Simple Guide To Start A Food Photography Props Collection

November 20, 2020

Props are a hot topic when it comes to food photography. If you feel confused on what props are necessary and how to pick the best props for food photography, then PHOOD has your back. Choosing food photography props that work for a variety of photographs, recipes and lighting can save you money, time, space […]

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Props are a hot topic when it comes to food photography. If you feel confused on what props are necessary and how to pick the best props for food photography, then PHOOD has your back. Choosing food photography props that work for a variety of photographs, recipes and lighting can save you money, time, space and make you more efficient. So we’ve come up with a handy list of must have items every food photographer needs in their prop collection.

Food photography backgrounds

The foundation of all your food images. The yeast to your bread, the salt to your margaritas. The icing on the cake really. Backgrounds form the base of your food images, quite literally and can make or break your images.

You have so many choices for what background you can use but here is a list of 5 backgrounds that you can use as a base for your food images that can be found in your house today:

  1. linen napkins
  2. wooden chopping boards
  3. baking paper
  4. craft paper
  5. rustic baking trays

Matte flatware

When we say flatware, we’re referring to forks, knives and spoons in case you’re confused. But not all cutlery was created equally. If you think you can use the same cutlery you use on your dinner table, think again. The cutlery you use at home is likely shiny, large and and produces strong highlights and reflections.

PHOOD recommends curating a small collection rustic, matte spoons (both teaspoons and tablespoons), some forks and a couple of knives. Antique markets and charity shops are a great place to source these.

Cutlery for food photography props.
Matte antique flatware sourced from antique flea markets.

Neutral salad plates

One of the biggest mistakes new food photographers make is buying dinner plates. These are often too large and make the food look tiny in comparison. PHOOD recommends buying salad plates in neutral colors such as white, grey and beige. You usually need only one or two pieces of the same rather then a full dinner collection. Also ensure that they are matte. Avoid any large prints or loud colors although some detailing like speckles add texture and interest.

Neutral salad plates for food photography
Neutral salad plates are the perfect size for food styling.

Pinch bowls

Before entering the world of food photography, we had no idea that pinch bowls were a thing. In fact, they ARE a thing. These are small tiny bowls that are usually reserved for garnishes, sauces and seasonings. Pinch bowls are a great way to add balance to your images as well as interest. They’re also useful to add small pops of color in your food photography without overwhelming or distracting. PHOOD’s favorite pinch bowls are the ceramic ones that come in a variety of colors.

Thin walled drinking glasses

If you’re ever stuck for balancing your composition or adding props in your backgrounds that quietly merge with your hero food and yet add, interest, place a glass into the edge of your composition. The trick is to find glasses that are short and have thin walls. Thin walled glasses will reflect much less then ordinary ones and be less distracting. These budget ones perfectly fit the bill and come in different heights too.

Glassware for food photography
Choose glasses that are short and thin for food photography.

Linen napkins

One of PHOOD’s favorite ways to add texture, shape and dimension to any food image is using napkins in the shot. But when we say linens, we are being literal here. Buy napkins actually made from linen material. They look more natural and are much easier to manipulate on set. PHOOD’s recommendation here are these extra soft and slightly textured neutral linens.

Linens for food photography.
Napkins made from linen material are easiest to style.

Baking trays

Don’t underestimate the value and versatility of baking trays. They’r not only reserved for baking cookies and breads. Textured trays work great as backdrops, can be used for layering in your compositions (we talk more about this inside PHOOD’s online photography course). Their shape allows for framing your food and add a rustic homely touch to your photos. Look for trays that have a few signs of wear and tear- aged pieces tell a better story.

baking trays
Baking trays are great for layering, backgrounds as well as food styling sweet treats.

Whilst having the right food photography props really helps to make your images pop, understanding the fundamentals of food photography is what will take you from an amateur to a seasoned photographer. PHOOD’s signature course to take you from blogger to photographer launches soon so make sure you’re on the waitlist for when doors open for a limited time. We can’t wait to see you on the inside.

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