Something a little different today – there’s no recipe! If you’re a fellow food blogger, you’re probably always on the look out for food photography props like plates and flatware to make your photos pop. I think the props are just as important as the food in your photos!
Your own kitchen is a great place to start, but pretty soon you will want your photos to look unique and give them your own special touch. Props are a fantastic way to add some of your own style. My collection has grown and changed over the years. In the early days of blogging, I loved patterned plates and lots of colour, but these days I love vintage props and interesting textures, and experimenting with mixing old and new things for an interesting look. Most importantly, the props you use should reflect the theme of the dish you are shooting and help you tell your story.
Part of the fun is browsing different stores for pieces you like, but if you’re looking to grow your collection I’ve put together a list below of some of my favourite places to find food photography props. I have received many bemused looks from shop assistants when I buy just one single plate or two forks, but that’s all part of the fun #stylinglife.
Antique & Vintage Shops
When I was a kid, my parents used to drag my sister and I to every antique shop they encountered in Sydney and beyond, and I absolutely hated it. These days I love antique shops and they are one of my very favourite places to browse for genuine vintage kitchenware and props. There is something about the charm of a real vintage piece that I love in my food photos.
If you’re in Sydney try Mitchell Road Antique Centre in Alexandria (go visit after brunch at The Grounds!) and That Vintage Shop in Marrickville. Elements I Love in Leichhardt have a good selection to buy or hire and an incredible warehouse that I wanted to move into. In Melbourne I loved Chapel Street Bazaar in South Yarra so much that I had to pay for extra baggage on the way home!
Also make sure to check your local garage sales, Vinnie’s or op shops because they may have something special. This is a great way to start off your photography prop collection very affordably.
I spent a few dreamy hours wandering around a real life Anthropologie shop in New York City. Some of my very favourite photography props come from there. Unfortunately we aren’t lucky enough to have stores here in Australia – please open here soon – but I’d recommend signing up to their email list because they let you know about free international shipping offers, which I have used to grow my little collection.
Wheel & Barrow
I find myself in here “just looking” all the time – and usually walking out with a new piece or two for the collection. Wheel & Barrow is a really great source for both decorative prop items and quality kitchen gear like cake tins and glassware.
A great Australian company, Robert Gordon has a fantastic range of pieces from delicate gold polkadot teacups to beautiful glazed pottery mugs. This brand is well-stocked in many stores so it’s easy to add some gorgeous new items to your collection.
Ebay & Etsy
If you’re after something specific, it’s only an eBay or Etsy search away! I’ve found some great food photography props this way. These are especially great to look for kitchenalia (which just means miscellaneous kitchen stuff) vintage enamelware, pie tins and pewter items. Just watch out for international shipping, which can be a bit pricey.
I found an excellent soda siphon and some vintage cake stands at my local Sunday markets Bondi, and I hear great things about Rozelle markets. Craft markets are a fantastic place to meet local makers, and you might find some handmade pottery or one of a kind napkins or vases that will make your photos stand out from everyone else.
Williams Sonoma & West Elm
It was a very happy day when these stores opened in Australia. I’ve found some truly excellent and great quality props from Williams Sonoma and West Elm, from stylish copper barware to some lovely plates like the unique blue one above. They also stock beautiful cloth napkins and linens. Who am I kidding? Practically every item they stock is beautiful!
I don’t know what’s going on but Kmart is rocking my socks with their homewares lately. I just picked up this set of gold cutlery that look fabulous in photos. Places like Kmart or other department stores are great to pick up basic items like white plates, glassware, tea towels and napkins for super affordable prices.
Raid your Nan’s Collection
Back when I first started blogging, my prop collection limited to some tea cups, plates and doilies that I had inherited from my Nan, which I still love to this day. These are very special to me. I always think it’s nice if you can use a piece that has sentimental meaning to you in your photos.
Grocers & Farmers Markets
I love using some of the fresh ingredients from the recipe itself as props in my food photos because it gives some context to the shots. Before I start cooking, I set aside the best looking berries, tomatoes and herbs for the photos. You can also find fresh flowers at the local grocer or farmers market, which always add a pop of colour and touch of femininity to your photos.
Have I missed anything? Where do you love to look for food photography props?