Cindy Epstein

San Diego, CA, USA
(760) 994-7559(760) 994-7559

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate, you know someone's fingers have been all over it." That simple quote from Julia Child pretty much sums up what I do. I make food the camera loves!

I can make almost anything look absolutely divine and sumptuously delicious. I've been called a makeup artist for food, and I love my work!

I think of food photography as "the art of eating with our eyes". Not being able to call on our other senses, we rely exclusively on our eyes and our imaginations when we see a food image. Every photo should tell a story. Achieving that goal is part of the challenge and creativity that goes into every image.....bringing the client's vision to life.

With over thirty years’ experience in the food industry, I bring a positive “can do” spirit to every project. Precision in my craft and great problem solving skills are two of my strongest assets. My patience, even temperament, and playful sense of humor make long arduous days on the set easier for everyone. I thrive on working as part of a collaborative, creative team, and love the synergy that naturally happens when a group of creative people "think together."

I have styled advertisements for a number of ad agencies, national and regional companies and publications, and worked in TV, video, editorial, advertising, and packaging. You will find a client list, along with numerous testimonials on my website, I work mostly in Southern California between LA and San Diego and in Las Vegas, and I’m always available to travel.

Phone: 760.994.7559 Website: Email:

Q & A:

How long have you been a food stylist? I started food styling in 2000, shortly after I sold my catering company in Philadelphia. Moving from off-premise catering to food styling was the logical next step for me. My favorite part of catering was always building magnificent food displays.

Who are some of your more recognizable clients? Martha Stewart, Chef Ludo Lefebvre from The Taste, The Food Network, Robert Mondavi, Kmart, Sizzler, Taco Bell, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine, Kroger, Butterball, Sony, Sam Adams, Hilton, Jack Daniels meats, and many others

What did you do before you were a stylist? I owned a catering company, Queen of Hearts Catering, in suburban Philadelphia.  We did full-service off-premise catering and also had an upscale market and bakery where we sold a variety of food and pastries we prepared on site.

What initially attracted you to food styling? Food is magnificent. Since I was a young girl I always thought food was beautiful. My mom had a huge garden and fruit trees, and I remember loving the simple, organic beauty and array of colors of fruits and vegetables. The details and perfection of each tomato, each ear of corn, every deep purple eggplant amazed me. The minutia of nature is wondrous. I started cooking with my mom as a very young child and found it very satisfying and fun. There is a Zen-like, peaceful quality to cooking. My favorite part of catering was building beautiful displays of food to awe the guests when they walked into the event. I love working with food and creating artful presentations.

How did you start your career as a food stylist? After selling my catering company I apprenticed with a food stylist/photographer. Food styling felt very natural and easy for me with my background. I remember attending a Food on Film conference in 2000 and knowing that I  was living my passion. Work became fun!

What do you like best about being a food stylist? There are so many things I love; I can’t pinpoint one aspect. It’s great fun! It’s an opportunity for artistic expression. It’s a collaborative effort with a team of creative individuals thinking, working, and creating together. I love the synergy that is created at a shoot, and I love bringing the client’s vision to life. It makes them happy. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, and no two shoots are ever the same.

Who are some of your favorite food photographers? I work with a number of photographers and enjoy working with each of them. My mentor was Greg Bertolini, who is now retired. He was a fabulous teacher. He took me under his wing and really helped me advance professionally. He was a friend, a teacher, and my biggest fan. I truly appreciate everything he did for me.

What’s your favorite food to style? I can’t say I have a favorite, but I do especially love working with everything fresh.

Do you have a specialty? I consider myself more of a generalist. I’ve styled sweet, savory, and beverages. I’ve worked in editorial, commercial, packaging, video, TV, web, and  advertising. I can’t really say I love one more than another.

What’s the key to being a good stylist? There are a combination of qualities that make a good stylist: creativity, an artistic eye, patience, cooperation, collaboration, problem solving skills, the ability to improvise, food knowledge, precision, and attention to the tiniest detail. I also believe that humility is very important. When I’m on a job my first priority is always my client. They are using my services to create their vision. I am there to serve them. I really believe a good stylist parks her ego at the door. And a good sense of humor is always important.