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.
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.
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?)
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
(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.
Bonus prop hotlist: candles, antique items, cameras, glasses/sunglasses, makeup (especially lipsticks!), paperclips, keyrings, seasonal items and household decor pieces.
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