Making Mexican Foods Look Great through Trick Photography

There is a strong correlation between how we view food and therefore our choice to eat it. That has since been the concept on which fast food companies woo their customers. The first step – make them look yummy in posters and advertisements that reach customer homes through TV commercials, magazines and the likes. Then, its all easy work from there.

In that respect, food photography plays an important role in how certain foods are made to look their best. A perfect example is Mexican fast food. We all love to stuff our mouth with them yummy enchilada and tacos. However, you would be surprised to know the amount of work that goes into getting the right pictures of these foods. So, how do the photographers pull it off? Here’s the answer.


Mexican foods aren’t always that photogenic but then not everything that tastes good has to look good right? However, when enchiladas are concerned, the sauce that bleeds over the beans isn’t very pleasant to look at in a photograph. Another problem that’s faced with enchiladas is their fullness.

So, in order to cover for these physical aspects, certain modifications are brought into the whole setup. First off, the fullness aspect is produced by filling the enchiladas with mashed potatoes. The reason instant mashed potatoes are chosen is because it is easy to make at the set and easier to mold. Then once the middle is stuffed with mashed potatoes, veggies and meat are added to the sides to give the perception of fullness.

For added effect, cheese on the enchiladas is melted perfectly on the top by using a heat gun. The final result produces some of the most mouthwatering pictures of enchiladas thereby doing full albeit slightly deceived justice to the Mexican fast food.


Look at the pictures of tacos, and you’ll immediately notice the shells beautifully opened up to expose all that filling brimming to come out. In real life, tacos are perhaps the most delicious mess. So, the first responsibility for a food photographer is to infuse some presentable attributes into the visual representation of the fast food.

In order to keep the shells open, the tortillas are placed together using glue and cosmetic sponges are added behind the meat to produce the opening in the shell. As for the meat, they are supposed to look dark and juicy, for that reason, food photographers often spray some WD-40 to produce that glistening effect in the beef. Yet another trick is to add colorfully radiant vegetable slices like tomato and yellow capsicum and corn syrup added over the beans to produce the fresh and moist look.

How Beverage And Dessert Are Made To Look Good In Photos

Its true that our perception of what a quality cup of coffee, or that chilled glass of beer and beverages look like is mainly influenced by the pictures that we have been used to for so long a time. But, if you were to ask a professional photographer, then he or she would tell you how hard it is to reproduce that perfect balance of color in the beverage.


First off, its hard to work with black coffee since they give off an oily sheen. Furthermore, with cappuccino and latte, the froth quickly disappears and therefore it becomes hard to get those perfect shots in such a small period of time.

The coffee look is reproduced by using a solution of water, gelatin and browning sauce to afford that smoothness. Other times, cream and gravy browners have been used for effect. To create the foam, stylists often depend on using soapy water around the perimeter of the glass by using an eye-dropper.


Typically, no alcohol is used in any of the still photos that you see of the many alcoholic products. For cocktails, the color is generated by food coloring agents, whereas the other visual cues such froth, ice and fizz are produced by employing different tricks.

For instance, with margaritas, stylists rely on gelatin and ice powder to create the crushed ice look when mixed in the drink. Sometimes, acrylic ice or fake ice is used in the drink because real ice melts real quick under the effect of photography lights. Also, Vaseline is used on the rim to give margaritas their innate look.

For the frosted glass look for beer, photo experts depend on spray-on deodorant mixed with glycerin and Scotchguard on the glass to create those beads of condensation that glisten against the camera lights. And that is how the icy cold frosted look that you see of your favorite beer in a photograph is produced.

Ice Cream, Milkshake And Whipped Cream

Working with ice-cream for a food photographer is akin to working with a diva for a fashion photographer. The first problem with ice-cream is that its hard to mold, and to top it all, if the snaps aren’t being taken in a refrigerated condition, then it melts before you can get one good snap of the dessert.

Hence, experts rely on other ingredients like mixing icing sugar with the frosting to replicate the look of an ice-cream. Yet others employ a combination of corn syrup, powdered sugar and vegetable shortening to ‘fake’ an ice-cream.

For whipped cream, non-dairy creamer is used as it does not wilt, and some have even gone to the extent of using shaving cream to replicate the effect. With milkshakes, sour cream is generally used for photography since its naturally thick and can be swirled easily.