Prop Talk – Tile

Hello, hello! As some of you have very nicely reminded me recently, I haven’t done a prop talk in a while!

(Quick explanation for my new readers: every once in a while I write a post about my favorite props and other behind-the-scenes food photography stuff. This is one of those posts. To see all previous installments just click the Behind the Scenes tab in the menu bar at the top).

Today’s post is about tiles. I’m talking about just regular tiles that you can buy at the hardware store and that are meant to go on the floor of your bathroom, kitchen or anywhere else in the house. I’ve got several tiles and use them as backdrops or surfaces. What’s nice about tile is mainly its texture, a textured background  or surface always looks better than a smooth one. They also tend to come in nicely muted colors that work well in a food photograph. My two favorite tiles are the two you see below.

Using tile as a food photography prop.

The beige tile to the right looks like a concrete wall when it’s propped up behind the set and out of focus, which is a nice look for bright and airy photos. I used it in the hot chocolate with whipped cream photo you see below.

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream

The gray/brown slate tile works great as a backdrop for dark photos, such as this photo of chicken satay. I have also used it as a surface, for example in the photo of cinnamon sticks below. The colors worked well with those of the cinnamon and the texture kept the shot from looking too boring.

Delicious chicken satay with peanut sauce. Easy, quick and bursting with flavor!

From post Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.

Cinnamon Bark

From post Next Up: Cassia/Cinnamon.

Do you use tiles in your food photography at all? Do you have a favorite tile? Let me know in the comments! :)

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16 comments

  1. Sheena @ Tea and Biscuits says:

    I have a similar light colored tile that my husband bought for me at Lowes, but I haven’t figured out how to prop it up easily as a backdrop without it crashing down on the food so It’s gathering cobwebs in the garage. I might need to look at it again though as your darker one gives a nice antique look without the antique price tag.

    • Nicole B. says:

      Very true, they are (relatively) inexpensive. I hold them up with one of my arms and clamps; extraordinarily useful tools that I wouldn’t know how to work without!

  2. Karina says:

    Love this post Nicole! I have 2 tiles also, similar to yours that I mostly use now in my shots. Tiles are incredible surfaces. I love the concrete look the beige tile gives your whipped cream shot! And the slate! I think I’m going shopping today ;)
    Thank you for this post! I hope you’re well Xxx

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Karina! Hope all is well with you too and you had a good weekend. I’ve had these tiles for a long time and used them a lot a few years ago, then I went through an “all wood” phase but now I’m rediscovering the beauty of tile. I always go through my props in phases, funny. :)

  3. Nagi@RecipeTinEats says:

    Hey Nic! I LOVE tiles :) My favourite is a grey / blue textured one! I keep meaning to go find more, you’ve inspired me to take a trip to the tip!! :) (Who ever would have thought that I get a kick out of rummaging through rubbish? ;) )

  4. Razena says:

    This is a wonderful and simple idea that I had not thought about at all. Thank you!

    What is the best size tile to use as a backdrop or surface, in your opinion?

    • Nicole B. says:

      So glad the post is helpful, Razena! The tiles you see in the photos are 16″ by 16″ and 12″ by 12″. For relatively close-up photos even the small size works just fine! :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      That is wonderful to hear, Diananda! Thank you so much for coming by and leaving such a nice comment! :)

  5. Marlene says:

    Nicole, as a new blogger getting ready to launch, I found this post really helpful! I had several large tiles from past bathroom renovations and found another one at Lowe’s. They’ve worked really well as surfaces and backgrounds.Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, it’s hard to buy single tiles, as most come in packs of four. I’m going to ask friends if they have any extras.

  6. Darina says:

    I love the look of tiles! I’ve been so focused on using wood to complement the rustic feel of my style that I was forgetting about tile and how wonderful it looks–especially in terms of adding texture. I love this section of your blog, Nicole.

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Darina! I know exactly what you mean, I get to focused on specific props that I sometimes forget what else I have! :)

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