Should we really shop, for food props?

I am guilty of indulging in shopping. Most of the times, I end up spending a lot on food props (not much now, you calm down after the initial sugar rush). And I find that I don’t use most of the items I purchase. I might use them in a couple of posts, but not more than that.

So now, I have stopped investing in props. What I have now, is plates and bowls that I use on a regular basis and that double up as props when needed. When I made a shift from plastic to china/glass for MW dishes, I bought white bowls, which now act as props too in the blog.

The plates, yes, I have bought a lot more than I need, just for the blog. So the house is full of single plates in different sizes and shapes, most of them useless too, I should add.

The things that I really do use, are the everyday spoons and trays – or old cups and plates, that were always lying around in the kitchen. Some of them came in the form of gifts, sitting idly all this time, but now getting used up finally.

The lesson learnt is that, you don’t have spend anything on props, instead start off with what you have. A bit of green (pudina, curry leaves, chilies or coriander leaves) or some chopped nuts (pista, almond, cashews) brings in a lot of color to the picture. A piece of fruit, a cup of coffee / black tea, a cloth napkin or adds as a good prop. I even use blouse piece materials as background/props.

So I thought I will just pin down the props that I used for the last Blogging Marathon posts, just to tell you (and me, mainly) that one needn’t spend a fortune in props.

You can click on the picture to navigate to the post.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Background :  The lattice wood work is actually is Carrom board turned upside down!
  • Props
    • Cup of green tea – Part of an old set which came as a gift. Strategically placed to cover a spot in the board :D
    • Spoons – Everyday spoon
    • Bowl – Bone china MW safe bowl, cost me around Rs. 50/-. Gets used regularly in the Microwave.

Grrr…Where is the Tiger? DB Mar 2012 Challenge

Lets leave this, Shall We? No? Ok then.

  • Background  : A table with unpolished plywood surface in our car park
  • Props:
    • Bread Basket :  For my brother in law’s wedding, fruits were given to us in these cute baskets. I use bigger ones for storing onions and potatoes and have kept small ones for food photos
    • Yellow dry flowers:  My neighbor’s gift. She got these from Kodaikanal. Some pine cones and a beautiful flower bouquet also came from her.

Ammini Kozhukkattai

  • Background :  The same table with unpolished plywood surface in our car park area. You are going to come across this table a lot!
  • Props:
    • Spoon : This antique spoon (it is 30 years old!) was my friend’s. Not anymore, its mine now ;-)
    • Chilies and twine made of jute
    • Bowl/Plate used for the dumplings: MW safe white color bone china. Cost around Rs.80/- or so. Gets used regularly in the Microwave.
    • Ketchup : MW safe white color bone china. Around Rs.20/-. Shouldn’t have bought this, since I hardly use it.

Kuzhi Paniyaram

  • Background : An old, sun-kissed table at my in-law’s place
  • Props:
    • Vessel for Chutney       : An old aluminium pan, used for tadka
    • Vessel for the paniyarams: A shapeless bone china vessel, which came as a gift for Navaratri. LOVE it!
    • My son’s masterpiece :). Doesn’t cost a penny and makes me immensely proud!

Carrot Halwa

  • Background : A green banana leaf. I paid 3/- rupees for this
  • Props:
    • The bowl : Part of a very old gift set, being used only now
    • Ice cream spoon : My brother’s gift, Rs. 5/- a piece. Love this one a lot.

Corn Halwa

  • Background : White color chart paper (Rs.4/-) on top of which an old white towel is laid
  • Props:
    • Rectangle Plate : Bought for food photography. Awesome purchase. Cost around 250/- rupees.
    • The bowls : Part of an old set that came as a gift
    • Napkin : My mother in law bought a set of four, some 5 years back, at 5/- rupees a piece. I bought another four of these at 50/- a piece.
    • Dry yellow flowers: From my neighbor
    • Spoon : An old spoon, very useful for reaching those last pieces of pickle in the jar!
    • Leaf of a Money plant : Free of cost :)

Leftover Magic

  • Background:  Again, its the same old table in our car park area.
  • Props:
    • Green square plate : Bought for food photography. I have hardly used this anywhere else.
    • Napkin : Blouse piece that we get as a standard gift for the weddings
    • Mat : Bought four different mats just for food photography, but these are now used regularly. Around 70-80/- per piece.
    • Chutney Bowl : A light yellow tupperware bowl, without its lid
    • Fruit basket : Same as the one in Tiger Bread. Came as a gift for my BIL’s wedding.

Aval (Poha) Dosa

  • Background: The same old, same old table in our car park!
  • Props:
    • Regular utensils used for serving: Stainless steel plate, steel bowls for chutneys, cup and ‘davara’ for filter coffee.
    • News paper to add the touch of a breakfast
    • Chilies and curry leaves as garnish


So lesson learnt by me: Don’t waste money in food props! Use the things that are available to you already.

But then….who listens!?

Until the next food prop shopping session…


19 thoughts on “Should we really shop, for food props?

  1. Absolutely loved reading your post. Love your simple and fabulous props. Can’t beat that. I’m just starting to think I need lot of props…you stopped me at the right time. Super Rajani…love it!!! love it!!!


  2. great post. I should have read this post before I went shopping for mugs today. The only grace saving thing is I paid 100/- for 3 instead of the original 150/- for 3 .:D


  3. Fabulous post. Really great!!!
    When I first started blogging, I spent money on a few white dishes because most of my dishes have some kind of decorative design which is distracting. Other than that, I use household items I already have for most other props.


  4. Awesome post! I loved the reverse side of the carrom board ! When I first saw that post I was wondering what the back drop was and now I know!!


  5. Switch profession Rajani, you are awesome…i mean I have always admired your photos and props and your writings, This post is a combination of all 3 put together…excellent, beyond words. And yes..I am not spending any more money on have also saved my money for the camera…owe u a lot now


  6. Excellent post Rajani,I rarely spend money for the props also i use them rarely, i totally agree with u to use out the stuffs we have already at home to present them..Lovely clicks..


  7. Excellent post Rajini. I look out for different looking stuffs to display the food just for blogging and like to said there are so many single pieces lying around and they can’t be used anywhere else.And you are absolutely right,use stuffs at home instead of spending too much on props..Enjoyed your post and the clicks :)


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