Why do we need props in food photography ?

Food photographers make - not take - photos! (Good that isn't it - you can have that one!)

Why do we need props in food photography ?

Props : (definition) anything movable or portable on a set

By its very nature it is essential food photography uses props.
Until we master levitating gastronomy that will always be.

If the food isn't going to be shown on a plate or in a bowl then normally there would be a nice board or napkin involved. Not only does our choice of prop contain the food it helps set the style of the shot.

Careful placement of well chosen props creates the mood or lifestyle. They should complement not distract. What is the focal point - or hero - of the shot? The food - so keep it simple.

You can't use the same props for all your jobs. Food studios have fully kitted kitchens but there only so many times you can use your white plates, glass bowls & saucepans.

That's why for most jobs there is a budget to buy or hire props. These are hand picked by a prop stylist whose job it is to source or make everything in the clients brief.

More often than not prop hire companies are used. These warehouses have a huge selection of kitchenware and backgrounds.
They stock everything from teaspoons to cocktail glassware - and backgrounds including wooden surfaces, slate and stainless steel.

Stephen Conroy
Food Photographer & Director