Below are some of my most essential vintage styling pieces. Whenever we are shooting food or lifestyle photography these are consistently our go-to props.
In looking through my many years of recipe photos and blogs, I have realized that I definitely have a few vintage props that I love to use over and over again.
I love for my photos to look approachable, authentic and lived in vs. looking overly styled and perfect. My go-to vintage props are classic and functional and I have been able to use these items for various recipes and entertaining occasions. I have compiled a list what I believe are my top 10 favorite food props to use for my food photography and I am excited to share them with you.
Many of the props I use are vintage because if you know me, you know I’m all about vintage items. I love how each item is perfectly unique and beautiful and I believe that helps capture our mission in every photo we take.
If you’re looking to start or refresh your own vintage prop closet, here are my favorites to have on-hand :
1. Vintage Silverware :
Vintage silverware is one of my favorite things to hunt for at vintage shops. Whether simple or beautifully ornate, each piece of vintage silverware brings so much personality and edge to my photos. I feel that they embody the look of an “heirloom,” are full of character and each piece has its own worn patina that photographs so much better than a brand new, shiny piece of silverware.
2. Vintage Serving Glasses :
I think anyone who reads my blogs and sees my instagram posts can attest to the fact that I have gotten much use out of these go-to vintage glasses. I love everything about them— their shape, their size, their detail. From puddings to ice cream to cocktails, these serving glasses have been my go-to prop for my photography. I love to source coupes, sherbet glasses, and tiny juice glasses that have unique crystal cuts and details.
3. Vintage Pie Server :
There are certain pieces that people tell me again and again they love because they remember their Mother or Grandmother using them. These vintage pie servers are one of those items. They are rustic and perfectly detailed with decorative cut outs that really pop when I use them in my food styling. I have been able to use these for many photoshoots for cakes, pies, casseroles, and cornbreads and always love how they turn out in pictures. I use these all the time.
4. Cake Stand :
A vintage cake stand is the perfect element in your prop closet to use as a center point for a table setting. I love these vintage cake stands because of their simple details that add to the photo but do not take away from the food it is holding. A classic cake stand is essential to have in your prop closet for all those yummy, beautiful cakes. I tend to go for the glass versions, but also have a variety of silver and white ceramic pieces in my arsenal for different yet classic looks.
5. Mason Jars :
Oh, the classic mason jars. Truly, everyone should utilize mason jars in their homes but it is also a must-have for a prop closet. I have found so much use for them throughout my house and its one of the first things I think to grab from my prop closet each time. I love using mason jars simply because they are classic and functional. There are a lot of different brands and ones that come with metal closures, different metal + glass lids and in a variety of colors from clear to blue to green + beyond.
6. Tin Colander
I have found a few different varieties of tin colanders in my time hunting through vintage shops. I love how they age and gain such a rustic look while still holding up in quality. For food photography, they really add a nice vintage touch to the shots as opposed to using a more modern colander. And this is another one of those pieces that folks are so nostalgic about from days past. The patterns of the holes photograph beautifully with light shining in from behind them, a must-have especially for those seasonal summer fresh fruits + veggies.
7. Wooden Rolling Pin
When you’re shooting a baking-related photo, having an authentic, made-from-scratch look is hard to accomplish without a trusty, rustic rolling pin in the shot somewhere. I always grab my wooden rolling pin for this task because I love the vibe they give my dough-based recipes, even if I’m crunched for time and using a store-bought crust for the shot. Wooden rolling pins are simple and classic and a must-have in your prop closet with so many different details in their shape and handles. They just don’t make them like they used to.
8. Vintage Enamelware
I have found a handful of enamelware pieces that I adore in vintage shops and when I find a great piece I tend to snatch it right up. I love how functional these enamelware products are and I particularly love the simple + utilitarian look they give to my shots. I love to use this red enamelware casserole pan for cobblers and casseroles because the red accent really catches your eye and plays off the recipe ingredients. These metal pieces hold up so well over time and give food photography a great edge, and because they’re making a great comeback it’s nice to have the look of an actual old piece over the shiny brand-new pieces of today.
9. Citrus Juicer
I have been able to use these vintage citrus juicers (large + small) for so many shoots including our lemonade post and many of our cocktail recipes. The juicer embodies the notion of making things the old-fashioned way and the beautiful cuts of the glass really capture the light so perfectly in every shot. If your’e shooting anything with citrus, this is a go-to for you.
10. Cast Iron Pan :
Using cast iron props in my photoshoots is one of my favorite things because of how well they photograph and because they really are just authentically my favorite pans to cook with. I love that the skillets can be used in different ways on the stove or in the oven and I love how these cornbread molds take the vintage, homemade vibe to the next level. From bundt pans, to skillets, to muffin tins, cast iron gets to job done in the kitchen and looks beautifully rustic while doing so.
Do you have a go-to prop for your food photography? Is there another element I use all the time that I left out?Let me know in the comments below.
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Do you have any go-to props that you grab for your food photography? Let me know in the comments below!
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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen aprons, tabletop linens, art, ceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com.