Lesson 21 – Simple Food Styling Tips and Prop Styling Tips for Better Food Photos

30 Day Food Photos Day21

Day 21 is here. Another catch up day.

This week we focused on prop styling and food styling.

Were these lessons helpful? Did you complete all the assignments?

Food styling and Prop styling is a very crucial part of creating great photos and after the 30 Day challenge is over we’ll cover more on these topics. There is a lot to learn in these two areas and we will go back to detailed tutorial formats after this challenge.

If this week you weren’t able to keep up with the lessons, take some time today and get back on track.

Here’s what we talked about this past week – 

Day 15 – Use Napkins to Tell Your Food Story

Day 16 – Do the Dishes to Take Stunning Food Photos

Day 17 – Create Harmony and Balance in Your Food Photography Frame

Day 18 – Start with Simple Food Styling – Garnishing

Day 19 – Style Your Food With an Expert

Day 20 – Assemble Your Minimal Food Styling Kit

Now before you begin today’s assignment, read this completely.

As part of one of the assignment, it is important for you to understand what you’ve been struggling with this past week. By understanding your challenges, finding solution becomes easy. So when we ask you about your challenges, word of caution – don’t write the first thing that comes to mind.

Yes, if I ask you what did you struggled with in terms of prop styling, the quickest answer could be, “I didn’t know what to do?” Remember that usually the first answer is not really the heart of the problem. If you say, “I didn’t know what to do?” ask again, what exactly did I not know? Was it the placement of where to place the props? Was it how to select the props? What specifically was it?

Identify your specific challenges and write it down in the space provided.

Let’s look at the assignment in detail -

Today’s Assignment

Time estimated – 15-20 mins

Today again, there are three specific tasks for completing today’s assignment.

For each of these tasks, there will be temptation to “just finish it”. Don’t let that voice take over you. Whatever effort you’ve been making, starting this assignment give 200% of that effort. If you’ve been spending 10  mins, starting today spend 15-20 mins. When you think about the challenges, as discussed above, be as detailed as possible. It will help you realize what specifically you are struggling with.

Task 1 – Progress Update

Start this assignment with updating your progress. Tell us how this week went. Again, be detailed and thorough. This first assignment is for you to understand and communicate your progress and challenges.

Start your progress update

Task 2 – Weekly Discussion

In the comments below, tell us about your food styling assignments. How did food styling assignments go? What questions about food styling do you have?

Task 3 – Optional – Your Best Food Photo This Week

Your next task is to share your best food photo you took this week (as part of this course) and post it in the facebook album. Link to facebook group is here. If you don’t want to post on facebook, feel free to post below in the comments.


  • Rinda Koban

    I feel that all the lessons in week 3 are the most useful ones for me. And it’s also the most productive week for me in producing food photos. 1 question that I have about food styling is what kind of garnish can we use for drinks and fruit?

  • Only DOF at the moment. How to make photos clean without too many distractions in them.

  • Sandra

    I’m with Cyndy.. a lesson on camera settings would be useful, I have completed a photography course so have an understanding of appeture/ISO/shutter speed and all, but there would be many who don’t. I still don’t get it right so it would be nice to see how it’s done with food in particular, since I’m mainly landscapes or macro.

  • Marissa O’Donnell

    I guess not only should I develop my food styling but I need to develop how to write as well. I need to encourage myself to write more and learn how to tell a story… 🙂

  • Alina Kun Gazda

    This week was very helpful to me because before that I didn’t know what food styling and prop styling is exactly.I’m new to food photography so I have a lot to learn about food and props and styling.

  • I think mine would be the fact that I don’t have many props. Recently moved to a different country and on a ‘budget’, I do not have much to work with. One set of dishes, various glasses and silverware/utensiles…nothing fancy. Plastic white cutting board, etc, etc.

  • Jyothi Rajesh

    Week 3 was the most productive week . To me I think props and styling places a very important part in making the food look beautiful. A delicious dish looses it’s charm if not presented properly. I would definitely redo the lessons again to learn more.
    I have one question(silly may be)but the most annoying problem that I face – how can one capture sharp images without using tripod? As of now I don’t own a tripod and I struggle to get sharp photos. Neel , any suggestions? Thank you

  • Sandy

    I have to agree with everyone else. This week has been very productive and rewarding. Currently, I am working on building my prop collections. Your food styling and props make a world of difference with creating beautiful shots. I really would like to understand how to achieve great DOF with my kit lens (wide and telephoto lens) with sharp focus. I would also like to better understand the rule of thirds for placement within my shot.

  • The food styling went great. I learned new things. My photo’s are usually a bit simple so I do not have that many props, but I learned you can also use the herbs you have in your kitchen or a simple napkin.

  • I really enjoyed this week’s lessons on food styling and found myself floundering less. I already have a variety of props, including dishes, napkins, flatware that I use, and I generally try to add garnish as well because it makes the picture look prettier and the food taste better, a win/win in my book.

  • Had much more engagement with fellow class members this week. Positive and constructive criticisms have been the key to get my pictures up to the next level. In addition I was able to provide some expertise and assistance to classmates. Looking forward to carrying this process to it’s completion and beyond.

  • Food styling went pretty well for me. I have a question: Guys, DO YOU USE a specific COLOR PALETTE to your subject? E.g. your subject is ”brown” (a loaf of bread, cookies, etc.) what kind of colors would you use to style the pic??

  • Sonja

    I don’t feel I struggle much with props or food styling, as I try to think about what goes into the dish. My problem is lighting. Props and dishes change the coloring even more and makes it a challenge to my WB.

  • I liked this week’s assignments dealing with props and styling. I feel like styling, especially food styling, is something that we can always learn more about and constantly improve on. I think it would be really helpful to have a lesson on the color wheel and how to work with color.

  • Sreedevi Mavila

    While I learnt quite a bit during the lessons, I felt rather ill-equipped to handle some of them because I didn’t have the right props. (No plain white or any other colour plates, only patterned ones!) I also learnt in the ‘style your food with an expert’ lesson that details really count! Overall, I’m glad I’ve got through it and I’m hoping to get through to the end even if I’m the only person doing it!!

  • Catharina Linkenbach

    I’m ok with posting this one, although it is not my best one this week; I like the colour scheme, the story it tells and the technical aspects.