Product Photography Tips: Using Props

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

 If you’ve visited my Etsy shop you’ll noticed that I tend to always use props in my images. Most of the time, they’re handmade but there are also times where I’ll head over to the dollar store so that I can have a few other options for a particular theme I’m working on. Lately, I’ve been having some trouble finding my ‘Christmas photo backdrop niche’—that’s what I like to call it, hehe. So I’ve been coming up with different ways to showcase the new 2013 Christmas items I have in my shop. Some of you may have already noticed some Christmas themed items in my shop already using the pine cone garland backdrop. I really love that backdrop but I was excited to try a few new things; and, I thought why not share my ideas and offer some seller tips on my blog? If you’re not a seller but you’re a card-maker, you could still use these tips when taking pictures of your creations (it’s so fun). I think adding props to photos makes them stand out—or at least I think they do, hehe.

You’ll notice in the first image above I purchased a Kraft bag covered with white snowflakes, a pack of green, white, and red pom-poms, candy canes, and a small box. Those items where all purchased from my local dollar store but the pine cone garland was purchased at Micheals (it wasn’t cheap but I had to have it, haha). 

The first thought I had when I found the pom-poms at the dollar store was, “this would make for a cute handmade garland”, so once I got home I just grabbed a needle and thread and began stringing them up in no particular pattern. 1 ½ packs of pom-poms made me a 5 foot long garland! 

Here’s how I used the pom-poms 2 ways:

Picture 1: I simply scattered the remaining loose pom-poms around my product. 
 Picture 2: I taped the garland to the background of my make shift photo studio.
Next is this beautiful pine cone garland that I bought at Michaels in Downtown, Los Angeles. I’m not sure if they have these at all Michaels’ but it was $14.99. I think it’s so cute.
Here’s how I used it: To show off the cards from my Winter Wonderland collection I wanted a dark background in order to make the cards appear bright, so I used some burlap fabric and hung the pine cone garland in front of it. That garland was so heavy, though, I can’t count the amount of times it fell, haha.
Do you remember that box in the first picture? Well purchased that box with the intention of never actually showing it in the images. I planned on covering it with some Kraft wrapping paper for more of a eco-friendly vibe. I also purchased this box so I could display my handmade tags on them.
What I did was: Cut a piece of the Kraft wrapping paper; stamp it with a Merry Christmas sentiment. Wrap it around the box, and add some Christmas themed twine. I think it came out really cute. I just need to find a better spot to shoot these tags in. I wasn't happy with the yellow color I was getting from the wooden table I had it on. 
Lastly, I wanted to use this pretty snowflake Kraft bag so show off my Yeti tag. I thought the light blue and green colors would match well with this bag. I think using props for your items not only makes them look great but it also shows the potential buyer different ways they can use your item, it also shows that you take pride in your products.
Buying props for your small business photo-shoots never has to break the bank—I certainly don’t let it, hehe. I always set a budget for myself and I try to stick buy it. I’m always at the dollar store walking through ever aisle thinking, “how can I use this as a prop”, or “what can I turn this into?”. Get crafty with it, it’s so much fun and it having unique pictures definitely separates your pictures from all the rest.  


  1. You're so clever to use things in new ways! I love the pom pom garland because it's cute and festive! I love all of this! I try to use props when I take blog pictures, or when I want to make my Instagram pictures look nicer. I usually use pens, notepads, candles, make up, or an empty Starbucks cup!

  2. Thanks for the posts! I might be a photographer but when it comes to actual photographing still life I am out of my element. :) I have been branching out a bit, but I certainly never thought about it this way.

  3. Your photography is always awesome. What type of camera do you have?
    Thanks for all the tips on using props!

  4. Your photos look great!! props can definitely help with photos.

  5. Thanks for sharing this post with all of us. I have gotten so many ideas to start getting ready for holiday projects! I think of photography as an art and you have done a great job with yours. I have been focusing primarily on product photography for some time now.

    If you want to see more about product photography click here:


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