Propping and Styling for a Summer Food Photography Shoot | Food Bloggers of Canada

These last few weeks something has become very obvious; summer has finally arrived. After surviving the dark, long days and polar vortex weather it's time to embrace the change in seasons. As in any industry the change in season means turnover of items; in fashion we see boots swapped for sandals; in home decor we see cozy blankets swapped for patio furniture.

The styling and propping of food photography also undergoes seasonal changes as summer trends emerge in the marketplace. You don't need to look too far to see what's hot in summer props. In fact, taking a little tour of the seasonal section in your local Homesense, Target, Ikea, Chapters, or The Bay just might give you the inspiration you need.

Understanding these trends and using them in your styled food shots can work to your advantage; and it doesn't have to overly complicated or expensive. Using basics you already have on hand (ie: plates, cutlery, glassware), your summer table can be transformed by adding simple accessories that transition well through any seasonal trend (ie: linens, vases, candles, straws, trays, stands, etc).

You'll also notice there are trends within the marketplace that don't seem to go out of style, they just get hotter. Two long-standing trends that are really taking off this summer are rustic entertaining and vintage picnics. These style trends can be found everywhere from restaurant patios to bridal showers, and with a few key items these trendy themes can easily be recreated in your kitchen.


We all know summer is THE time for picnics, but this summer picnics are become more vintage inspired. Pretty pastel florals, complemented by vintage gold rimmed china, are all brought together on a traditional gingham patterned picnic blanket.

When styling your vintage picnic tablescape why not take it outside? Natural elements such as grass and flowers can set the scene. Look for props that are dainty, intricate, and floral. As retailers start to stock new items with a vintage vibe, it's easy to source props such as plates, teacups, and silverware. However, with budget in mind, you can certainly find a lot of inexpensive props at antique markets and even Value Village.

Propping and Styling for a Summer Food Photography Shoot | Food Bloggers of Canada

Picnic Prop Must-Haves:

Mason jars, fresh flowers, tea towels, gingham blankets, picnic basket, paper straws, pop-top bottles, porcelain strawberry basket, country chic plates, teapot & tea cups.
Propping and Styling for a Summer Food Photography Shoot | Food Bloggers of Canada
Source Guide: Floral Plate | Blue Plate | Floral Tea Cup | Copper Wine Glass | Vintage Carafe | Porcelain Colander | Teapot | Tea Ball | Teaspoon | Small White Bowl | Gingham Fabric | Floral Fabric | Floral Arrangement


This summer the rustic entertaining trend will take food photography to a whole new level. From simple shots styled on beat-up old barn board, to more elaborate tablescapes adorned with natural elements. Dark and tarnished metals work together with rustic, grainy woods to create a moody, and maybe even romantic, atmosphere. Look for props that have a tarnished or "well used" look; scuffs, tarnish, peeling paint. As with the Vintage Picnic, you can find props everywhere from stores like Crate & Barrel to antique shops and Value Village.

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Propping and Styling for a Summer Food Photography Shoot | Food Bloggers of Canada

Rustic Prop Must-Haves:

Wooden cutting boards and platters, tarnished metal trays, gold or silver cutlery, burlaps, cheesecloths, dark plates, bowls and platters, mason jars, fresh neutral flowers, twine, neutral linens.


Propping and Styling for a Summer Food Photography Shoot | Food Bloggers of Canada
Source Guide: Cutting Board | Large Platter | Gypsophila | Copper Wine Glass | Vase | Gold Flatware | Small White Bowl | Vintage Silver Tray | Dipping Bowl | Serving Spoon | Burlap | Cheesecloth


Prop Styling Tips:

  • Enhance. Colours, textures and shapes should all work together to enhance the food. Remember, the food is the star, make it pop with props.
  • Juxtaposition.  When styling, think in terms of adding items that counterbalance one another. Consider colours, textures, size, shape, when placing your items.
  • Style It for Real.  Keeping props and styling realistic, simple & comfortable. Always ask yourself, "does this prop make sense in this scene." Choose prop and backgrounds that complement your dish and bring it to life.
  • Tell a story. Don't forget that your food photos help to enhance your editorial content and/or are used to tell a story themselves. Invoke feelings and allow the reader to visually understand your story.
  • Have Fun. “There is no right or wrong way to style food as long as the photograph makes you want to tuck in and eat!” ~ Mari Williams

Looking for more inspiration for styling a rustic dinner or vintage picnic? Check out the beautifully styled photos on my "Styling & Propping Trends // Summer"  Pinterest Board.

Inspiration & Tips for Propping a Trendy Summer Table Photoshoot was written by Brittany Stager.  Brittany is the designer behind My Daily Randomness, a personal lifestyle blog. It is there where she writes about everything from home renovation and decor, to travel and food. When given the opportunity, Brittany loves to combine her two passions; styling and food. When she is not blogging, she is filling her days with social media at her business, GroupTalk.


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Fantastic photos and such great tips! I’ll have to keep an eye out for vintage tablecloths and serving pieces at the thrift stores.


Great tips Britt – I’m loving your vintage picnic! Staging is so hard…I really need all the help I can get! 🙂

Britt @ My Daily Randomness

Thanks so much Jo-Anna! Try the less is more approach when staging… pick 2-3 items you know you would like in your shot first. Sometimes, those three will do! When we give ourselves too many options it becomes difficult!

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