The 10 Best Food Photography Props to Improve Your Food Photos

I get asked a lot of questions about my food photography and wanted to share with you a few of the food photography props that I use to make my food photography pop. I truly believe that you do not need to spend a fortune on expensive props and studio equipment; all you need is a few pieces to make your photos stand out. Chances are you already have all of these food photography props hanging around in your kitchen already! ?

#1 – Parchment Paper

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Of all the food photography props I use, parchment paper is the one I use the most. You'll see it in my photos under glasses, on top of and under plates, lining ice cream trays and baking dishes, and used in place of napkins. It's an easy way to add texture and depth to a photo without being distracting.

I like to hand tear the size I need to avoid the too clean cut edges. I also always crumple it up into a ball and then smooth it out, so it has a softer texture.

#2 – Beer Caps and Wine Corks

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

I keep these four items in a little bin of random food photography props, and I reach for them frequently. A few scattered beer caps work great for casual shots of pub food or spicy food. They help create the feeling that the meal is being eaten, not just showcased.

#3 – Pepper

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Fresh ground pepper is my second most commonly used food photography prop. I sprinkle a little on top of most savory food shots and make sure to get some on the plate and the background board. It's subtle, but I find without it my photos feel like they're missing something.

#4 – Tiny Bowls

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Tiny bowls make great food photography props, and you probably have a number sitting in your cupboards already. I fill them with dipping sauces, extra glaze, nuts or seeds that I have sprinkled on top of the dish, or even some flaky sea salt for added texture.

#5 – Lemons and Limes

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Lemons and limes make their way into a lot of my photos. If the recipe calls for lemon or lime juice you'll almost always see one in the picture. They're a simple food photography prop that adds a pop of color and helps to show how the final dish will taste. Try slicing them in different ways, squeezing a slice to give a ‘meal in progress' look, or adding a slice in a water glass.

#6 – Newspapers

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

You don't often see newspapers used as food photography props, but can really make a photo pop. I like using them to set a morning scene for breakfast recipes. They would also be great for a casual fish and chips shot.

#7 – Cooking Spray

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

I wanted to buy the organic oil in the pretty bottle to take a picture to show you, but this is the actual bottle from my pantry. It's glamorous, I know. Sometimes when a dish sits for even a few minutes, it can start to look dull. Cooking spray is a great way to add a little shine to make a dish look fresh out of the oven.

Do be careful when spraying it as it has a tendency to shine the bowls and backgrounds boards too.

#8 – Little Spoons

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Little spoons work great when used with tiny bowls. Put them in a bowl or scoop some dip or sauce onto them and leave it at the side of the bowl for a messy, being eaten look.

#9 – Squeeze Bottles

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

Squeeze bottles are great food photography props to have when you need control over where you want sauce, aioli, or some oil to be on a plate. They're also very handy if you're taking pictures of sandwiches or burgers to draw on mayonnaise or ketchup in just the places you want.

#10 – Paper Towels

10 Everyday Items to Improve Your Food Photography

I use paper towels as food photography props quite often. They work well in casual shots in place of napkins. I'll sometimes fold them neatly and other times crumple them up, depending on the feel of the scene. They also work to add depth to a photo by placing them under tiny bowls or glassware.

Improve Your Food Photography

If you're interested in learning more about how you can improve your food photography, check out the post 10 Food Photography Tips for New Food Bloggers.

Another food photography resource that I highly recommend. 

Pinch of Yum's book Tasty Food Photography.