Whether you are an Instagram addict, a blogger or a full blown interior stylist, a prop box is essential to have to hand for styling up your images. In fact, most professional stylists are more likely to have a prop cupboard or a prop shed for all those bits and bobs they have accumulated! I don’t know about you, but I always find it really intriguing to have a peek inside a stylist’s prop cupboard, so I thought I would share with you what I always have to hand when shooting images for my blogs and/or social media.
1. Plants. You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t noticed the MASSIVE trend for houseplants of late! From succulents and cacti to ferns and monstera, plants will bring life, texture and form to your images. Best not to lock these away in a cupboard or box though! Instead, incorporate them into your home decor for that jungle vibe and then they will be super handy next time you are shooting too.
2. Stationery. I keep a good selection of beautiful notebooks, postcards, vintage ephemera, washi tapes, bull dog clips, string, nice pens & pencils and scissors to hand as these are all really handy props either flat lays and you can use postcards and other paper goods to stick to the wall, with tapes, clips or string. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like collecting pretty stationery? At least now you have a valid excuse!
3. Bottles, vases & cups. These are a few from my collection of receptacles that I use for displaying flowers. Flea markets, car boot sales & charity shops are great for picking up some really cheap pieces, just make sure to build a collection that varies in size, shape and colour so you have just the right container for your shot.
4. Fresh flowers. This one nearly goes without saying! Flowers prettify any image, adding colour and life, and there is so much creativity to be had when working with flowers. Obviously this isn’t one to be kept in your prop box, but always try to plan ahead and buy your blooms the day before or the morning you are shooting so they are super fresh.
5. Paper decorations. Honeycomb balls, pom poms, pinwheels, garlands and tassels are perfect for adding a splash of colour as well as depth to your images. Gather a selection in different colours and sizes and you’ll always have one that’s just right to pop in your shot. And seeing as most of these fold down flat they are super easy to store when you are not using them.
6. Books and magazines. I love old books for their beautiful illustrated covers and the patina of their pages. These are also super easy to build a collection of via your local car boot, charity shop or flea market. You might even find yourself getting a tad obsessed with them! (I know I did!) Check out our recent post by Lucy Heath for how to use old books in your styling for lots of great ideas. Magazines are also a perfect prop, but make sure you opt for those really beautiful indie mags rather than the TV Times or gossip mag! Oh, and we can’t wait to see how you style our first print issue of 91 Magazine later this year!
7. Fabric. All stylists must have a fabric stash. It is essential for adding texture to your images as well as colour and pattern. I have a mixture of plain linen fabrics, patterned fabrics as well as vintage doilies and lace. Having a good fabric collection means you’ve always got some to hand if you need to whip up a quick cushion cover or some napkins for a shoot too!
8. Dried flowers. So I’ve already mentioned fresh flowers, but dried flowers are another kettle of fish and worth having a selection to hand. These tend to bring an all together different feel to your images, usually a more earthy, rustic look, and the best thing is you don’t have to plan ahead for these, you’ll have them to hand to add to any impromptu Instagram set up you might create. These are some of my faves pictured above – billy buttons, hydrangeas and eucalyptus.
So there you have it! My top 8 things to always have in your prop box! We’d love to see what your must haves are too, so feel free to share on social media and use the hashtag #91magazine_styling. Happy Styling!