Sourcing and styling with props

The illusive perfect prop…

With so many options available, do you find yourself questioning which props are best for your shoot? You are NOT alone. The choice can be, in all honesty, rather overwhelming!
Then, once you have found your ‘perfect’ prop, do you then find yourself questioning how to actually use it to style your shoot?



Why you need props 

Props are essential for creating a mood, for setting a vibe and to creating an emotional connection between your audience and product, ie is your vibe light and bright / vintage / rustic. Is your audience early twenties or mid 40’s with a family?
The viewer needs to understand the size of your product, espcicailly if the platform you are posting the image on is trying to convert to a sale. Props can be wonderful at indicating scale, especially if the props are a pretty universal size, ie hands, books, magazines. Props that are ambiguous in scale such as plant leaves, stones, paint pots and jars etc can sometimes be misleading and therefore lead to a disappointed customer. Try to show scale using a prop that is relevant to your product. Remember though, large props can dwarf your product, so going for smaller props for smaller products is a good idea.
Seasonal and occasions props are great at instantly connecting to a sense of purpose for a purchase, think ever greens for Christmas, spring greens, bunnies and eggs for Easter, love and self care for Mothers Day etc .
Ingredients used as props tell your viewer what is in the product, for natural products this can be a great way of grabbing the attention of a potential customers who is driven by high quality / low tox ingredients



Sourcing props

Props are quite literally EVERYWHERE. You do not need to spend a fortune on buying props. Do you have an interesting shaped vase, old book, old textured chopping board in your home. Start looking for and sourcing props way before your shoot, having a cupboard full of brand appropriate props is an essential asset to your business.

Your surrounding are also wonderful props, a beautiful front door and a model in a classic white dress is all that was needed to make this beautiful sage green cup pop off the page.  A Hamptons style backdrop with themed flowers and panelled walls (made from old decking), with textured oyster shells (left over from Christmas Day) used as mini displays, is the perfect setting for these nautical themed and Hamptons styled cupboard handles.

One thing I have learnt is never underestimate the power of having people in your images, yes it is harder to coordinate and if you don’t have friends available to help you will need to pay for a model BUT it is really really worth it… they are the best props you can invest in!

A few easy tips

Here are a few simple tips that will save you a lot of time and effort :

  1. Make sure you know who your target audience is and what would appeal to them.. Are you targeting a particular age, do they aspire to a particular lifestyle (urban / Hamptons / countryside etc), do they put a high value on how sustainable your product is or where the ingredients / materials are sourced from.
  2. Put together a moodboard on Pinterest of the kind of style you would like to achieve. Is is light and bright, dark and moody, classic and vintage. Remember that consistency is key when it comes to your ‘brand voice’ .Click here for some sample Pinterest mood boards
  3. Start to create a ‘story’ for your shoot, what props would your story need. Think about fabrics, textures, colours, practical props and atmospheric props, background and surfaces. For Example : If you are selling………..
  4. It is key to remember the scale of your props against the size of your product, no matter how beautiful your props are, the product you are selling should ALWAYS be the key focus and the size of your product should be clear.
  5. Your props should be of an excellent quality, they need to be well made and considered. The props will reflect the quality of your own product.
  6. Remember that less is usually more, be selective with what you add into your shoot. Question, are the props enhancing your story, are they stealing the show. Usually you only need 1 or 2 props to make a high impact
  7. Is your product seasonal, if so … do you need to collect props and ingredients at a certain time of year ready for your shoot.

Start to build your props cupboard today, keep your eyes peeled for items that catch your eye and suit your brand voice.




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