The word “Prop” actually means support or assistance. Props are an integral part of food photography and require thoughtful planning and consideration. Their function is to inspire the photographer and creative team in directing our attention to the main “hero” – which is the client’s product.
Michael Pohuski and Pohuski Studio’s production manager Colleen McIntosh — who provided the quotes for this story — take their props seriously. The Baltimore-based food photographer and his producer combine an “art background, advertising knowledge, and attention to detail” to wow clients with international reach, such as McCormick & Co. and Marriott International. Years and years of high-end shoots with niche products has created a need for the team to store everything in a befitting space.
As long as Michael’s been in business, he’s collected props. We simply overflowed with props and so we added another space in 2019. We now have five rooms with 1000 square footage and currently have hundreds of shelves and thousands of props.
We are constantly adding to and editing older props. We group everything in categories of like items and separate them by size and color. We tried numbering everything but the collection is too big. Keeping up with trends is not difficult but time consuming.
With such a vast agglomeration of, well, stuff, it’s no wonder clients get wide-eyed when they find they can pick and choose from the entire library. And if there’s something a client needs that isn’t actually there — a rare occurrence — it can be found or, better yet, made.
When we start a new project, our first thought is ‘do we have all the props and surfaces needed for this job?’ Ninety percent of the time, we do. We have racks and racks of every food related prop and background needed — in every size and color. If we don’t have it, we source it or create it. Our collection is available to every client and is an important reason why we have very satisfied and loyal clients.
So, the question this writer had to ask is, ‘what’s the weirdest prop you’ve got?’ Suffice to say, Michael and Colleen had an appropriate response.
We have a fire hydrant and traffic light from a shoe project and Discovery, respectively.
Weird props are usually acquired for a very specific job and often go home with the client.
With a clear dedication to being as reliable as possible, Michael and Colleen have carved out a fantastic career in a field that can be as messy and jumbled as a disorganized prop room. Makes sense that their client list is a who’s who of the food world. Next time those clients come around, they’ll be hoping it’s for something decidedly different than a shoot.
Having an eclectic prop and background collection is essential for a food photographer. Updating and keeping it current is challenging and fun. It is ever evolving and organization is key! Every client who gets a tour of our Prop Room says the same thing: “I better get an invite to your yard sale!”
See more of Michael’s work at pohuski.com.
Check out our other great photographers on our Find Photographers page!