Blog, Social Media Management

August 20, 2018

Help Me, I’m Poor…& Need Photo Props

Photo props can 100% be a creep expense that you DO NOT ANTICIPATE

when shooting content for social media.

Trust me, I should be one to talk after I tracked my spending for budgeting purposes and realized that props are totally my kryptonite. I blew literally $300 at the drop of a hat once, all because Halloween was around the corner and apparently I have zero self-control around fall props ha!

So the first step is admitting you have a problem, but then what?

Good, quality photography is multi-dimensional. It has INTEREST. It has PROPS! Right?


So, we get creative here folks.

I’ve listed out some of my favorite places to creep for props, depending on what vertical you work in (meaning like, are you shooting social media content for a restaurant? For a beauty brand? For a CPG brand? etc.) Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s a good start and if you have any spots you want to add to the conversation…drop a comment! I’m sure we could ALL use a little inspiration & switch-up from our norms, you know? Sharing is caring kids.

  1. Target’s Dollar Spot: MY PERSONAL FAVORITE (and also likely to get out-of-hand quickly if you have no self control…can’t say I didn’t warn you.) This is an absolute gold mine for props and everything is affordably priced under five bucks. I will say it’s hit-or-miss, but you should dedicate some time to picking through all of the riffraff for hidden gems that you might not necessarily have thought would create a cool shot at first glance. I’m a big fan of the Dollar Spot Glitter, confetti, makeup bags (I shoot a lot of beauty content) & sunglasses!
  2. Michael’s Craft Store: GET YO COUPONS READY PEOPLE! Michael’s is my go-to when it comes to picking backgrounds/ backdrops. Why? Well, they have the world’s largest scrapbook section…FACTS. Because I shoot a lot of tight photography shots of small items, scrapbook paper is a really cheap background hack. Instead of investing in huge 10ft photo backdrops (needed for if I was shooting models/ people) I can pick up scrapbook paper for SUPER cheap and change the dimension or feel of my shot just by swapping out the paper! Genie. Also- wasn’t kidding about the coupons. Sign up for Michael’s rewards and never shop without a coupon! They send out coupons literally every day so you should never be paying full price when you walk in the door.
  3. The Dollar Tree [or your local equivalent]: I am a BIG fan of the dollar store, man, and it is so underrated. Not enough people take advantage, and you guys are MISSING. OUT! I’m not kidding when I say that I bought organization stuff for my makeup collection (I’m a hoarder) for a fraction of what I would have spent at The Container Store when I first moved into my apartment…and that is just the tip of the iceberg. A good tip is to take a trip around the time of any major holidays because most dollar stores go all-out with decorations on the cheap cheap. 4th of July, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day…the list goes on. You can get cute themed confetti, necklaces, fun props, and more to really spice up your flatlays and create cool video content with!
  4. Thrift Stores: Thrift stores are definitely more of a time commitment and typically you won’t just walk in and be hit with immediate inspiration for what you see…but that’s okay! A few hacks to help you maximize your thrift store trip include:
    1. Clothing: Instead of looking at an article of clothing through the lens of, “…would I wear this?” Ask yourself, “…is this a cool piece of fabric that might make a good backdrop?” Fuzzy sweaters, leather, and sequins all make for cool backdrops for product photography!
    2. Housewares: If you’re shooting food photography, the housewares section is going to be your gold mine. Curating a collection of kitchen props can be so expensive through traditional shopping, but thrift stores practically GIVE that stuff away! Plates, utensils, napkins, you name it and the thrift store is where you should get it.
    3. Accessories: The jewelry and sunglass sections of thrift stores also sometimes hold gems that can really enhance flatlays. Depending on your style, pearls, pins, brooches, and sunglasses all are great accents that can elevate your shot without a huge investment.

There ya go kids, those are my top tried-and-true tips for ballin’ on a budget when it comes to creating social content. Don’t ever let a lack of funds have you feeling like you can’t create awesome shots for yourself or your client…all you need to do is get a little creative.

Other relevant shit:

+  Basic iPhone photography tipz

+ FREE PR Resource Guide {for peeps who have no idea what PR is}

+ How to manage mad social media accounts effectively

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