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Basic Props You Need for Food Photography

Food Photography

If you are an aspiring food photographer, one of the most significant things that you need to have in the workspace is prop library. It need not be huge. You need not buy several things at a single go or spend your salary on purchasing beautiful props. Just a few items will go a long way here.

Prop styling refers to the process of creating a set perfectly designed for food photographs. It is actually the art of piecing together multiple utensils, backgrounds and surfaces to create an environment where the dish will blend perfectly. People often assume that food stylists or chefs do the styling for food photoshoots. Though some do that, this is not very common. The food photographer has to handle the job. When you are beginning a prop library, it’s hard to assume that you will get everything at once. It’s better to start with the things that are versatile and affordable and capacitated to create variety if used in different layouts.

Here are a few tips to use props for improving your food photos.

Food Photography

Food photography is not only about making the audience salivate. To click perfect pictures, you need to create the mood. It is also about evoking feelings of comfort and warmth, nostalgia, and several other emotions. For example, the gold-accented dishes and the blue and pink tablecloth evoke light-heartedness and fun. The props are not the lone factor creating the mood, but backgrounds and lighting also play a dominant role here. Before you grab the vintage spoon or the neon mats, think of the story you are trying to tell.

Crystal Clear and Bright White

All the utensils in the setup need not be attention grabbing and colorful. Do not underestimate the significance of solid collection of clear and white dishes. White dishes can make almost all foods appear photogenic since here it can shine without interference. Clear dishes permit unobstructed views of food from multiple angles.



Variation on complementary colors helps to create beautiful photos. Combine sage green with deep oranges and vibrant blues with muted patches. To have fun, play around with different colors.

Here are a few props that you can start upon.

Wooden and White Surface

These surfaces will give you flexibility. As they enjoy neutral tones, they can easily match different types of prop that you may possess. Though a huge variety is available here, each with its own texture, pattern, and tones, it’s better to go for the desaturated ones since they will never clash with the colorful subjects.

Linen Fabric

Fabrics go a long way in creating the right mood. Linen fabric is a popular option owing to its beautiful texture. Even if they are in solid colors, their texture can stand out in the pictures. While purchasing the linen fabrics, begin with the basic colors like brown, black and gray.

Linen Fabric

Matte Finished Bowls and Plates

The matte finished ones win more points than its glossy counterparts because matte finishes help to minimize unnecessary reflections. Thus, you need not block the light forcibly using boards or flags.

Basic Cutlery

Get at least two different sets of cutlery that consists of a knife, spoon, and fork. Each set must enjoy a different design. You can start with a set in silver and other with wooden handles. They are basic and can match different surfaces.

Basic Cutlery

Chopping Board

A nice chopping board can serve you perfectly. It can function as a serving plate for chief dishes, hold the raw ingredients or perform as a surface for the smaller dishes too. While picking up the chopping boards, go for ones that come with distinct wooden plates since they are the ones that stand out in pictures.


Having a few baskets will aid in creating more depth in the pictures. Simply put the baskets in the background with some raw ingredients that were used for creating the dish. You can also put the main dish in the basket if you prefer a casual vibe.

Fake Greens

You can use them for backgrounds to add an outdoor touch without shooting indoors. Keep the background blurred so that it doesn’t appear fake.

Where Can You Buy the Props?

You are likely to find a number of props hidden in your kitchen. But if you need to buy them, here are some of the most popular prop sources for you.

  • Estate sale
  • Craft and fabric outlets
  • Thrift and vintage stores

So, now you know the props to purchase and the places you can get them. So happy prop shopping!

If you have any questions, please ask below!