Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Focus On The Props – Photo Styling

(This post is part of my Focus Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the list of all the posts HERE!)

You may have noticed that I’ve been attempting to make my photos a bit more arty and styled lately – using props rather than just photographing a project on a plain background. This is for several reasons – 1. I got a bit bored with the way I was doing things, 2. I wanted to emulate nicely styled photos like you see in magazines like Mollie Makes, 3. I noticed that things which get pinned more on Pinterest are often the ones with more props.

I still have a lot to learn, and I thought this event was a good excuse to practice a bit more and share what I’m doing!

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Here’s some of the photos I’ve posted recently using props:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I also used props to style my header for my Jennifer Grace Creates Facebook Page:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Adding the scissors was the ah-ha moment in the above photo!

On these pictures I’ve mainly been using crafty items as the props, but I want to start adding other pretty items too. One of my inspirations for adding more items is the #propstylers challenge on Instagram, set up by Georgie St. Clair and Christina Colli. Each month they challenge use to use a certain prop (for this month, May 2015, it’s ribbon) and style it in a gorgeous way, to post to instagram using the hashtag. You can see Georgie’s original post about the challenge HERE. If you click HERE you can see some of the recent #propstylers entries on Instagram. I thought I needed a plan of action to help me focus on this!

So I gathered up a basket full of bits and pieces:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Here they are all spread out. It include a big mix of items, large and small, and different sizes and colours – though I did keep it to more muted colours rather than bold and bright ones for now:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Note the little boxes of sequins and buttons – these wouldn’t be necessary for everyone but I think it’s good for me to use something I’m comfortable with, and so I can keep my scattered style!

I tried to create a styled photo straight away, using the ribbon prompt for the challenge. Plus I used an empty frame and a triangle button to keep in with my ‘focus’ theme for this weekend. I liked how the tarnished frame looked with the green flowers inside so I picked these out with a couple of other bits in the same hues:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Which looked okay but I thought it needed something else to make it ‘pop’. So I added in a couple of coral-coloured buttons:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I liked this much better!

Next I decided to try and photograph my ‘On A Journey’ Brooch again with these new props. I also kept some ribbon in for the challenge, but wanted to do something different with it, so I wrapped it around a piece of slate:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I thought I’d try a different background surface, so I photographed the same set-up on a woodgrain patterned piece of paper:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I’m not sure if I prefer this on white or on woodgrain, what do you think?

One tip I’ve learnt is it’s great to have a lump of Blu Tack to hand while you are styling. You can put a small piece under a curved object to stop it rolling around, or you can use it to keep things level – for example in the above photos the brooch is propped up at the top with a thick button and a piece of Blu Tack to keep it level with the slate:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

What do you think? Have you ever tried to add props to your photos? You could try photographing some of your favourite things, or a nice meal, or a new purchase, in an arty way like this, then use the photo for a scrapbook page!

Be Inspired:

Style a photo using some props

Wrap ribbon around something grungy / discoloured

Put some flowers inside an empty frame

Which of my styled photos do you like the best?

I’ll see you again soon for the last post of the day,

Jennifer x

  • I personally prefer the woodgrain background. It’s amazing how much of a difference just adding in those coral buttons made, everything popped all of a sudden
    Jo xxx

    May 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm
  • Linda Reilly

    I to prefer the woodgrain too. Never thought of using props will give it a try xx

    May 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm
  • awesome ideas, I always forget about staging

    May 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm
  • woodgrain for me too. I do love the staged photos….and yours look lovely x

    May 16, 2015 at 10:14 pm
  • Frances

    Staging is something I need to get into. Thanks for the inspiration. I like them both for different reasons.

    May 16, 2015 at 10:17 pm
  • sarah

    love the way the textures of the frame and slate and woodgrain add interest to the photos!

    May 16, 2015 at 10:29 pm
  • I have to be honest and say I don’t always like staged photos as sometimes I think they distract from the project. But I guess that is the same with scrapbook pages I don’t like them over embellished as I find it too distracting so it is probably the same! Having said that I can really enjoy various styled pages and photos but not sure it is something I would do!!

    May 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm
  • Jackie Edwards

    Never thought about staging before!!!! Try to make sure that there isn’t a tree growing out of someone’s head when I take a photo but that is about it!!!!!!!!!! LOL Will have to give this some thought!!!!!!!

    May 17, 2015 at 12:18 am
  • Love the picture frame style – and the little giraffe one is gorgeous too!
    I clicked to the links you gave (and spent ages!!!) – they all love white behind their styling! I think the interest of your woodgrain is fabulous – a point of difference 🙂

    May 17, 2015 at 1:37 am
  • You have such a creative eye….thanks for the awesome tips!

    May 17, 2015 at 1:40 am
  • I like the photo after you added the coral-colored buttons best. I’ve used props with some of my photos and always like the outcome, however I’m more likely to just photograph the object without props.

    May 17, 2015 at 3:46 am
  • I’ve gotten lazy with my styling lately. I have an old crocheted table cloth that I throw behind my cards & do no more….what I like about your styling is you’ve photographed from above…..I’m gonna try that! Gives a nice ‘even’ look, I reckon!

    May 17, 2015 at 11:14 am
  • Janet

    I truly struggle with taking good photos using props. Thank you for this. I love the woodgrain paper as the background. Made the photo pop.

    May 17, 2015 at 11:19 am
  • Annie

    An interesting and inspiring post Jennifer, I do struggle to take good photos of my projects and rarely think to use props unless they’re actually propping something up! Definitely food for thought, thanks for the tips. I vote for the woodgrain btw :o)

    May 17, 2015 at 1:43 pm
  • Sharon

    Interesting idea… do like a frame or two!

    May 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm
  • Dawn Cheshire

    I usually would only take a photo of my completed layouts but agree for other things like mini books/altered art it’s great to use props to help seeing the sizing of the item in focus

    May 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm
  • jengd

    I haven’t tried props- I’m usually just happy to get a photo of my projects with good lighting and no visible cat hair (or cat) in the photo. LOL!

    May 17, 2015 at 1:53 pm
  • Emily

    This was an interesting post. I love all the ideas. I need to start using props.

    May 17, 2015 at 9:59 pm
  • I must admit I find it very difficult to style photos… blog photos are pretty rubbish really……so this is really helpful. Better light would help as well!!

    May 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm
  • Now this is something that I really struggle with. I have mastered my camera and taking a good photo, but my staging is rubbish (actually non existent).
    i don’t ever seem to have the time to play around with this side of creating, so any tips you have will be very gratefully received x

    May 18, 2015 at 11:09 pm
  • karenladd

    I love the whitewashed wood grained background the best. It really sets off the artsy projects, especially the cute embroidery hoop!

    May 19, 2015 at 3:06 am
  • Wow….fabulous post, Jennifer. Styling with props is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my league right now. I only just this week for the first time began editing my photos, using PicMonkey inspired by your post! Adding props is going to have to wait awhile. lol…. Love what you have done with your shots, though. It really amps up your photos to another level. Maybe I will get there sometime….
    I really love the photo of your hoop brooch……so many interesting things in it! Love the aqua giraffe and the rock with the ribbon!!
    <3 J

    jwoolbright at gmail dot com

    May 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm
  • KT Fit Kitty

    I have to agree with you! Using props really jazzes up what you are photographing! Having said this, I am guilty of not using props – yet! I really like what I see here! My favourite is the fourth styled photo, with the wood-grain background. Thank you for an inspirational post!

    May 24, 2015 at 3:53 am

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