When I first started blogging, I didn’t take many of my own photos. As I started to develop more of my own recipe content, naturally I started learning more about what makes good food photos for my posts. I’m very far from an expert, but over the years I’ve developed my own process and have quite a collection of food photography props that you’ll often find in my photos.
The main feature of food photos is always, well, the food or drink itself. But there are fun elements you can add to bring more personality and texture to your photos, or to highlight certain ingredients. As I said, I’m no expert food photographer or stylist, but I do enjoy taking and styling my own photos.
These are some of my favorite food photography props.
First of all, one of the obvious props is your background. For a few years I worked with tablecloths, towels, and poster boards to create my photos. They did the job, but weren’t ideal. Recently I invested in some Replica Surfaces, and they have been a game changer! They’re lightweight, portable, and easy to set up. In addition to an awesome collection of surfaces, they have a ton of tutorials for taking your best photos.
Before we dive into my favorite food photography props, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when styling food photos.
- Keep it cohesive. Make sure the colors, patterns, and textures play off one another well and don’t clash.
- A little bit goes a long way. Only use as many props as it takes to tell the story you want to tell.
- Remember the look and feel you’re going for, and choose props that reflect that.
- Sometimes you may not even need props! Some drinks and dishes are beautiful and engaging enough by themselves that simple or minimalist is the way to go.
My favorite food photography props
Ingredients in your recipe. Okay I admit, I’m not always good at remembering to show ingredients. And you don’t have to include all of the ingredients in your recipe (unless that’s the point of your content), but choosing one or two ingredients that will let your audience know what flavors to expect can really help.
Fun kitchen towels. These are some of my favorite easy food photography props. Adding kitchen towels can bring nice pops of color or additional texture to your photos. Both solid and patterned towels are great options to have on hand.
Cutting boards. These are great for adding height, and different colors and textures. I have several cutting boards with different grains and stains so I can bring them in for some contrast as needed. Really big boards make appetizers or cheese platters look incredible.
Measuring spoons and cups. Especially if they’re more on the decorative side! If you’re showing an ingredient in a smaller amount, or if it’s a finer, more delicate ingredient, showing it in a measuring spoon works really well. I love my collapsible measuring cups and spoons (similar), but they aren’t the prettiest for food photography props. A set like these will probably look cleaner—but it depends on the vibe you’re going for, of course!
Baking sheets/pans/skillets. These look especially cool if they’re a little worn or have some wear and tear. Adds some rustic personality! Presenting your food in the vessel in which it was cooked or baked saves you the step of slicing and plating, and is a really natural way to display it. Muffins in a muffin tin, cornbread in a cast iron skillet, cookies or sweet potato fries on a baking sheet… it just makes sense.
Cooling racks. I love using my cooling rack to add height to photos with smaller baked goods, like cookies, breads, or brownies. Plus, those items actually rest on the cooling rack, so I like photographing them on it as part of the process.
Cake stand. I’m still on the hunt for a full-sized cake stand. My mini cupcake-sized stand is great for adding height and hierarchy to photos featuring cupcakes, muffins, or bite-sized treats.
Fun mugs and drinkware. Different beverages call for different types of drinkware. I’m still building up my cocktail drinkware, but I’ve got julep cups and rocks tumblers, so I’ve got the basics. For most of my beverages, I like to shoot them in clear mugs and glasses so you can see the colors, textures, layers, etc. Decorative glasses and mugs are always fun for special occasions or holidays!
Toothpicks and skewers. If you make a lot of cocktails or beverages, toothpicks and skewers are great for garnishing. I bought these bamboo toothpicks a few months ago and they’ve been a nice touch to my cocktails.
If you want to keep reading, here are some great resources for food photography:
- 5 Food Photography Tips for Beginners (MasterClass)
- Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers
- Food Photography Basics from Sally’s Baking Addiction
- 9 Killer Tips for Year-Round Food Photography
- 6 Basic Composition Tips
What are some of your favorite food photography props?
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