You’ve already got the best food photography props on a budget in your pantry. Use the food or scraps you’ve got on hand or leftover from your recipe to make your food pop!
I get asked this all the time, what props can I buy without breaking the bank. I guess I gotta do a series for ya! So this week I’ll be sharing my favorite prop (food) then I’ll be sharing more of my favorite food photography props on a budget.
Spoiler alert, you don’t need tons of props to get beautiful photos that all don’t look exactly the same. Start with a couple super basic props and you’ll be able to use them for a long time!
Hands down, my favorite food photography props on a budget are food (scraps). I’m not exactly sure what to call them, but the ingredients you used in your recipe OR complimentary ingredients/foods.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use foods in my photos:
1. Add sides. The photo directly above this is a great example. My recipe is for the chili. Chili is great on it’s own, and I can take a great photo of the chili alone, but add some cornbread muffins? OK! It not only gives your audience a side dish idea, tells a story, but adds some interest to the photo. I mean, are you dying over the broken up muffins like I am? Extra pro tip- if you’re like me and break up baked goods when removing them from the pan, don’t toss them, you may want broken muffins or brownies or something. that’s cool and adds textural interest.The fries and sauce with the burger also count here. Again-super story teller status when you add sides!
2. Garnish garnish garnish. I’m obsessed with garnishes. I don’t usually add them IRL because that takes just that much extra effort, but when I’m taking a photo of something, I almost always add garnishes. Whether it’s fruit or herbs, or cheese. Hands down my favorite garnishes are green or have green in them (like these gorgeous strawberries with green stems). So cilantro, chives, basil, green pepper, green onion, lime. I like green, like a lot! Take a look at the photo below, I added julienned basil to the pasta & it adds a much needed pop of green. It really draws your eye in and adds a beautiful complimentary color to the red tomatoes of the sauce.
3. Make it messy. I don’t know how to write this one, but essentially add small (REMEMBER-small) pieces of food to your photo. Like sprinkle it all over your surface. It adds a touch of reality (messiness, right?!), interest, and can lead your audience members’ eyes to your hero food-or the focus of your photo. The granola photo is an example of this, but contained. There’s no wrong or right way to make it messy, but just try to pay attention to the shapes you’re creating with your mess, taper out with the concentration of messy food (like more granola near the center of the subject, less on the edges)
Check out these other posts on food photography:
- The Best Food Photography Plates
- The Best Household Props for Food Photography
- My Top 5 MUST HAVE Food Photography Tools
- 5 Lessons I Learned about iPhone Food Photography
- My Biggest Food Photography Mistakes and how you can avoid them
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