Looking for creative and stylish food photography props for your menu photography or for Instagram food blog, there are certain items that I use for over and over. By choosing proper props for food photography that work for different dishes, you can save money and space but still take awesome and yummy photos.
As a multi-sensory product, food should not have only good taste and pleasant aroma. To make anybody try a dish, it should LOOK appetizing. When we talk about food photography, this concept takes on a completely new meaning. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional food photographer or a beginning food blogger, you should do everything you can to present the dish in the best way. Therefore, creative food photography prop ideas are an important element of your success.
If you don't know yet what kind of props should be used for food photography, check my tips and suggestions below. You will learn many useful tricks on how to take incredible food photos on budget.
|Wood Slices||VIEW MORE|
Stump plank can completely replace a cutting board. It is one of the best surfaces for food photography, especially for dishes and products without a tricky serve. Those, who know how to work with a tree can easily make such a stand with their own hands. For an outdoor photo session, such a prop is just a must-have thing.
|Acrylic Ice Cubes||VIEW MORE|
Ice cubes can ennoble any cold drink. However, they have one significant disadvantage - they melt quickly, so you have to work constantly in a hurry. To avoid such turmoil, you can use photography fake food props that look as good as real ones and do not cause any troubles.
|Jar Mug with Handle||VIEW MORE|
Glass jars look fantastic in your photos of drinks and cocktails. Use jars of different shapes and sizes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Such containers can be found anywhere from modern stores of home accessories to the grandmother's garden. You even don’t need to visit a special food photography prop shop to get them. Use Lightroom presets to make automatic but professional color correction of your food images fast.
|Round Tureen||VIEW MORE|
If you shoot soup, the advice about a small bowl is not relevant anymore. A tureen is usually a more reasonable solution. Plates with rims are better food photography props if you shoot salads and the like. In addition, with a tureen, you can create the whole ensemble to get the better composition during the food shooting.
|Dinner Plate Set||VIEW MORE|
A white plate is one of the cheapest and most effective tools for a food photographer. You do not need to contact craft shops, such as Axl's Little Shop or Madras Prop Store, because such plates can be found in any nearby market. Food photography plates do not occupy a lot of space and it won’t take you much time to lay them out. Also, white color allows you to focus attention on the dish, especially if it is colorful.
|Chopping Board||VIEW MORE|
A cutting board is always associated with the cooking process. So dishes with a rough presentation, such as bread or meat will look the most impressive on this kind of photography food props. Avoid a combination of cutting board and subtle dishes, as they are not compatible at all.
Kitchen knives are a great addition to the previous prop. Just like cutting boards, they symbolize the process of cooking, so the food photography tips are the same: you should use them for a rough, straightforward presentation. Select the type and size in accordance with the main element of the composition. For example, it can be a knife for meat, for bread, etc.
Salad dishes are perfect food photography props for salads that do not require a special presentation and can be served simply in a mixed form. The transparency of such salad bowls will allow you not to limit yourself in angles. Despite the variety of salad bowls, give preference to a smaller one. In this case, you will have more free space and you can use less food.
|Marble Board||VIEW MORE|
Along with wood thongs, food photography props for sale marble is a wonderful surface for shooting. Everything looks beautiful on it. Each board is unique, so every image will be one-of-a-kind. Light marble shades are often used for breakfast pictures, and dark ones are perfect for more “late” dishes.
|Parchment Paper||VIEW MORE|
Parchment paper is among the best food photography backdrops for shooting pastry. It is often used because of the special wrinkled texture that adds a special note to the photos. It can be a great tool for adding volume and texture to your pictures.
|Wooden Set||VIEW MORE|
Unusual spoons or forks will allow you to look at a simple dish from a completely different angle. With such food styling accessories, even ordinary scrambled eggs will look fresh and interesting. However, do not overdo, because the dish should remain the main “star” in the frame.
|Cloth Napkins||VIEW MORE|
This is a great way to decorate a dish and bring visual interest if your composition is quite simple. Most often, these napkins are used as a stand. Combining the colors of dishes and napkins, you will achieve an excellent result.
|Cake Stand||VIEW MORE|
Another variant of props to use for food photography is a cake stand. It is suitable to demonstrate desserts. As the dessert is at some height, it stands out visually. Besides, it allows you to not limit the view from above. It is recommended to use a cake stand with massive desserts, as they often visually merge with a large horizontal surface.
|Paper Drinking Straws||view price|
Although paper straws disintegrate quickly in the mouth, they are still popular and look great in cocktails and drinks. Use straws as a prop for food photography and they will add extra brightness and color to your images. If you have enough decors in addition to the sticks in the composition, use more subtle colors.
|Bowl Set||VIEW MORE|
As soon as you start working in this genre, you almost immediately realize that smaller props for food photography look better in the frame. They are easier to combine into a composition than something big and cumbersome. If you shoot bowls and cups, you will get a better view from above. Round bowls look better when they are filled to the top, or even slightly more. This is another plus of small dishes: it is much easier to fill them than a large container. You can also try to play with the cups of different sizes and use bowls of various diameters.
|Vintage Teacup||VIEW MORE|
Vintage teacups perfectly complement the style which they belong to. For example, a dish of the Victorian era can be perfectly accompanied by a cup of the same style. Such props can also play a major role if you are trying to demonstrate not a dish itself but a certain style. In fact, this advice concerns any props. However, as practice shows, teacups are the most recognizable for this purpose. One more important thing – you should learn where to buy food photography props of a definite kind beforehand.
|Steak Frying Pan||VIEW MORE|
A frying pan is used for dishes that require thermal processing and they test best of all when they are hot. You can often see that food photographers also add steam from food to their shots. For a stand, you can choose something from the options I mentioned above.
|Bamboo Mat||VIEW MORE|
The bamboo mat is among the best cheap food photography backgrounds for oriental dishes. It is not necessary to hide them under the food. They can be an independent part of the composition. In this case, make sure that you have something else apart form the bamboo mat.
|Fry Serving Basket||VIEW MORE|
Fry baskets are most often used with the dish cooked on them. Like a frying pan, the fry basket should show the dish in its best condition - fresh and hot. It is better to use small baskets, as compactness is the best friend of a food photographer.
|Baking Sheet||VIEW MORE|
This is one of the best containers for baked goods and can be perfect DIY food photography backdrops. It subconsciously symbolizes not only the cooking method but also the freshness of the dish. If the baking sheet is quite large, it is better to make the composition inside it, not on the sides. Minor things such as a spatula can be added on the sides.
|Wine Glasses||VIEW MORE|
Among all alcoholic drinks, wine is perhaps the best addition to food. The rules for using props food photography of this kind are very simple - the wine must fit the dish. A dish with one glass of wine or a glass and one open bottle will look best of all.
|Dinner Napkins||VIEW MORE|
Use sunflower seeds, flour, and pepper as excellent props for food photography. Find a variety of herbs and seasonings that will make even the most simple and plain dish attractive. All these products are absolutely inexpensive and you can store them for a long time.
|Coffee Beans||VIEW MORE|
This is a great variant of dark food photography props. Coffee beans will be an excellent thematic complement to coffee. You need to scatter them evenly on the surface, using them as a stand. You should do it in a small container to avoid any mess. The overall composition can be enhanced with chocolate desserts.
|Artificial Pine Leaves||VIEW MORE|
Pine branches are one of the main props for outdoor food photography. They will not only give an atmosphere of unity with nature but will save you money, as they can be easily found in the forest. Do not place the branches directly on the food, as it looks at least unhygienic. Instead, you can put rosemary or something similar on the dish.
If you like to photograph your breakfasts, use different cups as food props for photography. A nice cup of tea or coffee always enlivens the picture, making it more natural and cozy. Try different versions of the angles, the location of the mugs in the frame, and shift the focus. Some photographers like to shoot mugs with steam coming from a drink to show natural food photography.
When you serve a dish, it can "drown" in large dinner plates. The dish will look tiny and the photo will be pretty boring. Change your chosen dish to a smaller one. It is not necessary to use a standard round plate; it can be elongated or square. Add fresh herbs, place the sauce in a small bowl on the plate, and your photo will become complete and tasty. Learn where to buy plates for food photography and choose the most suitable for your purposes.
Looking through photos of dishes, you scroll through dozens of images and stop at one. It has that “yummy” effect which you need to get from the photo. A beautiful plate or vintage spoon should not pull over the blanket. Food styling is the art to create the perfect look for food. You must concentrate on the food, while utensils and food photography DIY props are an important but a secondary factor.
Whenever you come up with the concept of a new dish, you should start with the recipe, serving and how your future picture will look. Much depends on your mood. For example, something winter, like stewed meat or meat in pots, works best in a frame with comfortable home props and warm light. The light background and bright details are ideal for light vegetable salad or smoothies. It is important that you set the mood for your dish in advance to prepare all the additional props and the food styling backgrounds for shooting.
The choice of props and surface for shooting (background) is the most favorite part for each photographer. Each food photographer has his/her own style which affects the preferences of the utensils. We can say for sure that while doing food shooting you will have a huge cupboard with plates, cups and other dishes.
Don’t forget that the idea will be fully realized if you use different components and drinks that complement your meal. Sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, and tacos look great with bottles of cola, wooden boards, glasses, and craft paper. All these photography food props will be presented in the photo as the background.
Lighting is an incredibly important part of food photography. The more lighting you have, the better result you will get. Remember that we need natural light or a single source with diffused light. The shadows can play a significant role in the frame, adding depth and texture. Use “dark” shadows for a dark background and more diffuse shadows for light photos.
It is not a secret that freshly cooked food looks spectacular and appetizing in the frame. During long shootings, when you have to shoot dozens of pictures of different dishes in one day, it happens that the meat dries out, and the salads "wither." There is food styling art to avoid such situations. You need a food stylist to make any dish appetizing even if it was cooked a few hours ago. But not every customer will be able to afford this specialist, so hone your skills in creating beautiful dishes on your own. Stock up with suitable dark food photography props and use them in your work. Sometime later you will surely gain experience and learn the secrets of beautiful and juicy photography.
Choosing the angle to shoot food, you can either create a masterpiece or "break" the entire frame. It’s very important to know how to shoot food photography properly. Photograph dishes from all possible sides. Each dish has its own favorable angles. First, take a picture that you have created in your head, and then change the shooting angles and, possibly, the composition itself.
For example, a hamburger doesn’t look well when you shoot it from above because you lose all the layers, texture and colors. You must shoot it, capturing each layer. Pizza or salad looks good in a photo when you shoot from above because the filling is visible.
Of course, you should draw attention to the main dish but show creativity and take a few frames changing the focus. Pay attention to the other parts of the picture. For example, when you take photos of a sandwich, and there is some sauce in the bowl in the frame, focus on the bowl that is behind the sandwich. When photographing drinks, take a couple of glasses in the frame and focus on one of them. Rearrange food in the picture. Don’t be afraid to show empty space or shoot only half of the plate. Start your food blog photography props and experiment. So you will find your personal style.
Food photography is a kind of art. So you must know a lot of things to be successful. Use colors to make a texture. Learn right colors combinations and the basics of the composition.
The texture of the photograph is created with the props and the surface that you use. Besides, the texture can be emphasized by various things: carelessly scattered sea salt or powdered sugar, a handful of coffee beans or a few herbs lying next to the plate.
Color is very important for food photography. Sometimes, the ugly look of soup or stew can be saved with fresh coriander or sliced pepper. A cheese plate can be supplemented with bright grapes and a glass of wine. The color of your composition can be enhanced with the best props for food photography and various additional things. Get to know the color wheel to be able to use the colors in your pictures correctly.
Doing experiment, you will learn how to photograph food properly. There can be a lot of food photography props in some pictures, while in others there are none. Show imagination, create and have fun. By trial and error approach, you will find your style, and then you will only need to “polish” and improve it.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.