Prop Stylists: The Unsung Heroes Of Food Photography
Looking at a beautiful spread of photos in a food magazine, you’re probably salivating over the perfectly arranged greens or the buttery, crumbly pie crust. The plate it’s on, and the carefully arranged cutlery nearby, probably escape your notice.
Prop stylists, who choose everything in a photo that’s not food, often go unheralded in discussions of food photography, but they play a vital role on set. “I can make beautiful food, but unless somebody brought a beautiful plate to put it on, who cares?” as food stylist Kristy Mucci tells Co.Design.
“It’s totally an invisible thing,” says Kira Corbin, a New York-based prop stylist who does sets for food and fashion shoots. Corbin got her start a few years ago when the fashion website she worked for, Gilt Groupe, launched a (now defunct) food site. Co.Design talked to Corbin about what a prop stylist actually does all day, what makes a good plate, and why prop stylists tend to be hoarders.