Food photography tips · Photography · Useful

Food photography props


Since I start taking food photos I had a problem with the props. At first, was difficult to find the right bowl or plate, background or cutlery for the photo. After seeing a lot of photos on the web, I was so desperate to find not only props but also good props. I was looking in all the shops around my town, but nothing made me happy. And then, I discovered 2 second hand shops. It was like paradise for me. I manage to find a lot of great old things and the most important thing, very cheap.

My husband still makes jokes about this, but I am a happy person. We have in the kitchen 2 or 3 sets of tea and one of plates, but in rest, everything is different. Different color, shape,texture,size, but we got use to this.


You can find props on the internet: eBay,Etsy or your own country sites. You will be surprise what people will sell online.

Don’t forget about the flea market. If you have something like that around your house go and check it out. If you hear about a yard sale, go and check it out. Ask your friends or family. There are some treasures hiding in their houses. Never be afraid to ask. You will be surprise that people will be happy to help you, even with information.


For the table cloth check the stores, your grand mother or mother closet. Use pieces of old shirts or skirts, blankets or anything that you like.  Take everything, because you never know when you gone use it.

You will need to have:

– Wood, metal, colorful surfaces. The more the better.

– Linen fabrics. Different colors and textures.

– Plates and bowls. Different colors and textures.

– Cutlery. You don’t need a full set. 2 or 3 of each kind will be O.K. at the begging

– Chopping boards. Different sizes and colors. Check the ones that your family doesn’t use them anymore

– Baskets. Any material will do: wood,paper,plastic,metal,etc

– Fake greens/ plants. It will help you to establish the mood even when you shoot inside.

I firmly believe that you don’t need lots of fancy equipment to take great food photos. Just a few simple junk drawer tools can truly make your food pop

– nonstick cooking spray – restores that glow  and allows the food to catch the light a little bit better.

– white flower sake towels – having a white towel in your photos gives you a definite white point that you can use to accurately set your white balance in editing.

–  stained cookie sheets – use it as background

– parchment paper – use it as background because you will have a great texture in your photo

– hand mirror – for bouncing the light

– white printer paper – use it as a small reflector

– clean cardboard shoe box – great background

– sheer white curtains or white t-shirt –  can be used to soften harsh light and create more of a soft glow

Good luck shopping!!!!



51 thoughts on “Food photography props

  1. Great tips especially the backgrounds! Funny I just arrive home from Value Village with props to start using in my photos. Definitely hitting the local flea market and it is garage sale season around here. Happy hunting!

  2. My husband thinks Im crazy too with all the food props! We have a giant thrift store down the street from us here in Germany that sells all of its plates and glasses separately for about 20 cents a piece. I’ve found so many beautiful antique things for cheap!

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  4. Some great advice here, I love visiting charity shops, you never know what you’ll find, one of my favourite purchases has been a crystal basket that I picked up for 50p

  5. I love thrift stores except for the old dust smells, I hate that. I like to set the table for friends with my thrift store mismatched plates and glassware. That way I can justify buying more because, “it’s for company honey”. Ha ha

  6. We love shopping thrift stores for props for our photos. Since we are still rather new at this we don’t have a lot, but these are some great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  7. What do you mean by the following statement:
    “white flower sake towels – having a white towel in your photos gives you a definite white point that you can use to accurately set your white balance in editing”?
    I’m very new at trying to photograph food. Just trying to get a decent shot for my recipes! Thanks so much!

  8. Thanks for publishing this! I am starting a business, don’t know a thing about making people want to eat the brochure/ computer screen my products are pictured on, and will likely be working with amature photographers initially. Your guide is a great starting place for creating a professional look!

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