Lesson 13 – Organize Your Props

30 Day Food Photos Day13

Now that we have started talking about props, today's lesson is deceptively simple.

What you will do today may look boring and non-photography related. The truth is that today's small assignment can give you massive results in the long term.

So today, we’ll talk about how to use props effectively and efficiently. In fact let me rephrase that… today we’ll find and organize props. Yes! you heard it right.

But you are probably either thinking that this is just too simple to be a lesson or that I don't know how organizing my props is going to improve my food photos.

Have you ever been to a professional kitchen? or a world class manufacturing facility? These and other professionals in many industries practice a philosophy called "Everything in its place and a place for everything."

By first deciding a place for everything and then putting them in the right place, you not only minimize clutter but also start getting inspiration for your food photos.

Even if this feel too simple, do it anyway.

I prefer to arrange the props by type – for example, I have all the dishes in one area, kitchen napkins in other, flatware/silverware in the third location. This way  I can clearly see my options for fabric and what dish will complete the story.

There are also other ways to organize your props. Some prefer to organize props by color. Whatever method suits you, go ahead and use that to arrange the props. Don't forget to tell us about your way of arranging these props.

So today’s challenge is designed to be simple and you don't need to pick up a camera if you don't want to. '

Today Assignment

Read the entire assignment before starting the challenge.

Time estimated: 30-60 mins (or more depending on what condition your props are)

Step 1 – Today, the first thing you need to do is count all the different props you have. Where ever they may be stored, those need to be brought in one place and stored.

Step 2  – Decide how you want to store them? By type or by color or some other way?

Step 3 – Arrange your props according to your decision in Step 2.

Step 4 –  Optional - Once everything is arranged, take a photograph  of the arrangement and upload the photo/s of the arrangement on Facebook group. Please note: Please post the photos only in this facebook group album (for Lesson 13 Album).

  • Sandra

    I can’t really do this one.. my stuff is spread all over my kitchen.. I dont’ have specified props.. 🙂

  • I can’t do this one ..my stuff is divided between my kitchen cabinet … my storage box!

  • I have some stuff dedicated to food photos but I also use things we use every day. I keep my eye out for anything interesting I find that may work in photos and keep these things in a bin under the photo table.

  • Alina Kun Gazda

    Everything I use for photos are things from my kitchen,things I use everyday so not much organising to do. I’ll just take a nice break today.:)

  • No photo for this one as I am traveling and props are whatever I find where ever I am.

  • I also have a range of props that could either come from my kitchen or from my painting studio. These range from everyday kitchen items, napkins, cooking paper, tea towels to paints, brushes, paintings, fabrics – because I sew too, and anything from the garden. I grow most of my own vegetables. So it is a mixture of whatever goes at the time.

  • Squadrilla

    Sorry I’m very late but I felt sick in the last days so I’m trying to make up for lost time now….
    Me too, I don’t have specific places for props, and no specific props either! I can use the many things I have in my kitchen (cups, most of all!), travel souvenirs to give a different feeling, and sometimes I borrow something from my boyfriend’s mother, she has a lot of nice things 🙂

  • Since I don’t have access to the FB site yet, I will skip the photo part of today’s lesson. Rest assured though, I do have my props organized. The dishware is in a specific cabinet in the kitchen and the backdrops and placemats are in the hutch in the dining room. Easy access for both, and it allows me to keep all my food photography stuff together, which saves me time in the long run.

  • I am not taking a photo for this as my props are stored all around my apartment – as space is an issue, it’s not feasible for me to keep them in one place. As well as this, these are items I use in daily life so they are stored in their appropriate places.
    It is interesting to think of organising them in certain ways however. For instance, by colour. I can see how this would be helpful.
    I think I’ll make a list of props as I walk around my apartment. I suspect it’s going to be an ever-growing list!

  • Here are my props, all organized – Great idea Neel! This is something that everyone should really do, but it’s easy to over look. Having everything organized and in one place really helps my creative process – I don’t get distracted searching for things.

  • Bam’s Kitchen

    Sorry for my delay as I am just playing catch up with the lessons now. Space is also at a minimum for me. Therefore, my props are organized by function. I have all my plates and bowls together, utensil in a drawer and cloths in a cupboard below. In my kitchen anything can end up being a prop. However, taking an assessment of my existing props, I do see that I need to purchase a black cloth, and something to cover up the back wall during my photography shoots to help it blend in.

  • Sreedevi Mavila

    This is a great idea, something I never thought of, but I’m going to skip this for now, mainly because most of my props are stuff that I use on a regular basis. Also there’s the issue of space. But I will try to dedicate a shelf in my kitchen to store those props and I think I’ll also make a concerted effort to purchasing interesting dishes/props that I come across.

  • Peter Block

    I know this concept is a big help. Problem is my wife says my stuff is everywhere. She has put it in a few different places. I tried to create some defined areas specifically separating cloth/napkins and textures/placemats. I am waiting for a dresser type piece so I can put all of my dishes in one place.

  • Catharina Linkenbach

    haha, this is brilliant and just comes one day too early: my eldest daughter is going to move out tomorrow and I will have her very tiny room for my photography stuff. So tomorrow happens the household/ prop re-shuffle!! YAY!! and 🙁 for her moving out…

  • I use mostly kitchen utensils which I have in my kitchen. But in addition I keepa large ( perhaps too large) a plastic bin for all the backgrounds cloths and napkkins which Ilove to collect from charity shops and remnanats from expensive fabric shops which cost next to nothing. I have separated ou the colours.
    I don’t have any storage room to speak of but have a shelf inside a cupboard where I keep extra items which I have collected especially for food photography. These include some iems of cutlery, but also small jugs, platters. plates etc which have a pleasing shape and can add interest to my compositions.

  • Linda Joyce

    I have a very small collection of food photography props. I have a shelf in a kitchen cupboard to store them. My method for storing these props: Whatever fits. Space is at a premium in the house, and so everything needs to be compact and neat. The only items that aren’t stored in the cupboard are backgrounds, as they can lay flat against a wall. Flatware and a few other items are borrowed from the everyday necessaries in the family kitchen as well.

  • Anna Zazdravnaya

    I store my props like Neel does- I have materials and napkins in a linen cupboard, plates. cups, spoons and things like this in the kitchen (as I use for photography all I use in everyday life) And also my backgrounds are all over the place – I use floor, all the tables and sometimes windowsill.