Not too long ago I wrote about all where to find some essential food photography props. Now that I’ve also written on some of my favorite different backgrounds, I thought it would only be fitting to finish the little series with what I consider to be some of the essential props that you need.
I know, I probably should have written this one before where to find them… but such is life.
Over the few years of food blogging that I’ve done, I’ve amassed quite a collection of props. Nothing compared to some other bloggers but a large collection for my little house. Despite my seemingly large prop cabinet, I always tend to reach for the same few things over and over again. Things that I consider essentials for food blogging and photography.
Having props that are neutral and can work in a variety of situations will save you money, space, and keep your photos cohesive. It can also be more efficient since you only have a few things to work with.
Clear Drink Glasses
You can’t photograph a drink in a glass that’s opaque or frosted. It just won’t work. I mean, if you’re using it for a background prop then that’s fine but if the drink is the recipe then you need to be able to see it behind the glass.
I recommend trying to find something that doesn’t have too many decorations or glass distortions to it. Also, I recommend getting a tall set and a short, rocks glass type, set for different scenarios. Stemless wine glasses are also a great option for all types of drink posts. I’ve done smoothies and such in wine glasses.
Matte or Antique Flatware
You could also add gold to that but I’m not a fan of gold so I don’t buy it or use it for props. I do however hit up my local antique fair every year and get some fun antique flatware that has a nice patina to it. I’ve also picked up a set of matte black flatware from Target that I love.
You can also make your own matte flatware by taking some of your old stuff that you don’t use anymore and spraying it with clear, black, silver, or gold matte spray paint. I haven’t tried this yet but I think I am going to when we move and I invest in a new set for our kitchen. Right now we have such a mish-mash of stuff.
White Bowls and Plates
Once again the trick here is to find stuff that is matte or matte-ish so you’re not reflecting light back into the camera and creating glares on the plates. But minimalistic white bowls and plates are the perfect staple piece. The highlight the food perfectly and just make all the colors pop and look more vibrant.
Look for something smooth without too many ridges so it doesn’t distract you from the food. Also, don’t grab large dinner plates always get the small, salad plates, because the food fills the plate more and it just looks better.
Black Bowls and Plates
I’ve recently started shooting with black and I am in love. Sometimes the food, like pasta or a salad, just looks better in a black bowl because it’s more of a contrast than with a white plate. It all depends on what you’re shooting but black is a must have in my prop cabinet.
Neutral Napkins and Linens
Napkins and linens add a little bit of texture to your photograph and also add a bit of realness. They also add movement to the photograph by providing direction for your eye to go to.
You can use regular linen from Target or World Market (my fav) or you can just grab some cheesecloth from the grocery store and cut it to size.
I wrote a whole post here about all of my favorite food photography backgrounds but I wanted to mention it here again because it’s that important.
Some of my favorite shooting surfaces are the ones that I made myself and also the faux marble contact paper that I bought from Home Depot. Large cutting boards, slate tiles/slabs, and antique serving trays are also great for adding depth and texture.
There’s my list of favorite food photography props!
What are some of your favorites that you find yourself reaching for over and over again? Let me know in the comments below!