5 Food Photography Prop Styling Tips

At Deforest Group, our team has spent many decades in the food photography business and in that time working on sets and with our food stylists we’ve developed many “go to” tips and tricks for achieving the ideal shot.

Below are just a handful of the many things we consider when working with a client to plan out a food photo shoot. And while we have an extensive collection of props and accessories, often time a client needs coaching to guide them towards the right plan for both their products and their target market.

These tips are designed to make you spend money on props that will better your collection. And save you money in the long run.

Go with Neutrals First

Building a prop collection takes time and money. We’ve spent countless hours and much effort to build a comprehensive and varied prop collection, and it is because of this expansive selection that many clients come to us… it allows for ease, simplicity AND cost savings!

Often times, we’ll suggest starting a selection by gathering neutral samples together for the client to review. That can mean:

  • White

  • Off-whites and creams

  • Beige

  • Greys, light through dark

  • Pale grey-blues

  • Charcoals

These are the colors that can really work with almost every concept in some way. As they aren’t too memorable in their colors, you will be able to use them without worrying that your propping is overpowering the actual food being photographed.

Save a Budget for Handmade Pieces

We coach food clients on getting where they want to be with their work and business. A lot of those times, the client is looking to get their product presentation to the next level, but they don’t know what they need to do.

Part of having better images comes from the ingredients you use. Meaning what you add to the photo. The quality of your light, your food, and your food styling props. Handmade pieces have more personality and they look amazing. Consider saving some of your budget for a few nice handmade pieces. Even if the rest is basics, throwing those into the mix will really elevate your images.

Three’s A Charm

Consider the number “3” as a killer composition technique for a few reasons. When we are planning how to style and prop a shoot with a client, we often look at props in “pairs,” or in a set of three. In food photo shoots, it’s rare to use more than three of a kind. And if we need a fourth? Well it may not match, but that creates more visual interest anyway.


Utilize Small Glassware

Glassware is one of the hardest things to properly select. Glasses that are on trend now don’t always look the best in your images, depending on the subject matter. Often times, they are super large and bulky. They end up overshadowing your hero product, when they are supposed to just be supporting elements.

A rule of thumb is to aim for small, petite, thin glassware, as it gives you more options in which to pair and style in my scene.

Have a Few Signature Food Styling Props

Signature props are ones that really make your story come to life! They are those props that everyone dreams about. They are super memorable so if you used them in every photo, your images would all look the same. But they are important to have when used sparingly as your concept allows. Our expert team of stylists can make recommendations for you to assure that your food shots are amazing… every time!

Ready for a change in how you shoot your food photography? Interested in a free consultation? Then click here to get in touch with the Deforest Group team!