When setting up your food photos there are basically two ways to go – either minimalist where the food and plate it is on is all you are really taking a photograph of or more elaborate where you try to fill the space with different props. Both are workable and have their place, but even minimalist photos need a good background. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the space or money for lots of beautiful tables, linens, and china, so many people use props in food photography to set up their photos. Here are just a few of the props I use:
1. Kitchen linens and scrapbook papers, like the ones in the photo above, make great inexpensive backgrounds and accessories. You can usually by just one place mat, dish towel, napkin, piece of scrapbook paper, etc. making this a very affordable way to add variety to your photos.
2. An assortment of dishes is great, but can get expensive, but most of the time you only need one of each. Smaller is also better because I full plate looks nicer, so buying salad plates instead of dinner plates will save you money. Buying on sale or at thrift stores, yard sales, etc. can also save you money. I know where the clearance section is in housewares of all my local stores and have often picked up plates for as little as $1.
3. Flooring – pieces of hardwood, tiles, etc. and and wains coating make great “fake tables”. Visit you local flooring outlet (preferably a discount one) to find all sorts of table ideas. Our local store will sell you 1 piece of flooring for $5 and many large tiles are under $10, and almost all are less expensive than buying a similar item pretty much any other way. Wains coating is available and many home repair stores and can be put together and attached to a piece of hard board and then painted a variety of colors.
4. One of the most inexpensive background options is foam board. These work especially nice if you are going for the minimalist look. They com in a variety of colors at your local discount store, office supply store, or craft store.