If you’re starting a food blog it can feel horribly overwhelming. There’s so much to do! There’s the writing, the creating of recipes, the baking/cooking, the trial and error, the shopping and most stressful of all….the food photography. And along with that, how tf do you incorporate food props in your photos well?!
No one wants dingy photos that make your beautiful creations in real life but on camera look like they’re on their way to the trash. No bueno.
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Food props can really help your photos. While I am all for minimalist photos, (seriously, a lot of my photos are pretty minimal check them out here), sometimes your photo just needs *something*. Which is where food props really help out.
But does this mean you have to run out and buy a ton of random props that you *might* use in the future. Heck-ah no! You probably already have dozens of props chillin in your apartment.
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Food Props You Already Own
I would hope that you own dishes. If you don’t, what the heck do you eat off of?! Dishes are a super easy way to dress up a shot.
They’re probably the simplest food prop there is.
If you live in a small place and want some variety of your food prop dishes, you can do what I did in college out of necessity and now do because I love it. Buy your dishes from thrift shop and have very few matching ones. That way you’ll have endless dish combinations and your photos always look fresh and new.
Chalk boards, letter boards, and other signs can help give your photo extra personality. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and with a board you can add some extra words.
I love using mine to make food puns because I am that person. But bad puns are just part of who I am, so they help my personality shine through my photos.
When you’re creating a food blog, having your personality shine through is so important because as we all know there’s a bajillion food blogs out there, thus it’s important to have your audience connect with you on a more personal level. So the solution: message boards.
When you go to make a recipe, have some extras of the recipe. That way when you’re photographing, you can add those to the shot. This almost makes one photo feel like a completed story as you can see what went in the recipe from beginning to end. Plus, it gives it that homemade feeling.
Marble boards are pretty, bright, and durable. I absolutely love using mine as a smaller background for clean, contrasting photos. See the photo above? Yeah, that’s on my marble pastry board from World Market
Plenty of backdrops
Poster board, wrapping paper, blankets, a wooden table, contact paper, etc all create really cool and interesting backgrounds for your food photos. Even some old cookie sheets can make a really nice looking moody backdrop.
Cutting boards + Cloth
Placemats, cloth napkins, cutting boards, table runners break up your photos and give it more dimension.
They also make them look more human which helps your audience connect with the photo better. If they connect, they’re more likely to recreate your recipe, follow you, or give you the outcome you are looking for.
I know that sounds crazy, but human psychology is crazy, bro.
Just like with ingredient food props, wooden spoons give your photos that classic homemade look.
Pots, pans, + utensils
Similar to wooden spoons, adding in utensils or pans that make sense for the photo can give your photo a little extra umph. (is that even a word)?
Having cookie scoops posed next to your edible cookie dough, a lime juicer next to your tacos, or a cast iron skillet next to your skillet brownie is a great way to kind of show the process of your creations while also giving your photos some extra life.
If you do go out searching for some cool utensils for fresh food props, check out antique shops and thrift shops because they’ll always surprise you with cool and unique things.
Some of the best eye-catching photography are the photos with different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures in them. Which makes jars your best friends. Seriously, I collect all the free ones I get from pasta sauces and the cheap ones from the thrift shops.
Fun tip: Jars also are great to give gifts in. Seriously, everyone loves to receive consumable gifts and jars are the best way to give them.
Random craft supplies make awesome props. Ribbons, twine, construction paper, wrapping paper, etc. they all make interesting props that look cute and easily give your photos an extra pop of color and add personality to your picture.
Sprinkles are my fav. That may just be because I’m an annoyingly bubbly baker who thinks that everything needs more color and flare. But there is no denying that sprinkles are great to give your baked goods some extra festive flare.
Think about a milkshake with a towering spiral of whipped cream. It’s great. But when you add some sprinkles to that whipped cream….WHOA! Now that’s a milkshake..
Food is a powerful tool to invoke emotions. Creating a feeling with your photos builds trust and comfort with your audience. People want to see things that make them feel good. And for many of us, a homemade vibe creates feelings of coziness, comfort, nostalgia, and love. All of those are good things to feel.
Your props should help you build those connections with your audience’s feelings and memories. They don’t have to be complicated, expensive, or obscure. You probably already have most (if not all) of what you need to enhance your photos and start invoking those emotions from your audience!
See you soon, friends!
xoxo – Angel