Food Styling begins with the right choice of props.
A plain backdrop/background with the right selection of props is a good starting point. I won’t say living in a city with access to the best places for crockery or any other accessories makes it any easier. Even though I started my journey with this very assumption. It’s was the dollar/thrift stores and flea markets or even second-hand markets that hold the treasure. After I realized my passion for food styling, my eyes would hunt for objects that would help me in styling.
Although it’s a difficult choice to make, for beginners, I thought of zeroing on down to the top 10 items will help you get started:
- Wooden slab: it could be a great chopping board, cheese board, pizza board, a wooden tray, etc. It adds another layer. Even though we will talk about layering in detail in another post. When you place the pan or the plate of food on a slab of wood over the board, it makes the food shine out and gives you the impression it’s just got out of the oven.
- Serving Dishes: I usually look for dishes that have a flat base so that the food doesn’t look uneven when placed. Of Course, you do need a set of pasta plates that can double up as soup bowls. Indian food looks amazing on earthen plates (which could be earthen or just ceramic plates painted brown). I saw a picture recently where the stylist used paper plates with bobby print to create a birthday party scene. But when it comes to color, I would suggest you keep one white, a couple with neutral colors like sand, ivory, nude pink, etc.
- Bowls: Soup bowls, serving bowl, pinch bowls, etc. A set of each will be helpful. I prefer shallow bowls to deep bottom ones. Pinch bowls help in covering those empty spaces.
- Fabric: I mean napkins, table cloth, potholders, mittens, aprons, etc. I bought a few fabric from wholesale stores, and I like them, but the hunt is still on.
- Cutlery: I use wooden spoons a lot, and I own a stainless steel cutlery set. Rustic spoons and forks add a lot to the aesthetics of your picture.
- Glass/ mugs/tumblers: straightforward, clean glasses with dessert or a beverage look great on pictures. You don’t need a set of six glasses, so look for the damaged set. That way, you will save money and space in your cabinet.
- Food: From spice to herbs to crushed/sliced nuts to honey, I love using them to catch the attention of the viewer. I plan to write about this section in detail in my upcoming blog post.
- Baking props: People who love to bake will usually have them all except for an occasional baker like me. You could purchase a few items. A beautiful baking tray, a cake mold, parchment/wax paper, a couple of cookie cutters, and a cake stand.
- Flowers: I won’t say it is a must. It is mostly optional and a need-based item. And I make sure to include them in my photoshoot, especially when it’s breakfast. I once purchased edible flowers for a drink. Sometimes a walk in your neighborhood can revel some flowers which you could use.
- Miscellaneous: twine, chopsticks, paper straws, skewers, glass jars, etc. that help creates a beautiful scene.
I hope my tips help you with your styling. Feel free to leave a comment or your suggestion, which might help me as well. After all, we all are learning right.