 pm

I’m hoping you’re on the west coast and I’ve still commented on time! I love the tip on squeezing on just a thin border of mustard.

Pat Dit Jun 26, 2011 03:06 pm

I’ve always been curious about food styling, and just got connected to your blog.

Andrea Jun 26, 2011 04:06 pm

Loved your post. I was really pretty clueless of food design until I read it. Happy Birthday! Have a good one.

The Teacher Cooks Jun 26, 2011 06:06 pm

What a great post Tami!

Andrea Dorsey Jun 27, 2011 07:06 pm

What a fantastic tutorial! Awesome!

tracey Jul 1, 2011 10:07 am

I have ALWAYS been interested in food styling,a “fashionista of food”of sorts,this was so very informative and helpful,your work is so on point.very very awesome.

katie o. Jul 1, 2011 01:07 pm

I love this post! And I was just thinking you need to offer a quick class on food styling! I need it something fierce!

Ken Jul 6, 2011 03:07 am

You must have legendary self control. I would’ve eaten the sandwich in the time it takes to prep for these great shots!

[…] I have an entire styling post dedicated to styling layered sandwiches – it’s a long one so be prepared! You can find it here: […]

Corry Garam Aug 12, 2011 06:08 am

Thank you for your great blog. You are so amusing, entertaining and at the same time generously informative. I’m just getting into photography and my blog has a long way to go. With lovely people like yourself around – caring and sharing, there is still hope for me and others like me.

gail@astackofdishes Oct 21, 2011 03:10 pm

LOOOONG past due for your birthday or the give away, but I am a sucker for a birthday wish. Thank you for your extremely informative post. Cheers!

El Oso con Botas Jul 28, 2012 06:07 pm

Thank you very much for sharing your tips of how to style a sandwich. Very very interesting and helpful. Thanks again.

Penny Stames Dec 5, 2012 12:12 pm

Hello Tami,
Recently moved from L.A. and being an all too often out of work Set Decorator back home to Denver.
I’ve been calling some Photographers hoping to get back to styling. One nice guy wants to do a spec shot for Coors with a sandwich.
I’m a great cook but have done a limited amount of food styling so am doing my research. Your post is fantastic! Not only is it a refresher course in creating the king of foods the Sandwich but beautifully photographed and funny! I picked up so many great tips and tricks. How kind and generous of you to make your secrets available like this. The best tip was to use the less expensive meats. I was already thinking I was going to have to spend a fortune on fillings.
To return the favor may I suggest you give Cetaphil moisturizing cream a try. Comes in a 1lb jar and costs practically nothing. It’s my go to since being a Set Dec is hard on the hands too. They may not want to sponsor you but the stuff is bullet proof! Thanks so much for the post and I hope you had a great Birthday. Penny

Bart Nov 25, 2013 01:11 am

Hi! I just found your post and it is great. I am styling cut sandwich today and it will drive me mad I know it already. But anyways just stopped by again and wanted to thank you for the pot tip, a-m-a-z-i-n-g! My back and I are thanking you for this . Simple advice but the best!

Tazeen Jun 12, 2014 03:06 am

doing a sandwich shoot next week and found your article extremely helpful. thanks

Wavinya Apr 27, 2015 06:04 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! You are talented,generous and inspirational. I love the whole article and tomorrow, or later this morning, I have a shoot with a huge sandwich and I really wanted to know how to make it beautifully, and this has helped enormously! I hope you had a fabulous birthday and your new year is going great. The best thing you can use on your hands is pure Shea butter, I will gladly send you some from Kenya as we have access to some world class Shea butter.