Do you want to learn more about photographing food? Here are our favorite food photography props and backdrops, plus tips on where to shop!
Do you love taking photographs of food?
Are you trying to earn a living from your food photography?
Whether you’re interested in becoming a food blogger, a commercial food photographer, or even if you’re learning food photography just for fun, you might want to invest in some food photography props.
This is a collection of our favorite props and backdrops, including tips for prop-shopping online and in-person.
Food Photography Backdrop Boards
As you’re learning how to photograph food, one thing will quickly become clear.
You need a backdrop. Or likely, many backdrops.
Over the years, I’ve tried lots and lots of different types of backdrops.
DIY photo backdrop options
Early on, I tried to make my own photo backdrops.
These DIY options are great if you’re just starting out, if you’re on a tight budget, if you’re extremely handy and your DIY projects usually turn out well, or if you’re looking for something extremely specific.
First, I tried using fabric, such as sheets or large scarves (shawls), that I already owned. It worked, but I wanted more options.
Next, I bought 1-foot squares of linoleum tiling at my local Home Depot. This also worked, but gave a really limited shooting area.
I also painted my own backdrops with paint and plywood.
I loved those boards, but will admit that the supplies were more expensive than I anticipated. I’m not sure how much money I saved.
Other DIY options include using pieces of wood, marble pastry boards, or other found objects as backgrounds.
Keep in mind that some of these options (especially the marble pastry board) will be extremely heavy and difficult to move around.
My Favorite Pre-Made Backdrops
When my DIY painted backdrops began to look a little worn, I knew I didn’t have the energy for a DIY solution.
Instead, I wanted to buy photo backdrops that were ready to use.
After some trial and error, I found my favorite backdrops (and bought a bunch of them).
I highly recommend Bessie Bakes photography backdrops. They’re foam boards, but extremely realistic.
They’re also lightweight, stain-resistant, large enough to do flat-lay photography scenes, and are relatively affordable.
If you need a way to attach the boards, I (sometimes) use these SnapIt brackets to wedge two boards together at a 90-degree angle. But sometimes I just prop another board up with a stool or chair.
(Faux) Tile Boards
Bessie Bakes photography backdrops include some of the most realistic-looking faux-tile boards I’ve seen.
I currently own the Moroccan tile, a subway tile and the hexagon tile boards.
Pay attention to your lighting when using these boards, because there are shadows already on the tiles.
(Faux) Wood Boards
Bessie Bakes photography backdrops also carries faux-wood boards, and I’ve really enjoyed using these also!
Solid Boards with (Faux) Texture
Sometimes it’s nice to have a board that’s not so busy.
It lets the food shine!
Food Photography Tableware
As you practice your food photography, you’ll likely find that you need to purchase dishes specifically for photos.
“Blank Canvas” Dishes
If you’re just getting started, I recommend building a base collection of white, matte-finished dishes.
White dishes tend to be the easiest for food photography.
In general, round dishes are easier to photograph than square or rectangular dishes. That’s not a rule, though, just something to be aware of.
I find it easiest to use slightly smaller than average dishes for photos. I like to swap a salad plate for a dinner plate or a dip bowl for a soup bowl.
To buy dishes in person, check out the Better Homes and Gardens line of dishes at Walmart, the Threshold line of dishes at Target, or check out Ikea’s line of dishes.
You might be able to find these dishes available online, but I’ve noticed they’re often “not available for shipping.”
You can also, of course, find white dishes on Amazon.
Dishes with Personality
Once you’ve collected a basic set of prop dishes, try branching out and collecting dishes with some personality.
These dishes could possibly distract from the food in the photo, and might also be more recognizable if you use them repeatedly.
That said, I still like to collect more distinctive prop dishes to make the photos more interesting.
My favorite type of prop dishes are speckled ceramics or dishes with irregular edges.
To find these types of dishes in person, check second-hand stores (like Goodwill), overstock stores (like Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls).
I also like to find unique dishes from World Market, Anthropologie or the Home and Hearth with Magnolia line at Target.
For ordering online, I usually check on Amazon.
Food Photography Flatware
Finally, the flatware.
I like to keep a few sets of decorative flatware on hand.
Sometimes these forks and spoons aren’t especially comfortable to actually eat with, but they look gorgeous in photos.
That said, if you’re using smaller plates and bowls, you might want to get some appetizer-size flatware. I often use small forks and spoons in photos instead of full-size!
What are your favorite food photography props? Let me know in the comments!