Food Styling Tip: Bulking Up Chili

By | 2016-12-18T17:01:15+00:00 October 19th, 2010|3 Comments

Here’s a quick tip for when you’re photographing a bowl of chili, beans, or any type of real chunky stew: you really want to add some bulk to the bowl so your food doesn’t sit too flat. I’ve written about this before with pasta (link here) but you don’t always need to use a piece of styrofoam to add that bulk. That stuff can get expensive and I only use it when necessary.

So, for this shot I just took a separate smaller bowl and turned it upside-down. This allowed the chili to pile up on top of the small bowl and give it a plump, appealing look in the final image. I also did some of the same shot with a smaller bowl, so I just took a paper cup and cut it down about half-way, then I turned it upside down to get the same effect.

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.


  1. Don October 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Excellent tip, I will be sure to make use of this one.


  2. Melanie October 21, 2010 at 6:21 am - Reply

    This is a great tip! When I’m photographing bento boxes, I usually add some lettuce or curly leaf parsley underneath the food to give it a boost and get the right shot.

    Also- that chili looks delicious!

  3. Nicolesy » Panini with Studio Lights October 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    […] to start using lights when photographing food. (This setup is identical to the setup used for a photo of chili I recently posted here on my […]

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