Hi, I am Jennifer Janz, professional food stylist.
For the past 20 years I have been styling food professionally for many national food brands. My work has appeared in magazines, cookbooks, TV commercials and in Advertisements. Food, photography and art are my passions. Teaching and sharing my passions is a new adventure for me. I am so excited to let you into my world to see how the professional food photography business operates, what food stylists do and how much fun this profession is.
A little about my background, after receiving a B.A. in fine arts almost 30 years ago, I started out my career as a production assistant and then graphic designer. I quickly realized that sitting at a computer (or sitting anywhere, really) was not for me. I spent the next several years getting started in a photography career instead. I have always loved photography as an artistic medium and studied this in art school as well. During one of my many shoots as an assistant photographer I met a food stylist. I observed her for the day and soon realized I had found my love. Food, art AND photography all in one career. The very things I loved most.
Food has been a source of great pleasure for me over the years. I never tire of it. It’s beautiful not only to look at but involves all of the senses. It truly is a sensual art. I am a self taught food professional. Luckily, at the beginning of my career I worked for a top selling Magazine in the food industry Taste of Home Magazine. Over the 13 years I freelanced at Reiman Publications/Reader’s Digest I learned to cook and bake 1,000’s of dishes. I was constantly challenged by new foods and recipes. I learned how to not only make dishes look beautiful but many ‘tricks’ to make them last on set. Over the years my work appeared on over 75 covers of magazines and cookbooks that were published by Reiman Publications/Reader’s Digest. I was the “go-to” stylist for covers for many years. While doing magazine work, I also specialized in making food look delectable for advertising and television commercials in Milwaukee and Chicago. This was an entirely different type of food styling as I soon found out. Advertising is all about making the food jump off the page in such a way that the viewer not only wants to eat that food but NEEDS to eat that food. It is all about selling. And, as you know, you can only sell your food with a photograph and the words that go with it so it is all about the visual aspects of the food and the clever copy that goes with it.
I have styled everything from Pizzas that appeared on neck ties, to food scraps for a garbage disposal commercial. There was a time I was asked to build a sandwich that was 2 feet tall and style picnic food in the middle of a corn field. Obstacles and challenges are what make this career so much fun. Anything CAN be done and it is your job to figure out how. I love it! So come along on my journey. Come for the fun, or maybe you are considering food styling as a profession? Come along, really, you won’t regret it!