Props are fun. I enjoy so much shopping beautiful kitchenware and I am guessing you too. But props are also a huge chapter and a key part when discussing food photography. They can help you transform a food picture and have the power to create beautiful food stories too. Building a solid props collection is a hard mission, that takes time to build, it depends on your budget and your finilised photography style, or identity.
Don`t be scared though, it`s a beautiful journey and from a personal experience, if you start slowly and take time to realise your needs, you can create a solid props collection that at the end of the day will make you happy and confident when shooting your food pictures.
Here are a few beginner tips, on how to create a basic props collection.
- Your home props. It is important to realise that you don`t have to spend a fortune on props, especially if you just started creating your food portfolio. If your budget is strict, search at your kitchen, your mom`s, or your grandmas. Plates, bowls, cups, utensils, linen that you already have, can help you start taking your food pictures and create the basis for your food photography portfolio. I was shooting for months by using my every day home props before start noticing what I would like to replace, what is missing, what fits my style.
2. Color and Shape. You do not need a ton of different style props, just a few key pieces that fit in your average food style. Neutral colors and minimal shapes are all you need and help a lot in highlighting the food, which at the end is all that matters. I have been in that place where at the end of a photoshoot I realise that my scenery is so full of inappropriate props, that food is lost in it. White, beize, grey or black depending on your photography style -moody or light- are perfect. Try to pick minimal designs and avoid the noicy ones that distract the viewer`s eye from food.
3. The number of your props. Two to three pieces of the same plate collection, cups and bowls is enough to start with. Choosing two to three plates of the same design and keep photographing your food on them, will help you to create a cohesive photography style.
4. The size of your props. When picking plates and bowls for your photoshoot, try using small sizes, specifically, the fruit plate size. It is more complementing from a cameras view and you can fit more of them in a picture. `
5. Cutting boards and linen. Cutting boards or wood props are fantastic alternative to plates or bowls. They work well as serving trays and create cosy, moody atmosphere. To start with cutting boards, choose two different sizes, also different in shape if possible. Linens are also important in food images and the logic of neutral color when choosing plates, applies here too. From my linen collection, I usually photograph with just two of them, my simple blue and white/beize striped.
6. Wooden boxes, jars, small bowls, pastry tools. It is important to have a few alternatives to plates or cutting boards, especially when you want to shoot ingredients. They are very economic to get, easy to find and a great way to complent them, are flowers. You probably already have most of them in your kitchen, so the only thing left to choose, is which one to use when.
7. Inspiration. If you need some further boost to inspire your thoughts on creating a props collection, you can check my pinterest board on Ingredients & Props.
Most of all, do not forget to enjoy the fun part of this beautiful journey!!