Ten Dirt Cheap or FREE Props for Styled Photos

TillyUncategorized18 Comments

On top of being able to take great photos, the content of your images matter too. Without my huge studio cupboards and shelves filled (ok overfilled) with gorgeous props, my photos would be pretty meh. Some of my props cost well into the thousands of dollars and other cost as little as a few cents (thank you Ebay!). Here are my top ten props that you can get dirt cheap or find already in your home. (and now you can check out series two here for TEN MORE cheap or free prop ideas and loads of pretty inspiration) 
1. Coffee or tea cups
You will notice that many of my styled stock photos and flatlays have a tea or a coffee in them, mostly because we always have a tea or a coffee nearby when we are in our work space. I love sipping a latte while I work, I’m sippin’ one now.
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2. Office Supplies
I have a huge range of pens, pencils, staplers, washi tapes and tape dispensers. I definitely have my favourites a $20 stapler and $15 tape dispenser from Typo (an Australian stationery store), but any will do! You can even take dollar store versions and make them look luxe with gold or silver spray paint.
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3. Notebooks, books, planners/journals.
Lay them flat, in a pile, stand them up between bookends, open one up to a blank page so that you can add text later (using Canva, PicMonkey or Photoshop). Layer layer layer, several notebooks on top of eachother always look nicer than just one on it’s own. I’ve picked up notebooks on clearance and a tonne on ebay (did I mention how much I love ebay already?)
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(There are seven books in this image: five notebooks and two journals)

4. Your Electronic Devices
Ok, so while technically not cheap, most households have an abundance of devices already. Laptops, iPads/tablets, smartphones etc. You’ve all got them! We are constantly using them, so definitely include them in your work themed photos.
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5. Handbags and Clutches
Those who know me well know I’m a handbag girl, my collection is expansive and gorgeous. So I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that. Pop a bag in the corner, or lay a clutch flat and place it’s contents beside it as though they are spilling out of it’s opening (hashtag #bagspill). Different bag materials also add wonderful texture to your photos, leathers, hair-on hides, cloth and embroidery. They are all great fillers.
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6. Clothing and Scarves
Sometimes it’s hard to fill an empty space along the edge of a flatlay, so I add a scarf – it can be moulded to fit any space, or folded, or twisted etc. Or you can fold a pair of jeans or an embellished top to take up a large space in a flatlay.
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7. Jewelry
Oh yeah baby, now we’re talking. Rings, earrings, necklaces, bangles. They’re such great space fillers and even if you don’t have an abundance of these in your home, you can find very cheap costume jewelry at your local dollar store.
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8. Food, Food, Glorious Food
We all gotta eat right. Seriously, most of us are eating at our desks or in our workspaces. So include some food on a plate and you’ve filled a spot with something you already had on hand. My favourites are macarons, croissants and slices of pretty cake. Blueberries look incredible in photos, just sayin’.
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9. Workout Gear
With so many of us doing fitness and health blogs or Instagrams we can definitely utilise our workout gear to make relevant photos. Pop your gym shoes, a waterbottle or protein shaker, a pedometer and skipping rope and always headphones! Use your tank tops or tights to add texture and colour.
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(ok, you caught me, so not technically workout gear, but I did go for a walk in the park with my adorable family in this outfit!)

and last, but not least…
10. Flowers or Plants
My personal favourite, I love having living plants in my office, but I also have a collection of great fake flowers. But fake flowers can be expensive, so I recommend starting with living ones. From your garden, or the supermarket, or the nursery. Succulents, flowers, tropical plants! All of the greenery and colour adds to your photos, trust me! My favourite styled photos always have plants in them.
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Bonus prop hotlist: candles, antique items, cameras, glasses/sunglasses, makeup (especially lipsticks!), paperclips, keyrings, seasonal items and household decor pieces.
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How many of the prop hotlist items can you find in this image?

So get shopping, collecting and snapping! I’d love a comment if you have any other hot tips or any questions.

Have a fab day. xxoo

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18 Comments on “Ten Dirt Cheap or FREE Props for Styled Photos”

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    This is such a helpful and spot on post! I’ve been searching for a post just like this and you over-delivered (my favorite kind of info-based post!)….thanks girl ?

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    This is a great list! I’m always running around my house trying to find photo props for the right photo-feel. Thanks for the additional inspiration 🙂

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    I love it! This post gave me so many ideas to try when I do my product shoots in the future. I typically use jewelry (watches and necklaces), plants and other pieces of clothing. But guess there are so many to try!

    Abby of Life in the Fash Lane

  4. Tilly

    Hey Leslie, thanks for your kind words! The sweater is from Portmans Australia, but it was last season. So I’m not sure if i you’d be able to find it again. I love it! <3

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    These are awesome tips! I’m going to pin this so I can up my instagram game in 2017. I love that blush colored sweater. May I ask where you got it?
    Thank You.

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    I just purchased a few of these things when Target was having a huge markdown on their dollar area. Can’t wait to do the shoot. It is so fun to use the current colors they have. Thanks for the inspiration. #ShowYourBlogLove

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    As a new blogger, I actually really needed this! I love the idea with jewelry since I have tons of it always laying around. I also loved the tip about dollar store staplers and spray paint. I need to get more creative with my photos. I am going to have to save this page to come back to. Thanks!

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    Great list! I love that I can buy cute office supplies for the sole purpose of using in photos : ) Adore the GirlBoss clutch, so chic!

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    great tips!!! looks so beautiful 🙂
    thanks for sharing!

    Jade –
    tinybigmoments.squarespace.com

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