Just like models get hair and makeup before a photo shoot, the food you see in magazines and on glossy food websites gets dressed up, too. It’s important that the food looks its very best, but the plate it sits on and what surrounds it is key to showing off a dish’s good side.

By Real Simple
Updated July 12, 2018

Color palette, overall style, and the food itself all inform which plates, platters, linens, and flatware get chosen to highlight the recipes in Real Simple. Soups need bowls while saucy dishes need plates with a lip. Some drinks need a mug, while others need a tall glass, and so on.

Watch prop stylist Claire Spollen take us inside the Real Simple Prop Room where she shares a few secrets about creating a unique stage for each recipe.