We get a lot of emails about where we’ve purchased certain items from in our food photography to advice on what/how to style. So, we thought we’d put a little blog post together with a few of our answers! Back in 2013 we published a blog post with our food photography tips. We meant to work on a few extra related posts, but we’ve found ourselves so busy over the past few years that we haven’t found the time. Anyway, here are our tips for choosing food photography props and tableware!
Our top tips for choosing food photography props!
01: It’s all about branding!
Firstly, if your food photography is all done under a company name then make sure you reflect your own branding… so match your props! Our company colours are white, gold and pink, which we stick to when buying tableware. To be honest those colours have pretty much taken over both of our lives. We can often be found eyeing up an otherwise nice mug, albeit silver etc, wishing it were white/pink/gold. Even our toiletries and make-up brands have to be in our company colours!
02: Shop around, but know your regular haunts
One of our tips for choosing food photography props is to know where to start looking. We often see an unexpected gem catch our eye when we’re out and about running various errands. Recently, we couldn’t get over the stunning range at Tesco called Fox and Ivy which is definitely on our wishlist! Every so often, however, we like to sit (when we have a spare minute to two) online and check our usual favourite places.
H&M is one of the places we stop first! They’ve had an amazing run of collections for the past couple of years. Lots of golds, white, marble pieces, copper accents, sequins. All our tea towels and printed fabrics are from H&M (like the gold leaf print, blush pink with white dots and grey patterned ones to the left above). The chic gold rimmed tumbler glasses below? Also an H&M find… as well as the quirky golden swan vase and small marble tray in some of the other snaps.
Bombay Duck is another favourite homeware label. They manage to straddle fancy and… quirky, which we both love. We use their Smitten tea set in blush pink (above) for all of our wedding consultations and we often find ourselves sending over their website to couples who want to know where it’s from! We also have their black and gold #weekend mugs and monogram polkadot mug too!
Wedgwood is a classic tableware and ceramics company that we often wishlist. We have a lot of their pieces from a floral painted butterdish, and various jasperware plates from our favourite baroque range by Jasper Conran.
03: Find and establish your style
It’s easy to go a little crazy and just buy everything in sight to fit a number or photography setting scenarios. You may shoot a super modern dessert one day and then want to go rustic the next. This is great if your sole work is food photography for other companies. Another of our tips for choosing food photography props is that you’ll need to establish your own look and stick to it.
We like our images to look sleek, fancy yet fun with the main focus on the treat or cake itself though sometimes a great print will call out to us. Back in the day we experimented with styling and ended up over-dressing our ‘sets’. These days we opt for clean white pieces, some with gold accents, some with an interesting yet plain shape or pattern. We don’t want any of the tableware to overpower an image so no one actually notices what we’ve created! With that in mind play around. Good styling can make a bold print work wonders!
The above set of plates are by Royal Albert which are part of their collaboration with Miranda Kerr! We love the eye-catching colours and gorgeous peony prints!
04: Look for the unusual
Sometimes the nicest pieces you’ll use aren’t even meant to be tableware! The cool geometric textured canister above? It’s a glass truffle box from Marks and Spencer. Keep your eyes peeled and your options open! We’ve even styled with craft glitter, loose sequins, washed out candle jars, and ornate photo frames laid flat like plates. We’ve used make-up pieces and Christmas ornaments to set a scene too. It’s an odd thing really. Some things that don’t make sense in real life look amazing and not odd at all in a photograph. At the end of the day you need to tell a story. A cupcake photographed next to a laid down decorative framed mirror and scattered glitter says party time!
Lastly, one of the first and most important things you learn in art school (or should learn) is that your negative space matters just as much as your positive. Basically, balance is essential. You easily make something fussy and over-done look stylish with a few good pieces. Consider what you’re using and how. If you have a cup with a distinctive pattern that you’re using to shoot macarons balance this with some slight texture (maybe marble or white sequin cloth) and lots of clean colour!
So there’s our tips for gathering up whatever props you may need for stylish food photography. Hopefully, we’ve covered some of the essential basics. It’s pretty fun (and nerdy)… we get excited about fancy mugs or a nice new plate so it’s easy to go crazy. We always say to each other that we need to be ruthless with prop selection. If we’re not thinking about it later then we won’t be thinking about it when we’re shooting too!