Here’s my problem: I overthink my food photography props & make things extra complicated.
BUT it shouldn’t be like that. I ALREADY have all the food photography & food styling props that I need.
Simple THINGS like black pepper & seeds can be a powerful food photography props.
Just a basic list as a reminder
This list here is the most basic food photography props list you could ever read. I know. I’m sure you are all familiar with this one and use these things all the time. However, I tend to forget simple things. For real. Sometimes I overthink and make things too complicated. Still, it should not be like that all the time.
Food Photography Styling Props vs Food Styling Props?*
#1 Food photography composition = guiding the viewer’s eye on the image.
#2 Food composition = guiding the viewer’s eye on the food itself.
#3 Food photography styling = making it mouthwatering, delicious & beautiful on the image.
#4 Food styling = making the food itself mouthwatering, delicious & beautiful.
*Read my post here. However, for SEO purposes I sometimes use the word food styling. Sry …🙄
I do love antique
Yes, I do like to explore the garage and attic to get some vintage food photography props. Therefore, I’m still obsessed with antique or online stores to get my food photography props.
I have Everything: It’s a Challenge
BUT sometimes I like to tell myself that I don’t need anything. I already have all the things I need, and I have to get out of my comfort zone and get creative. 😅 That’s why I try to challenge myself to work with the things I already have and remind myself this little list here.
MY 20 FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY PROPS
You’re invited: #1 Other People & #2 Your Hands
Yes, I know that it’s another “classic” Instagram CLICHÉ 😅 but including people to your images works. At least, that’s what the market research tells me. Viewers love to see the storyline and other people as “props”.
Yes, NAIL polish!
I need to confess. Sometimes I use nail polish JUST for food photography!? I bought a blue(ish) nail polish only for food photography.
Usually, I like my nails only on neutral colors such as nude or pink, BUT food photography is an exception. I’m quite sure that the reason is that I used to do ballroom dancing for almost all my life. Probably, I got tired of fancy nails.
Because I love #3 PETS
I’m sure you all have seen these kinds of images all around the Internet. However, you can always make your version.
About a year ago one of the agencies that I work with ordered images for dog cookies. Somehow it was perfect timing since I was “babysitting” my friends’ dogs. My favorite models!
#4 BackDROP: Less is More
That’s of the simplest thing in this list that I ALWAYS forget! I have to remind myself: “Less is more!” However, in these cases, I try to look for backdrops with texture (read my post about my DIY backdrops here).
Make it smart: #5 Newspapers & #6 Books
That reminds me I’m looking for some old rustic newspaper. Has anyone some idea where should I get that one?! I have been searching for it a little bit, but it’s always hard to find something with relevant text … Probably eBay or other online stores are my best solution here to find some food photography props. As always.
Simple things are the best: #7 Food INSIDE the dish + #8 Extra GARNISHES
My example list:
- Chili flakes
- Black pepper
- Salt flakes
- Green Leaves (such as mint, thyme, rosemary, dill, basil)
- Avocado or other vegetable decorations (flowers)
- Fruit (such as lemon & lime)
- Powdered sugar
- Salt flakes
- Nut butter
- Cocoa nibs
- Cocoa powder
- Fruit & Berries (+ frozen)
- Edible flowers
- Mint or other herbs
No strings attached: #9 Parchment paper + #10 Strings
Again, I look for interesting texture & colors for food photography props.
Sometimes I like to make that parchment paper a little bit crumpled or use some string to tell a story.
Because I have too many #11 Jars & #12 Bottles …
Still, I always forget that they even exist. Likewise, it’s perfect to show some great colors & layers.
#13 Ice: YES, its FAKE!
Yes, I know that in an ideal world the photography should be real. I try my best to do that & usually I never use fake food. However, sometimes I make an exception and use FAKE ICE. Real one melts TOO quickly, and I’m slow.
On the other hand, if I don’ t have fake ice, then I can find some real one in my freezer. In this image, I used real ice because I wanted to shoot frozen flowers. It was quite hard to work on that on a hot summer day!
Breakfast in bed? #14 Pillows & #15 Blankets
Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed, right?!
Okay, I prefer the dining table, but it’s still always so interesting to look at those cozy images. Also, the best part is that you don’t have to use a real bed for that one! 😅
Neutral colors: #16 Napkins & #17 Towels
I look for neutral colors for food photography props. I look for white, black, brown, grey or the same color as my food. As a result, my goal is to play around with the TEXTURE, shades, and HUE. For that reason, sometimes I try to use some mysterious light to get some hue or shades.
Usually, I avoid colorful patterns as food photography props (I like to concentrate on food). Still, there are exceptions, and it depends on my purpose. Here my job was to shoot this blue tableware with this napkin for the client. I tried to let that tableware shine and played around with similar food colors.
My weird shopping: #18 Comfy Jumpers & Cardigans
That’s one of my favorite ways to tell the story. At least I try.
To be honest, I need to confess. Again. Sometimes choose clothes only for my food photography! That’s right. Therefore, I have many white & grey jumpers that I like to switch all the time only for my food photography.😅
Instagram cliché: #19 Sneakers & #20 Legs
Yes, I know that it’s another “classic” Instagram cliché, but it works. Sometimes.
At least, that’s what some of the markets tells. Therefore, it’s simple but powerful for as a food photography prop. 😅
Market tells me
About two years ago I uploaded some of my images to different stocks (such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Depositphotos & Stock Food). As a result, this breakfast bowl image here is the most popular one. Furthermore, even though it’s an old image, it still makes me money when I’m sleeping.
Yes, I know that stock photography is not the best way to earn money nowadays. Right now I don’t upload images frequently. I can make more other ways. Still, I think that a few hundred dollars every month from old images are not bad.
I believe that it’s not about the money. First of all, when I started to get more serious with my photography, then it was great FEEDBACK. I learned A LOT, and it kept me motivated to practice photography every day.