I’ve been blogging for 6 years, and (thankfully), I’ve grown in my photography. While I couldn’t afford to get every single thing that I wanted/needed for my pictures, I did learn a thing or two about staging, and I wanted to share some of my favorite inexpensive props to pick up if you’re on a budget but still want to take pretty pictures for your blog.
Camera + phone equipment
If you’re still trying to figure out which camera to get, I highly suggest the Canon T3i. While it’s an older model, it’s the most popular “starter” camera for bloggers because the view finder flips out, and it gets good bokeh backdrop (blurry background). It films in HD as well, so if you’re interested in vlogging, you can do both. The kit lens that it comes with is fine for your basic shots, but it combined with the nifty 50 lens will have you on point without going broke. I got a used one on Amazon for $250 + it was perfect, so don’t be afraid to do a little research. I upgraded to a 5D Mark ii because I needed a full-frame camera and larger files, but I swear, if I didn’t need to, I would just invest in lens for more flexibility.
Don’t let not having a DSLR hold you back. You can still take great photos with your phone. I have an iPhone, but even if you’re shooting with an Android, as long as you’re shooting in natural light you can get great shots. Edit the images in Snapseed (reducing the warmness in photos will make them a 1,000 times better!) to make them look even crisper, and you can use your phone until you’re able to get the camera that you want.
Backdrops + a faux reflector
Foam board, poster board, and marble contact paper are your best friend. We all aren’t lucky enough to own a sleek marble table or white desk, but playing with angles will make sure no one’s the wiser. Go to the $1 store or Target for the foam boards + poster boards, and then run by Lowe’s or Home Depot for contact paper (Amazon has a ton of options too). A roll is only $6-$10, and you can easily roll it back up, or cut a chunk out and just tape it to the foam board so that you can move it around. If you want something to layer with, pick up a piece of marble tile as well (as cheap as $5). When you need something cozy, a small faux fur rug or soft chenille throw can come through in a clutch. If you can’t find a rug, just get some fabric cut at Hancock’s or Joanne’s.
Bonus: need a reflector but don’t have time to go buy one? Just tape some aluminium foil to one side of your foam board. Have a piece of flat wood lying around? Spray paint it white for added texture. BOOM.
Extra, extra, extra.
Faux banana leaves, grass, pebbles and candles are simple ways to add more texture and dimension to you photos. Books, magazines, notebooks, and little gold trinkets help add character as well. While you want to keep your photos unique to your style, I’d be lying if I said to skip picking up these pieces for your prop kit. There’s a reason why bloggers constantly use them-they photograph well and keep your pics looking polished.
This is by no means a definitive list, just something I thought would help those that are stuck on what to start off with. Once you have a good foundation of props, you can then start incorporating other products like fresh flowers, glasses, and jewelry into your shots. As long as you’re shooting with bright, natural light (easiest to work with if you don’t want to buy special light bulbs and other stuff), you can easily elevate the visuals for your blog. Just be ready to get creative and play around!