Michael Alberstat’s Artful Visuals Play on Food and Props

In the rapidly-evolving world of photography, it’s not just about capturing moments but about pushing the envelope of creativity and style. Toronto-based photographer Michael Alberstat taps into this ever-changing landscape, aligning himself with cutting-edge trends while preserving the timeless essence of the visual narrative. In his latest self-initiated project, “Drink, Dessert and Deconstruct,” Michael merges the worlds of food styling and prop styling to conjure whimsical and sophisticated imagery. Let’s delve into his playful journey with food stylist Janette Mitchell and prop stylist Emily Nolan to see how meringue, melons, and meticulous detailing come together in a vibrant visual feast.

Drink, Dessert, and Deconstruct

By: Michael Alberstat

Photography has always been about staying ahead of styles and lighting trends. The constant need for imagery is sometimes overwhelming with our exposure to social media and so many new mediums for advertising.

As a photographer, I’ve had to navigate this since my early days shooting for magazines and mainly editorial content.  

These trends happen much more quickly now, and the current look is all about hard-edged shadows and interesting props that are part of the narrative and maintain a whimsical yet sophisticated feel to the images.

I wanted to create new imagery for my portfolio, so I reached out to some food and prop stylists posting some incredible work, asking if they would like to collaborate on something new.

I began with Janette Mitchell. Janette is an incredible food stylist, and I am a true believer that they have one of the most challenging jobs in our industry.

Janette’s first reaction was “MERINGUE!”  

She discussed how she’s wanted to work with meringue for a while now and shared the nuances of its shiny and velvety texture and its ability to be shaped in any way. Janette had also just worked on a project that had her working with watermelons, and she just fell in love with the idea of using melons in a shoot to utilize their incredible color and texture. When we began planning the shots, we were thrilled to be able to add prop stylist Emily Nolan to this shoot.

Our main objective was for this to not be a typical tabletop food shoot, so the props had to work with the food. Emily achieved this through the use of playful pedestals and surfaces that cast some interesting shadows and allowed me to play with reflection & light.

Using our color theme with the melon’s pink, orange, and green, she expanded the palette with cooler blues and deeper shades to make the white meringue and melons pop. 

At the end of the shoot day, when we had all the shots on screen, we were thrilled with how things looked, and I was ecstatic to have been lucky enough to work with Emily and Janette to create these images.

Toronto-based Photographer and director Michael Alberstat has an exceptional eye for detail and design. He’s had the opportunity to travel extensively for his work, taking pictures of Professional athletes, actors, cookbooks, and also architecture. His work has been published internationally. His clients range from small start-ups to giant corporations. Some are Unilever, Kraft, General Mills, Deloitte, Ronald McDonald House, Hotel LeGermain, and others. Michael’s passion for all things design has helped with his transition from stills to motion work, where he continues to be innovative and always creates engaging and timeless imagery.


Michael Alberstat: Instagram

Janette Mitchell: Instagram

Emily Nolan: Instagram

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Author: Graphis