Do you have a tripod? A tablecloth and some flowers? If so, congratulations! You are already halfway to taking amazing food photos in your home. Next, I’ll show you 15 food photography props that will make your photos even better – all of which you most likely already have at home.
As we know, food means different things depending on who you ask. Food is sustenance, food is love, and food can provide comfort and happiness. In America, 30.33 million individuals used at least one baking mix in 2020, and 1.82 million Americans used 7 or more.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum of baking mix user or chef expertise, I’m sure you’ve experienced salivating over beautiful shots of food photos. Today, we’re diving into 15 food photography props you probably have at home.
We’ve also explored How to Find The Perfect Props for Your Food Photography via thrift stores, flea markets, and vintage shopping, so get started with today’s ideas while you plan your next shopping trip.
Wrapping paper isn’t just for gifts or holidays! Paper can serve as the perfect backdrop or table covering in your food pictures. Of course, you may want to save the reindeer paper for holiday-inspired bakes or the “Happy Birthday” paper for a specially baked cake.
But if you have any other assortment of cute or elegant wrapping paper, these are perfect for various backdrop creations and even a small size patchwork of paper stacks to create depth in a photo.
Parchment paper is also an easily overlooked prop that can add texture to a photo while cementing the viewer in a lived-in kitchen. Don’t be afraid to use bits of paper that may have gotten wrinkled in the bake! It provides great visual interest when you have fresh from the oven items sitting on baked parchment paper. I love how the parchment turns into very light brown paper. It’s an easy way to direct your viewer’s attention to a specific place in the photo.
Seasonal Decorations as Props
While wrapping paper comes in countless styles and designs, seasonal decorations are perfect, too, for themed bakes. Classic gingerbread can galavant with snowmen statues, and zombie cupcakes can sit alongside prop pumpkins. With the right props, you could easily take care of all your holiday photos. One of my personal favorites is a stuffed easter bunny holding cookies or candy.
Have you considered your dish towels, or a tea towel, as more than a tool to keep your hands clean and dry? Of course, this won’t work if you’re currently reusing scraps for towels, but an elegant dish towel can serve a dual purpose as a backdrop for your food photos.
Fold your cloth napkins with neutral colors into a square or rectangle and place your plate of food on top for a more three-dimensional shot.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
What baker doesn’t have or want a classy, beautiful set of measuring cups and spoons? These gorgeous kitchen tools make the perfect food photography props.
If you have a few, these serve as multi-functional tools and props. For example, you can fan out spoons aesthetically or leave a cloud of flour sprinkled in a cup for a more lived-in feel.
Paper straws are not only good for the environment but are aesthetically pleasing, too. These are easy to incorporate if you’re taking photos of delicious drinks. If it is a summer drink, you might want to seek out bright colors on the straws.
But even if you’re focusing on food, adding a glass of ice water with a lemon slice and paper straw is beautiful, too.
From affordable coasters meant to save tables from stains to beautiful artisan coasters crafted by Etsy sellers, any coaster can serve as a beautiful food photography prop. Use these as standalone props or arrange them to make a collage backdrop. Depending on colors and design, you can really let your personal style come through with these.
Twine can surprisingly give a vintage and lived-in look to any food photo. Most commonly used to bind meat in the kitchen, you can aesthetically use butcher’s twine to create twisted designs or tie asparagus or other greens together. This is one of my favorite props.
What’s baking without a tray? Sometimes a food shot straight out of the oven, tray-included, is the best. You can also arrange trays together for a textured backdrop or background setting. I like to find my baking trays from my local thrift store. It ensures it has a used look instead of a nice and shiny never been used tray.
Who doesn’t love a beautiful mason jar? Set these up in the background next to a sunny window, and you’ll be able to manipulate some great natural light for a glowing effect on your baked goods. They are also a great option to display flowers for your photograph.
Okay, yes, this one is a little out there…as in outside! But nothing beats a classic green leaf or nature shot. So grab a few leaves from outside, rinse them in your sink, and you’ll have a forest fairy garden-themed shoot in no time. Alternatively, any plants you have indoors, including fake ones, are creative ways to get an extra splash of color and freshness.
Just be wary about getting these too close to the food!
Sometimes, we look at a knife or food set in a store and think…is that what I think it is?
But whether it’s a super chunky fork or a lace-patterned spoon, unique sets of kitchen utensils can make the perfect prop in food photoshoots. You can even pick one piece in particular to be a regular Easter egg in your shots.
Cutting boards, unique or not, are also extremely handy backdrops and surfaces for food photos. One of the easiest food photos to take is a simple shot from above, looking down on your cutting board and surrounding countertop! I’m a fan of wooden cutting boards, I love the texture and grain of the wood, and they don’t take up a lot of storage space.
Crumbs & Purposeful Messes
Messes are time-consuming and disappointing, but sometimes beautiful. I know, there’s nothing like a pristine and clean workstation. But the thought of a slightly flour-covered countertop and honey-covered spoon is also the promise of something delicious to come.
Take a look at some of your messes from behind the camera, and you might find the perfect creator’s touch for your next photo. For chefs, it’s a good idea to make more than one serving of a dish or pair your dishes with sides, like a slice of baguette or a small salad on simple plates.
Finally, probably the best prop for your food photography is other food! Because why have one good dish when you could have 15?
For bakers, this is a bit easier to accomplish with recipes that include multiple servings: you can use cake slices in the backgrounds for your main subject, the cake, and pies the same way. You can also rotate items between being the focus of a shot and in the background. This can give you a beautiful photography series of each item and give viewers a taste for your range.
Food Photography Props without the Cost
No matter where you are in your food photography journey, you likely have plenty of beautiful food photography props that you can repurpose to get started. A pile of napkins, some bowls, and a few cookie cutters in your kitchen, all simple items that really make your food photography stand out. With the help of these simple items, you’re halfway to being on your way to becoming an Instagram-famous food photographer! Ready to learn more about food photography techniques and even explore our deliciously baked recipes? Read more here on SerenaLissy.com.
Five Day Food Photography Challenge
Want to take your food photography up a notch?
I’ve been photographing food for years and have learned some tricks of the trade. Join me on this 5-day challenge where you’ll learn how to master the art of food photography, one bite at a time. You’ll be amazed by what you can do with just a few simple tips. You will learn how to make your photos pop with color, texture, and lighting. Sign up today!
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