Best Props for Food Photography and How to Use Them

We all know that food photography is an essential component of food blogging. Capturing mouthwatering, beautiful photos of your food is one of the best ways to promote your recipes and get readers to your website.

Plates, forks, bowls, napkins, mugs… the list of potential props in your food photographs goes on and on! These props help to create a story and set the mood in your photographs.

two women photographing a table of food with the text "best props for food photography and how to use them" and the Food Blogger Pro logo

Props are also useful for adding visual interest and structure to your photographs. But choosing the right props to include in your photos can feel daunting! 

You want to choose props that will help your food shine. It is also important to use props that are consistent with your food photography style and brand. 

We’re here to break down everything you need to know about props, from all of the props to have in your collection, to the best places to buy props, and even examples of how to use them!

Want to learn more about props for food photography?

Building a Collection of Food Photography Props

We’ve broken down the props we recommend into a few different categories. While this list may feel intimidating, it is important to remember that you do not need everything on this list. Far from it! 

Pick and choose from the items we’ve listed below to fit your photography style and budget.

Rainbow chicken salad in a bowl with a fork with almond honey mustard dressing on the side

We’ve linked to suggested items for each prop we recommend (not affiliate links), but feel free to dig around on your own to find items that you love.

Note: For most dishes we recommend a matte finish to reduce the shine and reflections off of the dishes in your photography.

White, off-white or neutral dinnerware

These will be your go-to props and you really only need one of each!

Unique dinnerware

We recommend having a few extra pieces that can provide color, texture, details, and shape to your photographs.

Large dishes

These are great for taking photos of food that looks better in its original dish, or may not look as appetizing once you’ve served it!

Utensils

  • Basic Silverware – use whatever you have at home
  • Vintage silverware – bonus points for a tarnished finish!
  • Wooden spoons
    • Tip: Adding a wooden spoon to the skillet or pan can add life and authenticity to your photo. 

Glassware

Linen Napkins

Once linen napkins are washed, they have a wrinkly quality which adds an additional element of texture and depth to your photographs.

Where to Buy Food Photography Props

The sky is the limit when it comes to building your prop collection, but here are a few of our favorite places to find props:

Props You Already Have at Home

While you may need to buy a few props when you’re getting started, the great news is that you probably already have lots of items on hand at home to supplement your food styling collection. Let’s take a look at some examples!

Old, rusty cookie sheets…

Loaded baked potatoes on a rusty cookie sheet

Parchment paper/brown paper…

Molasses cookies dipped in white chocolate with holly decoration on parchment paper

Your hands…

two hands holding a glass mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and candy cane crumbles on top

Cooling racks…

chocolate cookies on a wire cooling rack over a wood surface

The food – more on this later!

How to Use Props in your Food Photography

When you’re ready to take a photograph of your food, it is best to start with the bare minimum in terms of props and add prop pieces only as they’re needed.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about using props, an easy way to get started is to choose a monochromatic prop set-up. 

This allows the food to be the focus and ensures that the viewer’s eye is not distracted by any contrasting colors in the props. 

Let’s take a look at what this might look like. Below you will see the same food plated in a white bowl with a white background and in a black bowl with a black background. 

a yogurt bowl with fruit in a black bowl on a black background and a yogurt bowl with fruit in a white bowl on a white background

Both photos are beautiful and make the food “pop” — but which is your favorite? Neither is wrong; they’re just different styles. And you get to define what your food photography style looks and feels like!

Using food from the recipe as a prop is another simple way to start introducing props into your food photography. 

Try using garnishes like herbs, a wedge of citrus fruit, or a hunk of bread in your photographs to add interest, color, and texture to your photos. 

shrimp tacos with coleslaw on a white background with limes and herbs scattered around

And that wraps up our deep dive into props for food photography! We’d love to know… what are your favorite props to use in your photos?

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