A few years ago, the idea of buying something JUST because it would look nice in photos never even entered my head. Then blogging happened, now I have cupboards and drawers filled with random bits and bobs that I almost solely use as photo props.
Apologies to my bank account…
My photo game was pretty poor up until about a year or two ago. It was okay, but nothing special. Then I started playing around with my camera a bit more, playing around with the arrangement of my photos and I feel like I’ve recently found my style.
Today’s post isn’t about how to take photos, so I’ll spare you all those details – it’s more of a shopping list for things that I’ve found give my photos a little depth and make them look more interesting. For me, the key to a good blog photo (especially a flatlay) is to keep it busy. So here are the props I think you need to up your blog photo game.
Card and textures
First thing’s first – the background of a photo is SO IMPORTANT. I use giant A1 sheets of card from Hobbycraft (I have white, grey and pink) and also use the fur throw from the bottom of our bed a lot.
A good background with some texture can add so much to a photo – another thing I love using is the bed when we have a white duvet set on.
Magazines, books and notebooks
Literally as many of the above as possible and the prettier the covers the better. I frequently use my ban.do diary and my Urban Outfitters daily journal as blog props because they’re both so flipping gorgeous. I also love “coffee table books” as props. (You know the types – pretty covers to make your coffee table look nice.) Magazines are the best, too. I particularly love Blogosphere magazine because it has so many relevant articles AND the pages aren’t shiny, so you don’t get that glare from the lighting when photographing.
Fake flowers and leaves
Last week I went to the opening of the new Homesense store in Leeds and I came away with SO MANY new photo props. The ones that I’m suddenly using an awful lot are the sticks of fake eucalyptus and the big fake hydrangea. I love using flowers as props, but let’s be honest they aren’t cheap for how long they last. Some flowers I’d only ever buy real because the fake ones look too obviously fake (for example, tulips), but with more leafy things (like the eucalyptus) I feel like it’s a lot easier to get away with it!
And on top of that, the sticks of eucalyptus were only £1.99 each (there are two photographed here bunched together) and the huge hydrangea was only £2.99. BARGAIN.
Pots, candles and tealight holders
The little pink pot in the bottom left corner was another Homesense find and I absolutely adore it. Any sort of little pot/trinket tray/bowl always looks good, especially in shots involving lots of little bits. As an example, I used a plate in the above Instagram photo that, would you believe it, is from Morrisons of all places! Annoyingly forgot to stick them in the post flatlay though…
Along similar lines are candles and tealight holders. I use candles in a LOT of my blog photos, either to fill out the background or to pad out a flatlay. My particular favourites are ones that you can continue to use as props even when you’ve burned away the candle. I also picked up the copper wire tealight holder (top right) from Homesense for about £6 or so and it works great in the same way I use candles (laid down in flatlays or stood up as part of a nice blurred background shot).
Makeup and jewellery
I think the key to an interesting photo is to have things of a varied size littering the shot. Big things like candles and books, but then small things as well. My favourite small things to use are rings, bobby pins, watches and bits of makeup (specifically lipstick or brushes).
Tea, mugs and kitchenware
You can never go wrong with a cup of tea in a pretty mug (this is the mug I ALWAYS use) if you’re struggling for prop ideas. Y’all know how much I love tea and how often I feature a good cuppa in my photos – they always serve me well!
Other things along the same lines that make great props include teapots, trays, little plates and dishes.
Stationery, crafty bits and other miscellanous things
I can’t think of a category to house all the rest of the bits, and I don’t want this post to be TOO much longer, so in terms of “stationery, crafty bits and other miscellaneous things” I’m talking confetti, pens and pencils, photographs and polaroids, cameras, lenses, prints and even a laptop can look great as a prop.
I hope this has given you a little bit of inspo for how to up your photo game with some A+ props. I was asked to do a “how to take the perfect flatlay” type post a few days ago so that should be coming your way in a couple of weeks, too!
Let me know if I’ve missed out any of your favourite photo props in the comments!