28 Essential Food Photography Props for Beginners

By Tata Rossi 23 days ago, Food photography

If you want to use delicious-looking food photography props to take attention-grabbing photos for a restaurant’s menu or your food blog on social media, take a closer look at this list. You may take appealing photos of food by composing various props and ingredients in the right way. Beginner photographers will benefit from using these props that will help you take mouth-watering pictures.

Top 28 Food Photography Props

The best props for food photos don’t need to be too eye-catching since you need to focus a viewer’s attention on the meal itself. This is why it’s better to use neutral-colored props that don’t distract people from a dish. Their texture should be nondescript as well. In this article, you will see a list of the best food styling props for sale that don’t cost an arm and a leg. With them, you can improve your food photography portfolio and attract new clients.

1. Stump Plank

food photography props stump plank

An idea that I often stumble upon on popular food photography blogs is using stump planks as a cutting, or a serving board. They can really enhance the rustic natural atmosphere of the image. The best part about this prop is that you can handcraft it yourself.

2. Plants and Flowers

food photography props plants and flowers

Plants are widely used as photography props as they can liven up every photo. Create a stylish composition by using a bouquet or potted plant or use seasonal flowers to show when you took the image. Besides, you can use flower petals or leaves to make a meal look more appetizing.

3. Baking Sheet

food photography props baking sheet

Baking sheet is one of the best containers for baked goods and will work wonders for dark food photography. It subconsciously symbolizes not only the cooking method but also the freshness of the dish.

food photography props baking sheet

If you have some old ones they can provide a grunge backdrop while adding a sense of story to your image.

4. Marble Boards

food photography props marble board

Marble boards are the most popular product photography backdrops.

You should get one in a neutral finish (for example white, or gray), as those are quite versatile, and can work with all types of food. Light marble shades are often used for breakfast pictures, and dark ones are perfect for more “late” dishes.

5. Parchment Paper

food photography props parchment paper

To make your main meal look even more appetizing, try using parchment paper. It’s perfect for photos of baked goods. You can crumple the white or brown paper up to make it look more realistic. It will serve as a great background for tabletop photography. With it, you can add a feel of authenticity to your photos.

6. Acrylic Ice Cubes

food photography props ice cubes

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.

food photography props ice cubes

However, you can use one of the secret food photography tricks and invest in fake ice cubes. They look just as good as real ones, but you can shoot as much time as you want to without worrying, they will melt away.

7. Glass Jars

food photography props glass jar

Glass jars are perfect props for a variety of purposes. For instance, you can pour drinks or put fruit into them.

food photography props glass jar

Some photographers use them to take pictures of herbs, spices, or sauces. You can make them the main focus of your image or put them in the background when taking photos of various dishes. Besides, you can put silver cutlery, straws, and other utensils into them.

8. Tureen

food photography props tureen

If you shoot soup, the idea of using a small bowl is too boring, and not relevant anymore. A tureen is a way better solution.

food photography props tureen

They usually feature different patterns, that create more visual interest in images. Don’t forget that other tableware in the shot should complement the tureen’s style.

9. Paper Straws

food photography props paper straws

Paper straws are great props for drink photography. Use them to add extra brightness and color to your images. You can use the straws of contrasting colors with the drink to make the image more eye-catching, or of a more neutral color, to make your drink the star of the photo.

10. Vintage Teacups

food photography props vintage teacups

If you are realizing vintage, or tea ceremony food photography ideas, vintage teacups will perfectly complement the setting. Make sure the ornaments on your teacups don’t distract from the main dish.

11. Coffee Beans

food photography props coffee beans

This is a great variant of a prop for dishes that contain chocolate, like desserts. Coffee beans can also be an excellent thematic complement to coffee.

food photography props coffee beans

You can also scatter them evenly on the surface, using them as a stand. Do it in a small container to avoid any mess.

12. Pine Branches

food photography props pine branches

Pine branches are irreplaceable Christmas photo props for food images. They can also help you convey the aroma of the dish, or drink.

They 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 unhygienic. Instead, you can put rosemary or something similar on the dish.

13. Ingredients

food photography props ingredients

There is no need to buy expensive food photography props to implement the most popular still life photography ideas. In some cases, it’s enough to arrange ingredients in a creative way. You can put them around your meal. It’s a perfect solution for photos that illustrate recipes. By adding fruits and vegetables to your photo, you can show people which ingredients were used.

14. White Plates

food photography props white plate

A white plate is one of the most effective tools for a food photographer. There’s no better way to highlight a well though-out recipe than clean white space, as there’s nothing to distract you from the dish. Try combining a simple white plate with a colorful dish, so it really stands out.

15. Cutting Boards

food photography props cutting board

A cutting board is what makes a viewer focus on the meal. Food photography boards can be used as serving platters as well. With them, you can quickly frame your ingredients in the way you like.

food photography props cutting board

You can easily find a cutting board of any shape and color you need. Depending on the food, you can choose a round, square, or rectangle cutting board. If you want to experiment, start by buying one small and one large cutting board with different finishes. This way, you will be able to use an option that matches your needs better. Remember that a cutting board should not be lacquer coated, otherwise, your photo will look fake.

16. Kitchen Knives

food photography props knives

When looking for food styling props, don’t forget about buying kitchen knives. They will help you show the food in the process of meal preparation. Besides, they can be used as side elements that will help you focus the viewers’ attention on the main meal.

It’s better to select a dull knife to avoid sharp reflections. Remember that it should be smaller than the main subject, otherwise, it will dominate the picture.

17. Glass Bowls

food photography props glass salad bowls

Glass bowls are perfect for displaying all types of desserts. The transparency of such bowls will allow you to capture the dish with your camera for food photography in all the possible angles.

18. Wooden Cooking Utensils

food photography props wooden cooking utensils

If you want to become a food photographer, you need to have wooden cooking utensils in your arsenal. Wood texture adds such a nice rustic character and warmth to a photo.

food photography props wooden cooking utensils

Autumn-themed dishes can benefit from using utensils in natural materials that exude a homey vibe.

19. Cloth Napkins

food photography props napkins

Napkins are one of the most commonly used food photography props, however, you can experiment with them as you wish. Choose napkins with simple elegant patterns. For instance, napkins with stripe and check patterns will be perfect background elements for any meal.

If you aren’t sure about a color, go for neutral-colored napkins. Ivory, gray, smoky blue, or brown tones won’t be too distracting. It’s better to choose napkins made of easy-to-fold material, such as linen or cotton.

20. Cake Stand

food photography props cake stand

Another variant of props to use for food photography is a cake stand. It is suitable to demonstrate desserts, cupcakes, cookies, and is commonly used in wedding cakes photography.

What I like about it, is that it allows you to view the dessert from all angles, while providing a beautiful way to demonstrate it. Besides, you can easily DIY this prop, by turning a bowl upside down and placing a bigger plate on top of it.

21. Small Bowls and Plates

food photography props small bowls

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.

Round bowls look better when they are filled to the top, or even slightly more. This is another plus of small bowls: it is much easier to fill them than a large container.

22. Frying Pan

food photography props frying pan

A frying pan that the food was cooked in is also a great option, as it compels the people to focus solely on what’s within the pan’s frame. I like it because it’s an accessible prop that can be found in any household.

23. Bamboo Mat

food photography props bamboo mat

The bamboo mat is among the best cheap food photography backgrounds for oriental dishes. You can also use it as a tray for food, without any plates.

24. Fry Basket

food photography props fry basket

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 they look more neatly in the shot.

25. Glass of Wine

food photography props glass of wine

Among all alcoholic drinks, wine is perhaps the best addition to food, especially meat. A dish with one wine glass, or glass and one open bottle will look best of all.

26. Herbs and Spices

food photography props herbs and spices

Use sunflower seeds, flour as excellent props for food photography. Find a variety of herbs and seasonings that will make even the most simple and plain dish attractive. Position salt and pepper grinders in the back for more depth.

27. Mugs

food photography props mugs

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 cozier.

food photography props mugs

Try different angles, the position of the mugs in the frame, and shift the focus. Some photographers like to shoot mugs with steam coming from a drink to enhance the atmosphere.

28. Grater

food photography props grater

Ask the model to grate or zest cheese, lemon, or spices to a ready dish. A person using grater to add finishing touches to the dish can add depth and another level of interest to your photo.

Bonus Tools

tools for editing food photography

Want to spend less time in front of the computer and more time photographing the food you love? These Lightroom food presets will allow you to quickly make stunning edits. They will bring out the vibrant colors of the ingredient and will work with all types of food photography backdrops.