I nearly fell off my chair when I received an email asking for advice on sourcing photo props. Then a week later, I received a few more messages and tweets asking for similar tips. If someone asked me this in real life, I would turn around to make sure that they are not asking someone else.
But, I've got to admit that it is nice to be asked and with that glee still buzzing about my head, I thought I'd put some ideas off the top of my head onto a blog post in case it is helpful for anyone else.
Firstly, it might be a good idea to take a step back and consider why it is that we use photo props. In my opinion it is a mix of these things:
To add interest
To show scale in a more gentle way
To add personality
To add a sense of composition
Because why not
With that in mind, here are my top tips:
Put your wallet away. DON'T SPEND YOUR MONEY!
I cannot say/stress/emphasise that enough. Use what you have. Look around your home. I mean really look. Get creative and consider things from a different perspective. You are only really limited by your imagination after all.
If it helps, let's break it down, room by room:
Kitchen: What about fruit, veg, tea caddies, confectionery boxes, spoons, teacups, dishes, placemats, serving boards, chopsticks rests, glasses etc.
Living Room: Ornaments, vases, candles, books, plants, playing cards, coasters, maps etc.
Bathroom: Trinket dishes, toiletries, guest soaps etc.
Office: Notebooks, pens, pencils, paperweights, postcards, stamps, wrapping paper etc.
Bedroom: Perfume bottles, jewellery, lipsticks, makeup palettes, hair pins,
Miscellany: games paraphernalia, haberdashery, old keys, rocks, shells, train tickets, travel cards, fans, small toys, doll house items, bottles, party paraphernalia.
Still can't find anything? Then I'll still ask you not to go out and buy stuff for the purpose of photo props. Look around when you are out and about, it's amazing what you will find. How about:
Shells, pebbles, driftwood, sea glass from the beach.
Acorns, leaves, from the park
Random things on the street.
Still can't find anything? Okay then, spend a little bit. Support your local charity shops and look for any of the above. Vintage shops have bargains to be had too.
Basically, keep it cheap. Keep it creative and use what you have. Anything goes. There are no rules so enjoy expressing yourself and breaking away from conventional blog/product photos. And if all else fails, you could draw your own props like I did HERE. Hahaha.