Everyday Items That Can Be Used As Food-Styling Props

When food bloggers first start out, it is often the case that they are loath to part with any more cash than is necessary.  With the setup fees that come with your blog, any courses you decide to take, photography equipment to purchase, and all that fresh food to prep, cook and garnish, the last thing you want is to be forking out 😉 on expensive food-styling props as well.

Luckily, today’s post deals with exactly that problem.  Guest blogger Deepika from Easy Baby Meals has put together this great list for you of 10 food-styling props that you can find around the house, that will take your photos up a notch without hurting your wallet.  Bonus: most of them are totally FREE as you already have them!

You can find Deepika @Deepika.Haldankar on Instagram-https://www.instagram.com/deepika.haldankar/, where she shares her food photography adventures.  Thanks, Deepika, for your post! 

Food photography is a beautiful and delicious field. The deeper you dive in, the more fulfilling it is. For me, food photography is my path to creative expression. I have been doing it for almost 4 years now. The one thing that I have learned is it demands your constant dedication, food (of course) and handy props.

using everyday items as food-styling props
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I have a food blog dedicated to baby, kids, and family-friendly food ideas and recipes. Since my main focus is on baby food, I don’t use too many props in my shoots. For me, being minimalist in food styling is my goal, since my main focus area is just the recipe and the ingredients in it.

When I started my food blog, I shared recipes which I made for my baby. So most of the props used in my shoot were her bibs, feeding spoons, cups, and food, and at times her toys. My point here is that you don’t need to have fancy props and spend a ton of money to make your pictures beautiful. Just take a close look at your kitchen and your house; you have props laying all around you.

Everyday Items and Household food-styling Props

Today I am sharing with you ten household props that you can use to take your food photography to the next level. You’ve probably had them in your house forever but you’ve not necessarily thought to use them in this way, which makes them totally FREE! So let’s dig in.

#1 Papers

Simple papers like wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, parchment paper or even a newspaper can make an excellent prop for your food photography. In the picture above, the green background is scrapbook paper.  Take a look in your cupboards – or borrow some from your kids!

#2 Cupcake Liners, Paper Straws, Paper Sprinkles

At some point in time, we all have bought the articles mentioned above, whether we are food bloggers or not. I am sure they must some laying somewhere in your kitchen. Just hunt for them and store them in your props box. They make an excellent background or addition.

#3 Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are one of the most essential tools in our kitchens. This everyday item can make a strong background for your food photo as well. We have cutting boards available in various textures (wood, glass, marble, stone, just to name the few) and it depends on how you want to incorporate it into your food shoot. In the above picture, I have used my wooden cutting board as a background. Pro tip: I turned the cutting board over so no cutting marks are visible!

#4 Baking Sheets

We all have baking sheets, and sometimes a lot of them. But these sheets of metal make a fantastic background and prop for your food; due to their rustic look and dark color, they really make the food stand out and POP.  Just take a look at any dark food photography on Pinterest to see what I mean.

#5 Kitchenware (dishes, bowls, cups, utensils, and silverware)

All the kitchenware articles mentioned above are an essential part of our day to day life. Incorporating them into our food shoot can be easy, but I would suggest that it’s good practice to keep one or two dishes, cups or silverware in your prop box. This will help in retaining their new luster and won’t make them look used in the picture. No one wants to see a dull dish or bowl from everyday use.  Better still, pick a few favourite items that can make up your “signature look”.

#6 Fabric (Napkins, Linen, Scrap Cloths, Scarfs, Jute)

We all have some kind of fabric in our house, stored away in an airing cupboard somewhere. All the ones mentioned above are part of my collection. I have used all of these in my food photography – yes, even the scarves too. When used correctly they make a beautiful prop and background. Above is an example of a photo background made with my scarf.

#7 Foliage (Real And Fake)

I use both real and fake foliage in my food photography all the time. It is easily available, and I can match it to the theme I am going for. You can do it too. An example can be the picture mentioned in the fabric section. The flowers used in the picture are fake.  Or why not use eucalyptus in a Christmas shot or red leaves in the autumn/fall?

#8 Seasonal Decor

We all have seasonal decor items in our collections, such as Christmas baubles, Easter chicks, Halloween masks etc., and you can use some of those as props for your food images. Strategically placing them in the background can enhance your shot and suggest the time of year instantly.  In a sea of Pinterest search results, these will make your pictures stand out.

#9 Recipe Ingredients

As a food blogger, you know your own recipes well, and it’s the ingredients in the recipe are the best props you can find. Just place them around your shot – a quartered lemon here, a sprinkling of pistachios there. They will tell your readers what the recipe is about and also make it look more tempting.

#10 Yourself

Last but not least, YOU are the best prop for your food shot, just holding a tray full of delicious cookies or pouring a glaze over the cake. Your hands in the shot can create magic. Setting your camera on a tripod and using a timer on your camera can yield some of the fantastic shots of you in the picture. For instance, that’s me in the above shot. I have set the camera on a tripod and used a timer to click the shutter.  Pro tip: make sure your hands and nails look great before shooting!

Over to you!

Isn’t this quite a list? And it’s only the beginning. But it just goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune on collecting props for your food photography; you have them all around you. You just need to take a deeper look.

I hope this list will be useful to you in your journey of food blogging and food photography.

‘Til then, happy cooking and clicking, Deepika.

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