Have a bigger-than-Ben-Hur idea but on a tight budget? Need to add some twinkle to your timeline? A great content piece doesn’t need to be expensive, and by thinking outside the box (or within one, should we say) you can create high-quality imagery for less than a KFC dinner box. Check out my Top 8 budget photo props (you can thank me later).
It can be daunting to organise a photo shoot for Instagram, Facebook or any other social media haunt. Working to a deadline, it’s easy to get carried away with expensive production costs, only to see a disappointing ROI in terms of post engagement.
My advice? Keep it simple.
Look for inspiration everywhere and you'll be surprised with what you'll find. It's sometimes the little details that will speak to your audience and turn a scroll past into a double-tap.
If you want to draw attention to something, create a border by framing it. Different shapes focus the attention on what really matters.
Enter: the humble tray. Coupled with complementary props for context, a clean white linen background, a flat surface like a chopping board, bed tray or platter is a simple way to serve up your product (literally).
2. Plants and flowers
Not just a millennial fad, plants bring life to photography in a way inanimate objects simply cannot - Think pampas grass, straws of wheat, rose petals or palm fronds.They add colour, texture, and seasonality.
Don't forget that less is more. The effortless yet deliberate scattering of straw can add a cozy relaxed vibe, while layers of flowers can add femininity and flair. Use natural shapes to help you tell your story, and choose plants and flowers that make sense for your concept
3. Marble top surface
Marble has a bold, clean aesthetic and can add a luxe feel to your product however, it's expensive, heavy and difficult to work with.
Create the same stone surface effect with a large print out, Kmart cheese platter or even wallpaper for a premium feel on a budget.
4. Colourful fabric
Colour can set the mood for your post. So stand out! Using fabric is an easy way to add a splash of colour to the background, and can be draped over boxes or stands for extra dimension. A simple scarf, a blanket or even a piece of clothing can brighten up your pic.
Different colours, lighting and textures of fabrics can be fun to play with. Even hanging or folding the cloth in a different way can change the mood of your photos.
Confetti can bring together all these elements of shape and colour we have seen already. It can add a fun celebration element or a little sparkle to your flat lay piece. But remember; overdo it, and you’ll have a kids party situation on your hands.
Use other props to reign in the chaos or let the confetti fall free and work with what you have. And remember, go for #environmentallyfriendly where possible (give the people what they want!). Think leaves, biodegradable paper or environmentally friendly glitter.
6. Ring lights
While we love to play with warm natural light and shadows, it isn’t always possible to achieve it. Enter; the Ring Light. Even if you are not a photography expert, you should know that properly lighting your subject is key.
Ring lights are great at producing a warm glow that softly light up your shoot. Not only great for makeup and selfies, a ring light can assist in highlighting your product or subject from all angles The best news? You don't need a high-tech professional light to start snapping. A decent budget light (always check the reviews) from Amazon or anywhere will work just fine.
Books have already snuck into a few examples (glad you’re still with us), but it’s one of the easiest ways to make a photo look fancy.. They have a versatile shape to work with, so play with stacking or leaning them - whatever works for you.
If you can find a book that nicely compliments your tone or message then all the better. Just don't get distracted from the goal of the photo.
It’s no secret the world loves coffee. It's social, stimulating and wonderfully addictive. It makes it a powerful prop to help your audience connect with your content.
It doesn't just have to be restaurants and cafes that post pictures of coffee. Next to a sleek MacBook your post screams ‘digital nomad.’ A coffee between two people suddenly makes the image look like two friends. Even a shot of espresso can supercharge your upload.
Use these tricks in your next shoot to make your post really connect with your audience. And now, it’s time to seek your own inspiration.
If anything, lo-fi solutions will often beat any of the high production value ideas that might have been holding you back.
Looking for more tips to improve your social media presence? Drop us a line.
About the Author:
Meg Wardrop is a Social Media Manager at Hello Social, with a background in fashion and music. Her experience spans across a range of verticals from digital strategy to influencer marketing. When she's not busy managing top-tier clients like QIC and Brother Australia, you'll find Meg eating all the scotchfingers in the Hello Social office or sharing the funniest TikTok viral vids with the good people of the Internet ('you're welcome', she says).
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