Cheap prop ideas to use in food photography

Your blog pictures are starting to resemble those cheesy sixth grade school portraits, and you want to step up your glossy shot game. However, just because you are getting more traffic than your local expressway, doesn’t mean you have the production design budget of a Delish photo shoot.

Not to worry. There are simple and inexpensive ways to make your food look world-class without taking out a loan. In fact, you may already have these items in your home. Here are some ideas to bump up your blog pics in a snap.

Porcelain floor tiles

If you want people to think that you live in a Greek temple, you can give that impression with only a few square feet. A Beautiful Plate suggests heading over to your local home improvement store and picking out a few ceramic or porcelain floor tiles, which aren’t going to be much more than $5 per tile. You can choose marble designs in pink, white or grey hues. If you prefer a terracotta or glazed finish, the tiled world is your oyster. Just be careful when moving them around that you don’t drop them. No one wants to sacrifice a toe in the name of a good food picture.

Mason jars

Jars have had a resurgence as of late as everyone seems to use them in their DIY/artisanal wedding decor. Still, you can make your blog come to life by using these down-home-looking jars as your backdrop, or to contain the food you are displaying. Melissa Hartfiel points out that they are a popular way to serve up a dessert, no “plating” required.

Parchment paper

A roll of brown parchment paper is a good neutral background. Roll out the desired amount as a canvas for your food objets d’art. Nourish Nutrition likes to use it a bit crumpled as a way to add more texture to the scene. If parchment isn’t handy, you can always use a brown paper grocery bag for the same desired effect — and those come with the food you are purchasing. Way to be extra frugal! You and your wallet come off looking good.

Wooden cutting board

The element of wood adds a natural look to your food — plus, people can imagine themselves prepping the meal you are presenting when they see it laid out on a cutting board. Consider it subliminal set dressing. Creative Live likes using a cutting board because it gives the follower the sense that you are in the middle of cooking the meal and you are taking them along for the culinary ride.

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Food for thought. 📷 @mariesaba

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Antique plates

Nothing says home cooking like pulling out Grandma’s plates. It reminds you of cozy homemade soup, fresh-baked cookies, and those casseroles that fed the family for days. There are many different ways you can display your good eats with antique crockery. Mismatched dishes and teacups with delicate floral patterns can make a dish look homemade and folksy, or elegant and classy. Melissa Hartfiel likes to feature pitchers in the background of her photos. If you don’t have any comely crockery hand-me-downs, flea markets and yard sales are a great place to find cool plates and dishes.

Linen napkins

Sometimes you just need to lay your food creations down in sheets of linen like the tiny dancers that they are. Mismatched linen napkins are a great way to showcase your treats and act as a literal backdrop. Bluprint suggests using them flat or folding them in place for more texture. Even a stack of folded napkins behind an item — a wall of linen — can be a great visual to pair your meal with.

Other oddities

If you are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, then think of adding other objects besides just the plate and your food. Broma Bakery takes full advantage of antique shops, yard sales and any place with old discarded kitchen items that may look interesting. For about $10-20, you can pick up some tin pie plates with patina, a vintage flour sifter, a well-worn scale, old-timey egg beaters, aged salt and pepper mills, and other items that will give your photos a flavor as original as the food you cook.

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