Food Props on Sunday part 10 – Guest blogger Andrew from Spitton and Spitton Extra

food props

We are now down to the last of my guest bloggers who have enriched this Food Props on Sunday series with their insights and tips about props and their use in food photography, I am forever grateful for the time and effort they have put into their posts and for their generosity to share it with us here on Lucullian. And please continue to send me your Show Us Your Food Prop posts for the roundup next Sunday the 11th, send them to me at luculliandelights AT gmail DOT com with your name, the name of your blog and the url to the blog post and I will include you in the roundup!
But now it is time to present my last guest blogger, Andrew of Spittoon and Spittoon Extra who I have known ever since I started blogging, we do move in slightly different circles as he writes about wine and drinks (or is it only wine?) but on Spittoon Extra he splashes out on food as well. It is Andrew who is holding in the Does My Blog Look Good In This? event which is the oldest food photography event/contest that we have and that is still around. He is a great photographer with a keen interest in photography and he is going to approach the subject from a slightly different angle, he will discuss wine and drinks props, something that is often forgotten!

To be honest I don’t hold a huge range of glasses; they just don’t last that long! I’ve lost count of the number of ISO’s (international standard wine tasting glasses) I’ve got through. On the shelf are remains of sets ranging from expensive Conran glasses through to cheap-as-chips supermarket collections. They just don’t last long! Like those expensive Riedal stemwares I once had they all break during the washing up stage.

Surprisingly my favourite little glass – picked up for next to nothing in a Cape Town home wares store has lasted well beyond the norm – surviving the flight home and the near constant still life use since. The fact that breakages happen so frequently has convinced me that expensive glasses are just a waste. OK so you need a set for real dinner party entertaining but ‘sets’ are really not needed. How many glasses do you need in a photo? One, maybe two? Exactly the same for bowls and plates for the foodie props.

This rules out sourcing glasses from antique shops or high end junk stores. I only need one thank you very much and complete ‘antique’ sets of six or eight are too many despite the inevitable breakages. Such stores are generally too expensive anyway, however interesting the shape or styling. I do find Zara at Home on London’s Regent Street a great source for interesting glasses. Just avoid those too garishly coloured or overly patterned as these hide the liquid inside.

Bron and Meeta and the others have emphasised in their contributions to this Food Props on Sunday series that it is the background that sets the mood for food images; so too for pictures of wine or other drinks. I’ve a nice range of coasters for example and use place mats, napkins and the like exactly as the foodies do. Texture is important to me, so I too have a section of an old door with peeling paint, chopping boards, a piece of Welsh slate and the like to add to the ‘mood’. I’ve also just invested in a pile of fabric squares (designed for quilters and patchworking) from The Cotton Patch which I hope will add a new fresher feel for forthcoming shots and broaden the often limited palate range in my photographs.

While Meeta for example mentioned that undersized props work for food, if the shot combines the wine/drink bottle it doesn’t often work. The disparity in wine glass verses wine bottle can result in the bottle looking overlarge. Experimentation is the key and you may well find it works for you.

The good thing with wine is that it comes ready packaged often, although not always, with an expensively designed label that in itself sets the mood. Selecting props to emphasise the feel of the wine should be at the forefront of the set-up. Wine bottles can also come with their own built in props. Think of the wire cage and cork of the champagne or other fizz for example or the cork itself (even if screw caps are now more prevalent). There are also wooden wine boxes that Port especially and gifts are often presented in. Think also of the corkscrew (although I’ve only three) and decanters. The latter I find, however, to be too large to comfortably include in my photos – although that could be down to my personal ‘style’ of photo taking and you may think differently.

The main issue with presenting wine in a glass is that the glass HAS to be clean. I’ve fallen for this many times in having a decent image failing due to grubby marks left by greasy hands or failing to polish fully post washing. Wash and polish, just be careful of breakages.

Thanks you very much Andrew for sharing your knowledge with us!

Food Props on Sunday, part 1
Food Props on Sunday, part 2
Food Props on Sunday, part 3
Food Props on Sunday, part 4
Food Props on Sunday, part 5
Food Props on Sunday, part 6
Food Props on Sunday, part 7
Food Props on Sunday, part 8
Food Props on Sunday, part 9

L