I’ve been asked the question - what are the best props to start with for food photography? It’s a question that really prompts me to consider what items in my collection get the most use.
Over the years, I’ve purchased items I was so excited about and used them once. Sometimes not at all if they simply didn’t end up looking the way I hoped they would in an image. It’s a mistake that has allowed me to better evaluate my purchases, stick to a budget, and keep my collection lean so props don’t completely overflow out of my home-studio.
I spent some time thinking about the core items I would have in my collection if I knew what I know now when I started out 10 years ago.
I’ve narrowed it down to the eight best beginner food photography props. These are pieces I use time and time again, but the variety is enough that I can create multiple, different images by rearranging these props on a selection of surfaces or boards.
Eight Best Beginner Food Photography Props
2- to 3-inch side dish
Natural, real linen napkin
1 supporting surface
The style and color you use for your props and where to get them is dependant upon your style of photography and the overall look (and feeling) you wish to produce.
Why these props? How would I use them? Read on.
These are two sizes that I use repeatedly depending on how much food I’m plating (a starter versus an entree). An 8-inch is the largest I go for plating meals.
This can be a small plate or bowl. I regularly use them to hold garnishes, sauces, salt, and pepper.
Soup, stew, ice cream. I choose one that will work with it all, and this is my favorite size.
I have an entire drawer full of linens (using the term broadly as a napkin for a shot). But the one I use over and over again is natural, real linen with a gray-tan hue. I have other colors, but I always come back to this one.
One spoon and one fork are really all you need to get started.
A supporting surface is simply a tool to switch things up with images. It’s most often a cutting board for me. But a larger ceramic platter, sheet pan, wooden plate, or even a shallow, flat basket will work, too.
There you have it. While I certainly don’t want to give away all my props. If you told me I had to and that I could only keep a handful of things, these eight would be it!
Need some creative inspiration? Grab a copy! A helpful guide with information that can be applied to all types of food and product photography!