It can be tough to find the perfect photo prop that isn’t overly used all over Instagram nowadays. We’ve all seen the milk bathtubs and eyeglass reflections, but how can you stand out from the crowd? From DIY flower crowns to your local craft store’s flower aisle, some of the best props can be found in the most unexpected places! Here are some of our favorite cheap and DIY photo props.
Cheap and DIY Photo Props
For a truly unique perspective, mirrors are the perfect prop for getting all the right angles. You can usually find some cheaper mirrors at your local Goodwill or even pick one up from a craft or furniture store.
Hang it from a wall, stand it up or even let your model play with what feels right for them. David Ardill experimented with positioning his model in front of a standing mirror piece to get both the back and front angles.
Have a fun holiday or event coming up? Add a little festivity to your photos with these giant ornament balloons! All you’ll need is some giant balloons (available at Party City, Etsy, etc.), cardstock, pipe cleaners, hot glue and scissors to recreate this fun project.
And the best part is you can match your balloon colors to any shoot or theme you want! Check out the full tutorial at Studio DIY to make some for yourself.
HOBBY LOBBY FLOWERS
Many of us have probably heard of the “ugly location challenge” by now, where photographers find a less than appealing location and create some beautiful images. One of our favorite spots for fun, unique props is the local Hobby Lobby.
You’ll find rows of props such as jewelry, foliage, and flowers. Dusty Knapp challenged himself at his local Michael’s store, posing his model among the flowers to make the location unnoticeable. We recommend looking up the hashtag #uglylocationchallenge for even more fun inspiration!
Want to add a dreamy backdrop to your next photo shoot? These floating clouds can be used for portraits, special events and more – with nearly no artistic skill required to make!
Some of the materials include a hot glue gun, paper lanterns and fishing line which can be found at your local craft store or Amazon. Try it out for yourself using this easy tutorial from A Practical Wedding.
USE THE FRUIT
Probably one of the easiest and cheapest props we love is one that’s already sitting in your refrigerator. The next time you’re looking for a little extra prop in your photo, add in a piece of your favorite fruit and make some magic!
We love seeing how Nathan Lobato incorporates different fruits into some of his most recent photos, whether it’s with a simple strawberry or a bath full of lemons.
HAKU LEI CROWN
Whether it’s a beach shoot, indoors or fun event, a fresh haku lei makes any photo pop. Made using only flowers, scissors, and rafia – available in most craft stores! Ariele Chapman incorporates her own haku lei crowns into her engagement and wedding photos for a simple yet stunning prop. Not sure how to make your own at home?
Check out this quick YouTube tutorial for a look at the whole process.
UNDER MY UMBRELLA
Take a page out of Rihanna’s book and bring a cool umbrella to your next photo shoot! Indoor or outdoor, you can use it to create fun vibes or a more sophisticated look depending on what you’re going for. We recommend finding a more unique-looking umbrella like this lace from Etsy for just $5. Riley Taylor uses his with a model along with matching decorations for a cool vintage look.
PLAY WITH COLORED GLASSES
From frolicking in the ocean or even a desert shoot in the middle of nowhere, colorful glasses can add a pop of color anywhere! David Arias contrasts a pair of pink aviators with the clear blue of the ocean in Hawaii. Don’t be afraid to let your model play around with them and make it their own. You can find colored glasses in nearly all shapes and colors on Amazon.
Some of our other favorite spots to search are the Wish App and your local Goodwill for trendy glasses you can’t find anywhere else.
Add Some Light
One of our favorite techniques for creating light in photos is adding in a fun, expected light-up prop. You can see this effect all over Brandon Woelfel’s page with props such as sparklers, neon lights, fairy lights and even books. John Tan-Torres put his own spin on the glowing book to illuminate his model’s face in the dark library.
You can make your own glowing props right at home or even grab a “folding book light” on Amazon!
Retro is definitely making a comeback this year! Whether it’s funky glasses or on-trend fanny packs, a shady visor is a fun prop for any shoot. Don’t be afraid to play with colors, shapes and even text like this “California” one above from Sam Dameshek. Find your perfect visor at Goodwill, Amazon or even this fun neon one from Sunny Life.
What are some of your favorite photo props right now? Share with us on social at @h_collective