Styling

8 Essential Food Photography Props

 

Hi there! This is Kelly from A Side of Sweet. I’ve been photographing and styling food for almost seven years and I’m proud to say I’m completely self-taught. Everything I know I’ve learned by doing. I’m so grateful that Rachel is letting me pop over here today and share a bit of what I’ve learned along the way.

Despite having cabinets stuffed to the brim with all sorts of props, there are certain items that I reach for over and over. By choosing props that work in a variety of situations you can save money, save space and also be more efficient while you work.

Read on for 8 Essential Food Photography Props.

For more of my photography, original recipes and blogging tutorials, head over to my website when you’re done reading this article! You can also find me on Instagram.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Clear Thin-Walled Drink Glasses

The trick to picking out glassware that will photograph well is looking for thin walls. Delicate glassware looks much better in photos as you don’t get any discoloration or distortion of the food. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive though! I bought my glasses at Daiso, which is a Japanese discount store. Each glass was only a couple of dollars. Williams-Sonoma also has a gorgeous set of thin-walled cocktail glasses.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Vintage Teacups as a Photography Prop

I collect teacups, not only because they are pretty, but because they make great food photography props! Check out your local thrift or antique store. They usually have ample options for all price ranges. Etsy is also an option, but with shipping the costs can add up quickly. I always look for cups that have chips or cosmetic defects to save money.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Gold Flatware for Food Styling

Gold flatware instantly adds a bit of fancy to any food photo. The set I purchased is from Sur La Table, which unfortunately is no longer available. Luckily, gold flatware is so trendy you can find it everywhere from Target to Anthropologie. Gold flatware, especially if you get a cheap set, will easily tarnish or scratch off. Make sure you only wash it by hand in warm water and dry it immediately.

Pro tip: To save a bit of money, you can also spray paint an old set of silverware to use for food styling.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Minimalist White Bowls for Food Photography

White bowls are an obvious choice for the food photographer. What better way to highlight a beautiful dish than a clean white styling palette? I look for a bowl without a base so the sides are smooth all the way down and there is nothing to distract you from the food. West Elm and Target have great options. I love pairing a bright white bowl on a white shooting surface with a colorful recipe so the food really pops.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Matte White Plates

Just like white bowls, white plates are a must for any food photographer. Look for smooth plates with a matte finish and no rim if you can find them. Glossy plates will reflect light and are harder to photograph. I find it easier to style food on a dessert plate rather than a dinner plate. They are easier to fit on my photography backdrops and easier to fill with a serving of food. I’ve only been able to find matte plates by specialty ceramics shops but West Elm has a good not-too-shiny option.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Off-White Stoneware Plates to Add Character to Photos

Another great surface for styling food is an off-white stoneware plate. It lends a charming rustic feel to photos. The more unique the plate, the better. Etsy is a great resource for unique photography props. The ones you see in this photo I purchased at a small antique shop in Japan. My favorite souvenirs when I’m traveling are new props for photography!

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Rustic Wood Slabs & Cutting Boards

A great way to add interest when you’re styling food is to add layers. I aim for 5 to 7 layers in my photos. No one has ever accused me of being a minimalist! 🙂 Typically this involves a combination of the following – a shooting surface, a piece of wood or platter, a tea towel, the dish holding the food, a utensil, the food itself and garnish. Cutting boards and rustic pieces of wood are an easy way to add a layer.

The old wooden cutting board you see in these photos was $5 in a forgotten corner of an antique shop. Etsy is another great place to find something with character. The more beat up the better. Look for wood that doesn’t have yellow undertones as this is more flattering for food photography.

8 essential food photography props for any budget, click to read.

Enamelware Plates & Bowls

Enamelware plates and bowls in classic white with a colorful rim make awesome food photography props! As an added bonus they also stack easily, aren’t breakable and don’t take up too much storage space. Check out Williams-Sonoma and Urban Outfitters have some good options, or for pieces with more character, check out Etsy or antique stores.

 

Shop Some of My Favorite Food Props!

What are some food photography props that you find yourself over and over? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you found this article helpful! You can find more blogging and photography tutorials on my blog, like this article on finding Cheap Backdrops for Photography.

 

P.S. – Love this article about food photography props? Make sure you pin it for later!

 

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