When I started my photography journey years ago I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do it but I knew I had a passion for creating art through the lens of my camera and I knew I wanted to be able to share my knowledge and creativity in some small way with others. Today, years later, I find myself wanting to create in my studio space more and more and I find styling props and food gives me a sence of accomplishment.
A few years ago my daughter was inbetween college and career and wanted to start selling vintage finds. We began to collaborate our skills and search out sources for items we could sell in an online shop. We had the best adventures searching for brass candlesticks, baskets, old pictures and other decor items. We made a bargin that we wouldn’t spend more than $5 on any one item to keep our costs low. Through that experience we began to develop a good eye for products that were on trend and at low cost. We both had to move on but we gained knowledge and discipline from that short business venture that I have been able to utilize as I’ve transitioned into lifestyle photography.
Keeping your eye on trends is an important part of making your first collection. Brass, copper, wood, linen are all key components in putting together a cohesive grouping. Placing soft items next to metal items helps to soften the image and guide your eye. Learning how to place your items and limiting the number of pieces in each layout will help you create a pleasing frame in your camera.
Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.Rachel Zoe
The best way I’ve found to source props is to walk through local second hand or thrift shops. I look for vintage items that stand out for being simple and timeless. (Ex. Brass candlesticks for their height and color. Neutral linen table cloths or cloth napkins to add texture and softness.) Look for wood bowls or old dinnerware and pottery that will bring simplicity to your food or main subject. I tend to avoid the antique and flea markets for the most part because they tend to be priced for collectors. Online marketplaces like Etsy or Ebay can also be utilized but I have found that shipping can add to much to the price I am willing to pay. But defineatly not out of the question if it is an unusual item that will be used frequently.
Don’t forget about looking for old tables or chairs that would add interest to your images. I had several pieces that had been passed down to me from family members that have worked into my studio space nicely. I also found two old pieces of barn wood that I can lay across any surface to recreate an old farm table. Old marble tiles or cutting boards also add nice texture.
This can be a fun and inexpensive start to experimenting with food or flat lay photography. I find strolling through a shop as a way to relax on the weekends or after a stressful day. Great way to unwind and let your creative juices flow. Happy hunting!
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