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.
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.
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!
We recommend having a few extra pieces that can provide color, texture, details, and shape to your photographs.
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!
- 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.
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:
- World Market
- Thrift shops (like Goodwill)
- Home Goods
- Estate Sales
- Antique shops
- Restoration Hardware
- Crate and Barrel
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…
Parchment paper/brown paper…
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.
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.
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?