Are you looking to build a prop collection or want to add new items, but you do not know what to invest in? We have compiled a list of props that we think every food stylist or photographer should own.
As you go through this list, remember that the nicest serve ware, dinnerware, and glassware should be neutral-themed and coloured. They must also be non-reflective as they are easier to photograph. Neutral colours will generally go unnoticed by the consumer and will work for any colour palette, allowing you to use the same props repeatedly. Hello, cost efficiency!
1. Wooden Boards
The first prop on our list is a gorgeous wooden board. We love an excellent ol’ rustic wooden chopping board. It adds a layer of dimension and allows you to add depth to your photos. Plating food on a plate that sits on these boards and your backdrop creates a superb layered aesthetic that will keep your audience engaged.
Plus, these surfaces help you narrate a story. For example, if you want to showcase the process shots of your pasta dish, place your basil and tomatoes on a wooden board on the side of the finished bowl of pasta. And lastly, since these boards take up space and add weight to a photo, they can function as the focal point of your frame.
2. Metal Racks
Every time we shoot a baked dish, or cookies, for example, a prop that we love using is metal cooling racks. They add a rustic vibe like nothing else. They occupy a large part of the frame and show off the dish superbly. We suggest you go for circular or rectangular wire or metal cooling racks in your shots.
3. Clay Ceramics
Ceramic and clay finished clay tableware is our go-to staple for food photography props. Some of the biggest distractions in food photography are reflections. You sure would not want those pesky bright spots taking all the attention from your food.
Avoid props with shiny surfaces that reflect light, or you might find your reflection in a food shot that would have been otherwise perfect. Save valuable time and resources in adjusting your studio lights and limit post-processing by choosing props with matte finishes.
It might be tempting to pair your food with intricately patterned china. They are highly eye-catching but do not photograph well because they are not matte. And plates with solid characters and patterns can take away from your photograph and may result in consumers asking where the leaves are from rather than focusing on your masterpiece.
If you are using bowls, opt for wide and shallow bowls. You would be able to plate salads or mains beautifully and showcase every ingredient. Or, if you want to use plates, use quarter plates. That way, you can use multiple settings and do group shots too.
4. Fake Ice Cubes
Now, these are ingenious. Fake ice cubes are probably the best props to invest in if you shoot a lot of cocktails or drinks. Real ice cubes are hard to work with, even if you are a seasoned photographer. By the time you set up your frame and do a few test shots, you have a glass of cold water that makes your drink look diluted. We swear by getting high-quality fake ice cubes that look great in photos sans the mess
5. Leaves and Artificial Plants
Plants, leaves, and flowers add life to any frame. Place a floral bouquet or a potted succulent as an incidental prop to give your composition fresh energy. We recommend using seasonal flowers or plants and leaves in a particular colour or pattern to match the scene. We also use artificial stalks of leaves to add shadows. Artificial plants are great when they are blurred in the background.
These are some of the props that we love using for our food shots, and we believe they would be excellent additions for upping your food photography game.
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My name is Sohail Nath and I welcome you to my happy place, @boy.eatsworld.
This blog, my creativity’s nest covers travel inspirations, authentic yet homemade recipe and food blogs.