Props to Give Your Photos Some Extra Spice


It's great to have a routine for taking photos in place, but sometimes adding a little extra visual interest into an image can make a world of difference. I'm talking props, and although you may just be taking personal style photos or close-up product shots, there certainly are some easy, affordable options you can utilize to make the pictures that you take for your blog even more memorable.

Add in a Cool Plant or Topiary

You can go real or fake, hearty or delicate but adding in a unique plant or floral arrangement can really help to set the mood in a photo, as well as adding some dimension and filling some  blank space.  Pick one up at a horticultural outlet or go faux at a store that offers great style and price like Home Goods, which also has awesome options for various table decor and tchotchkes that can work in the forefront or backdrop of photos. You could also try a craft store like Jo-Ann Fabrics or Michael's for some artificial plant decor; just be sure to go for ones that seem realistic, and/or pick ones that may be “on-trend” at the moment, such as air plants and succulents.

Try Some (Temporary) Body Art

Wear this prop option on your skin, and even coordinate your look with some Henna or Temporary Tattoos (I've found some super cool ones on Etsy). Flash Tattoos were insanely popular last week at New York Fashion Week (they come in metallic tones and are meant to look like jewelry), and when I looked at my outfit photos from the week, they really photographed spectacularly in the natural light.

Visit a Prop Shop or Costume Store

You've also got the option of a local college, theatre company, or even department or specialty store (used for window displays) that may let you borrow some props, which is even better than buying and keeping something, as you won't feel obligated to use it over and over again just because you own it. You can find some pretty zany stuff by sorting through the objects available at these vendors, and who knows, it may even inspire an impromptu photo shoot at that very location!

Flea Markets, Thrift Stores

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but the key is to find and use objects that may at first feel a bit unconventional. Signs, lamps, furniture — search for items that may be in a unusual color that can pop in photos, or look interesting partially cropped out of the frame or blurred in the background. If you're looking for something specific, scour eBay and Etsy first, as you may have better luck locking down that exact item.

Go Through Your Scarf Bin

When the idea first struck me to lay the jewelry I was photographing on top of one of my scarves, I was instantly mad at myself that I hadn't thought to do it sooner!  Both fashion and winter scarves add a great variety of hues and texture to objects, and the best kind of prop to use is one that you already have! I've also used pristine place mats and box lids, laid with the inside part, up, and put smaller objects inside. Boxes both meant for vanity/table top storage, vintage hat boxes, and even the inside of shoebox lids can have some surprisingly cool designs, prints, and colors found within; flip a few over at home to see what you're working with, and I bet you'll be amazed.

Search for some inspiration online by looking on sites like Bloglovin, and start a private Pinterest Board or Evernote file were you can pin and brainstorm your prop ideas.

What interesting props have you used in your photos, and where have you found them?
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16 Responses

  1. Onianwah

    Interesting. I have recently been stuck with taking my photos at work and surprisingly, I have been loving it. Because it is a different scenario I think. Recently though, I have used magazines, the window at work as a background, the wooden surface of my table at work (which is pretty cool I must say). Tried a photo trick with the surface of the skin bag I’ve been carrying to work recently and it will make a gorgeous surface too.
    Thanks for the tips Julia.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  2. Ana

    I think the best pictures are the natural ones ( or at least the ones that look natural!), like the pictures walking on the street. For products, the books-food-bed arranges instagram style are the best.


  3. Jewel Divas Style

    I photograph my jewellery on a plain white cotton, mainly because when I look at things to buy I want to see them in natural light with nothing around to obscure the view, I use white so the colours pop and stand out better. The inside of pretty box lids are great though.

  4. Julia DiNardo

    I do like Jewel Divas Style of plain white cotton; especially o those super close upshots and ecommerce, the plainer the background can really help with enhancing the product.

  5. Mallory Brown

    You’re so right about the scarf! I’ve used those for jewelry before, and it looks so cool! I’ve also recently tried taking paintings from around the house and taking pictures of items sitting on top of the painting. It goes a long way!

  6. Tiff

    SCARVES! Why didn’t I think that my whole drawer full of scarves could provide with engaging and interesting photos!

    Thanks IFB! I had been running out of pretty magazine backdrops for my beauty blog!

  7. eva

    These sound so exciting, I really should start using the scarf tip more and I would love to try the body art and thrift store one as well!

  8. Julia Dinardo

    I gotta admit, the scarf is a good one! I photographed some stuff this weekend with one as the base layer, and even my hubby said it looked pretty cool!