Hands up if you’ve ever made a point to snap a picture of a particularly beautiful plate of food before you dig in. Yes? Me too. Actually, I’d say I take pictures of my food almost every day—sometimes that means catching a simple oatmeal breakfast in good morning light; other times it means forcing a friend to help stage a pizza cheese pull in public.
The thing is, even after years of amateur food photography, I can’t seem to even come close to recreating the perfect, scroll-stopping professional food photos that I see on my feed, in magazines, and on my favorite food blogs and websites. Specific lighting, strategically prepared food, and expensive camera equipment (all pretty inaccessible for most of us) are greatly responsible for this, but another key factor? Props. And, good news: replacing run-of-the-mill plates, bowls, glasses, and napkins with prettier ones is a realistic way to bring your food pics to the next level.
I asked 11 food bloggers and professional food stylists to share their absolute favorite props for food styling. Below are 16 gorgeous kitchen products, at a variety of price points, that these experts love to use in their food photos. And hey, even if you have no interest in photographing your meals, they all look even better IRL.