Have you ever looked at a photo and thought to yourself, this picture is EVERYTHING. It happens to me all the time. There are undoubtedly a handful of things that go into making a stunning photo. But the way it’s styled and other intentional details are always among things that get you to do a double take. So what exactly is the secret behind how to style photos that are memorable? What makes those perfectly crafted images — the kind that make you stop mid-scroll on Instagram or want to pin on Pinterest — so inspiring?
How To Style Photos Like A Master Prop Stylist
When it comes to other photography niches – food, maternity, bridal – props are considered another character in the bigger photo story. However, when it comes to shooting brand photography, props are oftentimes considered but generally overlooked. In order to create relevant lifestyle content, there is some strategy involved in choosing what props to use. Start by thinking about two things: 1) your ideal customer or client, and 2) unexpected function.
What are the other interests of your ideal customer? What are some things they like? What kind of things would they respond to? Determine some objects you can use that are in line with these questions as well as your brand and you will speak to your customer on a few different levels through your content.
Before you start buying things up left and right for how to style photos, don’t forget that sourcing props can come from anywhere. So take inventory of what you already own, what you can borrow, or check first if it’s something you can rent. This brings me to the second thing I normally think about when it comes to props: the concept of “unexpected function.”
Just because a mug is normally used for drinking doesn’t mean it can’t be used to hold pencils for your shoot. Old jars can be succulent pots, wine bottles as flowers vases, scarves as blankets, crystals as bookends – the list goes on. By thinking outside the box and using your props for things that they aren’t normally used for, the lifestyle you are selling will really begin to take shape. Your content will standout from others, your photos will create new inspiration for your customers, and your creativity will be stretching the possibilities for future clients.
Creating visual content both for my brands and my clients means I’ve built up a pretty robust collection of props over the years. When it comes to how to style photos, here are some of my favorites as of late: