Like camera gear, I'm also a sucker for collecting props and food photography backgrounds. I unapologetically spend mass amounts of time and money hunting down the perfect ones to add to my collection. While living abroad, I actually had all of these props collecting dust in my various shopping carts on the web for over a year and after the massive continent shift we've done, I've finally been able to pull the trigger on all these "necessities." Now back in the great land of plenty, I'm sure my bank account will suffer even more.
I receive a lot of messages and emails asking where I get all the props I use in my photos, so now that I have some new props to be proud of, it is a good time to answer that and share my love with lots of links to some of the wonderful crafty people who make this great stuff.
PROPS, PROPS & MORE PROPS
This is not a sponsored review, but as part of building my new studio back here in the USA (both fun and tiring), I bought loads of new props from various companies and 4 of Soularty's handmade food photography backgrounds. I'm liking them so much I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Here are 4 images below, one photo with each of the food photography backgrounds and various props from different companies that I would definitely recommend as fantastic additions to any food photography studio.
Background Name: Fried Beans
The first image featuring the Fried Beans background has fantastic wooden slats nailed together. Mine is actually two-sided, featuring two of Soularty's food photography backgrounds together. The Fried Beans on one side and on the reverse side it has the Mojito you see in the image below. I'm loving how the bright tan and burnt finish brings out the grains in the wood of this background and the color really pairs well with the softer tones of some of my other new props. The burnt brown really makes even a pale blue linen like this one from Celina Mancurti pop off the table, but the background is not too contrasty for a white ceramic plate, like the one from LooksLikeWhite. Both of which are new props for me, both of which I'm really enjoying.
Other new additions that I'm really digging in this photo are my Arbor Oak Serving Board, its muted dark wood adds great texture for food and props to bounce off of. Also, new are these Weck storage jars with wooden sealed tops that I've loaded with spices. I love the hint of colors that are created in the glass when my lights hit the edges of the jars. Instead of being only for a very specific use, I find the Fried Beans background really complements nicely nearly everything I have.
Great for just about every type of prop and linen this, Emerald Stone background really has a unique color and texture going for it. I'm digging the plaster look with all the bumps, cuts and artfully created defects that give this background a rustic look. I also like that it is a solid piece painted and plastered on canvas board, instead of wooden slats. Although, I like wooden slats like in the fried beans above, it is nice to change it up with a solid table top every once in a while. Another reason for preferring it over the wooden style in some cases is that I've found it looks better when shooting in the 45˚ camera angle. All that texture shines when it's out of focus in the background.
Even though this is one of my favorites, I was a bit disappointed with the size. This was the largest size that Soularty made for this style during the time I ordered. (Lager sizes available now) At 50x60cm (19x23in.) it's a little too small to do regular to large food photography scenes. I prefer a tabletop to be at least around 80x80cm(31x31in.) to do an overhead shot, however these salad plates from Hawkins New York and Leslie Freeman look striking against the vibrant green texture of the Emerald Stone.
Background Name: Emerald Stone
Background Name: Rustic Cherry
More rough and rustic than the the Fried Beans background this, Rustic Cherry definitely has that country cabin look to it. It worked great in these cast iron chili photos I made for my Spicy Groundhog's Day Chili with Brown Ale and Winter Vegetables Recipe. I have a feeling the Rustic Cherry background would work great for any dark and earthy props, lending that natural element to food photography.
It is a little heavy compared to their other backgrounds, and with all that rough beautiful wood watch out for splinters. However, my main concern is that at certain angles, light might shine through the rather large slits between each plank, but so far I haven't needed to place something underneath it to block the light like I've done with other backgrounds in the past.
The Rustic Cherry is also reversible and I got the Grey Rustic Cherry on the other side, although I have yet to use it. The warm wavy grains and texture of the natural wood really contrast nicely with dark straight steel of my Mauviel 12.5 inch fry pan. I'm also loving how moody these Gunmetal plates from Handmade Studio TN look with this Rustic Cherry background.
Just like the Emerald Stone background above the Mojito has that fantastic unique shade of green that plays oh-so-nicely with soft colors, whites and wooden props. I might try out some more vibrant colored props in the future, however my gut says with a background so colorful, adding more color in the way of props might distract too much attention from the actual food.
As for my new props featured in this image, there is linen from Dot and Army, which I love because it has a elegant texture, a solid tone and a nice colored edge that I can also match to other props if I need. My mixing bowl and nested measuring cups from Mason & Cash are my personal favs right now for everything in the kitchen.
I wanted to do some rolling dough shots so I picked up this nifty (and heavy!!) marble slab and rolling pin at Crate & Barrel the other day as well. It's great for those "in action" shots because I can do my prepping in the kitchen then bring the entire slab, dough and all, to the studio.
Background Name: Mojito
Share Your Favorite food photography backgrounds and Props
Like camera gear, us food photographers are constantly collecting more props and food photography backgrounds to fill out our kits. It keeps our photos fresh and grows with our ever evolving style. Finding that perfect piece to fill out your composition can be near impossible sometimes, so if you have any great leads on some fantastic props share them here in the comment section below, I'd be fascinated to see the food photography backgrounds or props that you couldn't live without.