Prop Talk – Furniture

Hey everyone! I’ve got another prop talk today. (Quick explanation for those new to this blog: every now and then I write a post about my favorite props and other behind-the-scenes stuff and this is one of those posts. To see previous prop talks hit the Behind the Scenes tab in the menu at the top).

The Spice Train Prop Talk Furniture

This post is about using furniture as a prop. I’m talking about your own furniture that you already have in your house – tables, chairs or, as in my example here, a nightstand (pictured above). Using your furniture in your food photos may seem obvious but I want to bring it up because I find that it’s not always easy to see the obvious, isn’t it? At least I think so. I had my nightstand for quite some time before I realized how great it worked in food photos.

As you can see the surface of this piece of furniture has a beautiful thick, routered edge that I find adds interest and elegance to a food photo. (By the way, I’m sure you’re noticing that I ironed the pillow cases before taking the photo – I did that just for you, first time in my life I ironed linens. :)) I have used this nightstand as a surface in several food photos and it worked great every time (two examples are below). It is quite heavy and not easy to grab onto so it’s a bit of a pain to move it back and forth between the bedroom and the studio but that’s how it is – no pain, no gain, right?

So, the morale of this post is this: walk around the house and take a critical look at everything you see, from the countertop in your bathroom (which might be difficult to light) to the front stoop, and see if you can find a gem that could become your next favorite food photo surface. And if you find anything, let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about it! :)

Ginger Bramble Cocktail Recipe

From post Ginger Bramble New Year’s Cocktail.

Apple Tarts with Chai Spiced Custard Sauce

From post Apple Tarts with Chai Spiced Custard Sauce.



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    • Nicole B. says:

      I love tables with tile! Unfortunately I don’t have one and the coffee table we have has sort of a hammered surface which looks nice to the eye but not to the camera. :)

  1. Debbi says:

    Thank you for ironing the pillowcase! Lol, I’m in my 60’s and still have never ironed a sheet or pillowcase! Yet I come from a family that did! Those furniture slders work well for moving stuff and not expensive. Thanks for the post

    • Nicole B. says:

      Oh, that’s right, I hadn’t thought of furniture sliders! There is a staircase between our bedroom and my studio but the sliders would at least work the rest of the way.

  2. Melinda says:

    I wondered what was under the Blackberry drink. It caught my attention when you posted that picture. This is my first year blogging and you are one of my prop mentors. Thank you for the ideas and instruction. My bathroom counter is one of my favorite props, but I may try using a hutch in the living room as well. : )

  3. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says:

    Great inspirational post!! I love the dark top of your nightstand it really photographs well. I never use plain wood tops because I was afraid it might be too shiny but I can see you had the light just right so that it didn’t reflect. Oh — this is an aside — I didn’t notice your ironed pillow cases and I do love to spray lavender on the pillow cases then iron them. Also — I had to have some granite to use for photos — we ended up using it all the time on our island. :-) Thank you for the tips!1

    • Nicole B. says:

      Oooh, ironing a scent into sheets and pillow cases, now that’s an interesting idea! I love perfume so that’s something I’m keen to try. Yeah, reflections can be a problem for sure and the nightstand is indeed pretty shiny; I had to use a flag to keep the light off of it. And I agree, granite can make a terrific surface! :)

  4. Abbe @ This is How I Cook says:

    You are right. That table does look great! I also, have never ironed linens, but I inherited some of my mother’s old ones. It took me a bit to figure out why I like them so much; well she always has her linens ironed. She doesn’t do it, of course, but if I could have someone do it, I would. It makes them so soft and pretty!

  5. traci | vanilla and bean says:

    This is such a great reminder that textures and colors are everywhere around us! Thank you for this Nicole! I’ve got a really nice table I could easily use as a base for photog… I get so in the zone, I forget about simple things like this! Your table is gorgeous in the two shots above… the wood grain really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing Nicole!

  6. Gena says:

    I’m with you, Nicole! I love the flavor of vanilla, and I think it’s very complex. These cookies look delightful, not to mention very easy to veganize. Can’t wait to try them!

  7. Amy says:

    These are some crazily gorgeous prop ideas. I know they are only 3 photos but I couldn’t help scrolling back to the previous one just to have one more look. Thanks for sharing the inspiration. And btw, thanks for making me remember that I should be ironing my pillows :)


    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Amy! I’m so glad you find the Prop Talk useful! (I haven’t ironed my pillowcases (or anything else for that matter) since I took that photo). :) Have a nice weekend!

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