So today we are going to be talking about using decorative plates in your food photography and how that can help really set the tone for your shot!
Unless you are just putting your food on a piece of parchment paper or directly onto your backdrop, generally you need to have some kind of vessel to hold it and a decorative plate is a great idea!
First off because if you are doing any lay flat shots, a plate will keep your food the star of the show. They also make a great frame for those blurry at the back shots we can take with a micro lens.
Secondly because using different kinds of plates can set the tone for your photography. Think about it, if you are looking for a rustic, charming vibe you could use a more handcrafted plate while using a piece of your Grandma’s fine china would probably depict a more formal event!
Styles of Plates To Use For Food Photography
I picked 5 really different looks to talk about but OF COURSE this doesn’t even cover the tip of the iceberg as far as different kinds of plates that are available, but hopefully it will get your wheels spinning!
Rustic and Charming
Photo credit Muy Delish
I have to say that this one is my favorite! The rustic-ness of the enamel plate is such a neat contrast to the crispness of the leaves and the lemons.
The tatty sides are an added feature rather than taking away from the look of the piece which is super important to remember as you start collecting your food photography props.
Perfect isn’t always the best bet when you are trying to create something really interesting to look at. Sometimes it is the dings that make things more interesting!
If there were not any wear on the edges of this plate it would still stand out a bit because of the black edge, but the additional wear is why I picked this picture and why I think it really pops!
Ethic and Spicy
Photo credit Macheesmo
I think I should just disclose now that I am stalking the Macheesmo man. I LOVE his photography and food and this is no exception.
While the plate is not the star of this show, having that little ethnic edge at the front of this picture really gets you in the “Mexican Food” mood at first glance.
Had he used a white plate or even a black plate, there would not be as much movement and interest as there is with the more patterned plate.
I really like how all the colors in the plate are repeated in the food dish, melding together to make one amazing photo!
Light and Bright
Photo Credit The Recipe Critic
At first glance this one may look like a plain white plate but there is actually quite a bit going on here!
First off there is a ruffly edge to the plate that adds a cute contrast to the turquoise of the background.
Then there is actually a pattern to the ruffles with a flower-looking detail and then a sort of roughening on the edge toward the front.
Again, your photo props don’t have to be perfect, it is the imprefections that sometimes are the most awesome part.
I love how the background and the plate set the stage for this dough mix without overpowering it.
Modern and Dark
Photo credit Food Faith Fitness
Alright, now we are getting to a more modern look. This plate is providing a really stable and steady background for the noodles.
Also, because orange and blue are complimentary colors, the food is really the feature of this photo while the plate, chopsticks and background fabric become just supporting characters.
With a modern shot like this you probably would not the plate to be chipped as that would not add to the composition.
The clean lines of the plate edge and the dark chopsticks are really a nice frame for this photo.
Charming and Textured
photo credit Cooking Pleasure
I have an old soul so this plate that looks like it came from Grandma’s house really speaks to me!
I love the texture and the bold burgundy color which actually coordinates with the raspberries and figs rather than contrasting them.
Using an antique fork for this shot was the exact right thing as it matches the plate style perfectly!
I feel like this plate is the star of the picture, but if you look at the other shots on the page she definitely is a master at using photo styling props to create a super pleasing photo!
Using Decorative Plates In Food Photography Wrapup
Hopefully by now you see that the styling that you use in your photos is (almost) as important as having great looking food! You could have the best noodles in the world, but if they don’t look great on the plate no one will want to repin, like or share it, let alone use your recipe to make it!