10 Props Every Photographer Needs

To keep your mind creatively thinking I believe you need a small stash of go-to photography props in your house or camera kit.

Call upon these props when your motivation and inspiration are low. Or, if you’re a beginner photography, and you just want to try something different from your regular shots.

More experienced photographers could use props to enhance and develop their style using personal and unique items.

You can add more to this list depending on what fits your fashion. Scroll down for 10 photography props I believe every photographer should. I’ve also included further ideas that you can create with them too.

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1. CD

They may be a little outdated now, but chances are you’ll have a spare CD around the house somewhere. The underside of the disc has iridescent properties which makes this a perfect photography prop to reflect or distort light as foreground bokeh. 

Use the light from a phone to create a strong refraction off the surface of the CD. This photography prop can be used to shoot the reflecting light or the CD surface itself. It can even work as a standalone subject if you want to spray on a little water (I’ll come to that shortly).

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

2. Small Light

Photography relies on light. If you’ve not got a small light source to hand you need to get one in your prop bag.

Packing a torch or something like a Lume Cube 2.0 is a handy portable photography prop to call on to add shape, dimension, and shadows to any given subject.

Try moving your small light source around your subject to see what effects you can create. Think about different and creative angles – low down, high above or backlighting. Give it all a try and the best thing is, there are no wires involved! 

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

3. Prism / Glass Ball

Fractal photography can add a great sense of abstract distortion to any photograph. This precious glass photography prop can be smooth like a glass ball or multi-sided like a prism. Either way make sure you opt for glass and not a high-quality plastic, as the better the optics the better the light quality it’ll refract. 

Use your small light source and shine it at a 45-degree angle to the prism to show all the rainbow colours falling on your subject for a creative finish that involves no editing!

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

4. Fairy Lights

Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas trees. The battery powered portable ones, are superb photography props too! As a photographer you can use them as a quick addition to the back or foreground of a shot.

These little photography props are great if you want to capture bokeh. Shoot with a wide aperture (small f-number i.e. F/2.8) to create some beautiful orbs of bokeh surrounding your subject.

5. A2 Coloured Card

You may need a little more space in your photography prop box for some A2 sized card. But having a few shades of the coloured card is an instant photography studio you may never think of.

Stack up the coloured card against a few books to create a smooth infinity curve and start shooting. This is a great way to make your own home studio for product photography. Combine your small light and you’ve already got yourself a mini photo studio on a shoestring.

For shooting bigger objects pick up A1 or A0 sizes that are over 300GSM, so it doesn’t bend too easily.

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

6. Compact Mirror

Compact mirrors have more purposes than checking makeup, well for photographers it does.

A pocket-sized mirror as a photography prop adds the reverse perspective to a photo. This makes the composition look conflicting but still interesting. It’s a quirky way of bringing yourself into the shot alongside your intended background. 

It’s a photo prop that can fit easily into any camera bag or jacket pocket to make even everyday shots a little more dynamic.

7. Pack of Lighting Gels

You can get hold of a sample pack of small gel strips from manufacturers which carry all their available filter colours. This is a low budget photography prop that you can instantly stick over your camera’s flash.

Alternatively, try part-covering your lens to cast different tones over skies and other subjects. Some lighting gels packs have over 20 colours included giving you a playground of creative colours!

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

8. Spray Bottle

I mentioned adding a little bit of water to a CD earlier in our photography prop list. Having a spray bottle as a prop also has other uses too.

A spray bottle filled with 90% water and 10% baby oil will give any subject a natural wet look that doesn’t instantly drain away. It’s great to use on flowers, metals, glass and mirrors to create little droplets of water. Change the water-to-oil ratio for different consistencies. 

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

9. Small Figures

The humour of a miniature world can be carried with you wherever your camera travels. Whether it’s little model railway figurines or even just some Lego characters then you can throw them into the foreground of a giant landscape to add a sense of scale or a little bit of fun!

If you want to read more about miniature photography here.

10. Your Favourite Book

This last photography prop is flexible based on your interests. But the point of using your favourite book as a prop is the same – pick something that represents you.

Most of us have a treasured possession and if it isn’t too big then why not incorporate it into your photography. It could be a subtle addition that your audience has to find or a series of images of this item in different locations. 

Either way, it’s all about putting your personality into your photography and making it totally unique. It could be a favourite book, hat, jacket, badge, drink or scarf. See how clever and crafty you can be

Photography Prop Ideas by iPhotography.com

What is Your Favourite Photography Prop?

Which one of these 10 photography props inspires you most? If you try out any of these ideas, we want to see your shots. If you’re an iPhotography member post your images to the feedback gallery.  

You can also tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In time you’ll build up your own prop box and call on these favourite things to make your photography creative at a moment’s notice – it looks great in front of clients too! 

Let us know if you’ve got any more suggestions so we can add them to this photography prop list.

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