Why Does McDonald’s Food Look Different in Advertising Than It Does In the Store?

The difference between making the sausage and making the sausage look pretty is a food stylist, a photographer, and a photo editor who has an eye for things like the angle of the curve of the melted cheese.

If you guessed “physics,” or “if your cheese melted into a perfect square, that would be a sign you probably shouldn’t eat it,” you’re correct.

Anyway, McDonald’s gave us a look-see into one of their photo shoots, and the chain of production from the food stylist to the photographer to the Photoshop jockey. Why it’s gone viral I have no idea, but as someone who uses Photoshop every day—but usually very quickly in a panic to move on to the next thing—watching the kind of details an actual professional looks for was oddly enthralling.

Yes, I would have changed the color balance and stamp-tooled the nicks in the bread. But just ever-so-slightly tightening the curve of the melted cheese corner? That’s what separates amateurs like me from actual photo editors.

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