5 Inexpensive Props Every Photographer Should Own

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5 Inexpensive Props Every Photographer Should Own

There are so many great photography props out there. If you don’t know where to start you can end up spending LOTS of money without much reward. I recommend starting simple. Here are a few inexpensive props that can add a nice flair to your photos.

Baby Holding Chalk BoardChalk Board
Find a small chalk board that will fit into your camera bag and keep it there for all your photo session! One of my favorite things to do is to pull out the chalk board mid-session and ask my subjects to write something. People always come up with something meaningful to write. I’ve had people write everything from their last name, Merry Christmas, wedding date, expressive phrases, and I even had a little guy draw me a turkey (it was a few days before Thanksgiving). During almost all of my engagement and family sessions I do a series of photos where my subjects write on the board and hold up their works of art. I purchased my chalk board from my local Goodwill, but there are also tons of variations available on Etsy.

Every little kid loves bubbles! If you are having trouble getting the little ones to warm up to you, pull out a can of bubbles (or even better, a bubble gun) and there is a good chance you will get at least one real smile. I’ve also learned that some dogs like bubbles even more then children.

Sun Glasses
For some reason, putting on a pair of sun glasses gives people a little more confidence. Go to your local dollar store and purchase a half dozen of them and put them in your photo bag. I like to give my stubborn non-smiling groomsmen (yes grown men) sun glasses for the first few shots and this tends to loosen them us. They also come in handy when you have a great shot/location but everyone is squinting because they are staring into the sun.
Dogs in Sun Glasses
Picture Frame
So the whole picture frame thing may be a little overdone. However, it is so fun and if people are having fun, you get to see real similes! Just about any size picture frame will do (I bet you have some stashed around your house that you can use). Plop large frames on the ground and let the little ones crawl in and out, or have a couple hold the frame and make funny faces at each other. The sky is the limit here.
Family holding a picture frame photo prop
Scrabble Pieces
There are so many ways you can use scrabble pieces – have your subjects hold up the letters, lay them flat without any people in the photos, have your subjects blurry in the background with the letters standing up in focus, etc. So go and raid or your game closet or pick up a set from Amazon and start taking pictures!

Scrabble Pieces Photography Prop


Kristeen HudsonThis blog post is brought to you by KristeenMarie Photography. Be sure to check her out on Facebook.

Kristeen is an Indianapolis, IN Photographer who loves ice tea, the color purple, technology, and small children. She loves many other things in life that, though there are not many that she loves more then photography. She loves life and wants to capture every bit of it using her camera.

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  1. March 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm —

    Great ideas, thanks!

  2. oread
    March 12, 2012 at 4:56 am —

    good 🙂

  3. December 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm —

    @Karen – I actually just came back to suggest baby blocks. I’ve been using the ones I bought for my daughter, but I think I need to go get my own set. I can’t always find the letters I need floating around the bottom of her toy box. :))

  4. December 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm —

    I have everything but the Chalkboard, but have been thinking about getting on. Also, I use Baby Blocks instead of Scrabble Pieces, as I find them easier to find at Thift Shops.
    I also find that the mustaches, glasses on a stick make great props, especially for teens and pre-teens. Am submitting a fun photo of them in use.
    Families love them too!
    Thanks for sharing this!!

    • January 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm —

      Very interested in knowing where to get the mustache props and sunglasses.
      If u have a site that would be helpful.

  5. December 30, 2011 at 9:51 am —

    LOVE these ideas!

  6. December 28, 2011 at 9:10 am —

    Great ideas – and I already have a few of them, so I’m on the right track! I have the frame and it’s huge – so it’s great with seniors as well. 🙂

  7. December 28, 2011 at 7:17 am —

    Assuming every photographer shoots children, the bubbles are good. If not then hold the bubbles back for the shoot with grandpa… Actually now that I write that grandpa and bubbles sound quite interesting.

  8. December 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm —

    LOL wonder why scrabble tiles are more expensive then the game istelf . . . great ideas though. Thank you

  9. December 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm —

    Scrabble pieces…… GENIUS!!

  10. December 27, 2011 at 11:12 am —

    Love the chalk board – I also say hats hats hats!

  11. Siobhan
    December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am —

    Great ideas! Thank you for sharing

  12. December 27, 2011 at 10:15 am —

    Love the bubbles idea!!! and the scrabble pieces!!! Thank you!

  13. December 27, 2011 at 10:07 am —

    Thank you for a great article. 🙂

  14. Cristina Lee
    December 27, 2011 at 8:49 am —

    Fantastic Ideas..Thanks!

  15. December 27, 2011 at 8:46 am —

    I never even thought about bubbles. Thanks for the ideas!!

  16. December 27, 2011 at 8:38 am —

    great ideas!

  17. toni
    December 27, 2011 at 8:34 am —

    yes yes yes on the bubbles, i have a wonderful photo of my daughter with her cousin blowing bubbles in the background!…nothing fake or forced about the smile on her face while running after those!…:)

  18. December 27, 2011 at 8:19 am —

    Love these ideas! 🙂

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5 Inexpensive Props Every Photographer Should Own