Wouldn’t it be nice to have a box full of styling props and backdrops for Instagram just waiting to be styled into a perfect flatlay?
We’ve all come across those prodigal Instagrammers or online shop owners: the ones who seem to have an entire bakery & floral shop at their whim any time they want to snap a photo.
Somehow they’re constantly surrounded by masses of macaroons, bouquets of fresh flowers, and a steaming latte adorned with foam art, to top it all off. (Anyone else hungry??)
That’s all well and good, but unfortunately, the average person (myself included) doesn’t have access to all that goodness. And really, if you think about it, using props that you can’t re-use is like throwing your money straight into the trash.
Unless you really do have an endless supply of baked goods and floral wreaths, then I guess this doesn’t apply to you, and you can be on your merry way. 🙂
But if you’re like the rest of us, read on for some budget-worthy styling props to make your product photography & Instagram feed shine!
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Styling Props for Instagram & Product Photography
Chalkboard signs are awesome, because they yield endless opportunities for re-use.
You can use different color chalks or chalk markers. You can draw literally anything, or write quotes with cool lettering. Plus, they go well with almost any type of photo.
Or, for a different look, go with a whitewashed framed chalkboard sign (I have this one and I love it!):
You can even get this set of 4 miniature chalkboard signs with stands:
Uniquely Shaped Candles
If you sell candles, you probably don’t want to buy even more candles for your product photography (that might get confusing for people!).
But if you don’t, then you’re in luck. These candles make great styling props, adding a pop of color or a fun aesthetic to an image.
This cute unicorn-shaped candle would be a lovely addition to a simple photo: on a table, in a nursery, or of course, on a cake. Plus, who doesn’t love unicorns?!
If you’re going for a simpler, more geometric look, you can’t go wrong with this gorgeous rose gold colored candle.
Succulents are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They’re adorable! And great for tabletop or flat-lay photos. You can even find succulents in candle form. Who knew??
Speaking of things that are all the rage: pineapples are extremely popular and make for gorgeous photo decor.
If you include entire rooms or furniture in your photos, this pillow with gold pineapples and black stripes would be a great addition to dress it up.
String & fairy lights are perfect for adding decor to a bare wall, so why not kick it up a notch with a string of little golden pineapple lights?
You can’t go wrong with this white and gold pineapple ceramic figurine.
If you sell jewelry or other small items (such as enamel pins), this gold ceramic pineapple tray is perfect to hold and display your product. (It also comes in white & gold if you’re looking for something less bright).
Jewelry + Enamel Pin Dishes
Like I mentioned above, jewelry dishes make great styling props to display your jewelry products, enamel pins, or anything small.
This pretty marble jewelry dish with gold edges is both simple and beautiful.
This lips & lashes ceramic dish would add a feminine flair to your photos.
Add some shine with this copper heart design jewelry tray.
Your photos will really stand out with this unique green cactus ring holder & tray. (Yes, we’re back to the succulents again. I just can’t get enough!)
This classic rose gold & clear vanity tray organizer allows you to put many products on display at once. It’s got that perfect mix of simple and elegant.
This cool copper wire geometric frame would complement an art print or painting perfectly. It would also be a nice addition in the corner of your photo if you need a simple prop to make your photo more interesting to the eye.
You can use this vintage white oval wall mirror to spruce up a bare wall, or lay it down to add some texture to your flat-lay.
Add this chevron herringbone vintage wooden frame for an extra pop of color. It also comes in other colors to fit your brand image or product colors.
Proudly display your art prints with this distressed white pedestal frame. Or, you can put a piece of cloth inside the frame and hang jewelry or enamel pins from it.
Or, go for a more industrial chic look with this distressed metal frame with rivet detail.
This rustic whitewashed wood serving tray is perfect for setting up a product display. Plus, it’ll add texture to the background of your photos.
Use this circular stainless-steel tray (with a mirror finish) to play with light. It might even create cool reflections of your products!
If you’re looking for a more classic look, this wooden tray would look great in any photo.
Makeup Bags & Small Pouches
These miniature purses would look awesome in a flat-lay photo, with your products spilling out of them. And don’t worry: all of these can be turned label-side down so they don’t detract from your brand.
Miscellaneous Styling Props for Instagram
I love the rustic look of these concrete ring holders. You can get creative with them – I’m sure they can hold more than just rings!
Use this slice of Acacia tree bark as a pedestal to put the focus on your product.
This faux sheepskin rug would look gorgeous peeking out from the corner of your photos, or cradling your products in its soft embrace. (Now I’ve convinced myself I need one just to cuddle with!).
This felt letter board is perfect for quotes, announcements, and any other text you’d like to include in your photos.
Wrap this knit diamond pattern blanket around your product or place it in the corner of your photo to add some interesting texture.
(Confession: I also tried looking for a chunky-knit blanket, because those are AWESOME, but I couldn’t find any under $20. Maybe you’ll have better luck!).
These adorable vintage scissors come in many styles and colors, and are perfect for creators to show off their workspace.
Brighten your photos with these whimsical fairy lights.
Sprinkle some mixed gemstones to create a central focal point in the photo.
These adorable artificial baby’s breath flowers can be laid across a flat-lay or placed in a pretty vase as a background piece. They may not smell like real flowers, but they sure last longer!
If you sell anything that can go in a mason jar (not limited to kitchen/office utensils), you can put your products on display in this decorative mason jar utensil holder. (Also comes in other colors, including white).
Here are even MORE styling prop ideas you can often find at a secondhand store:
- Plates, bowls, etc.
- Vintage books
One last thing to keep in mind: these props are great for Instagram stories, too! Use them for your photos or as props in your behind-the-scenes videos.
>>>>>>> Related post: 11 Instagram Story Ideas to Increase Your Engagement Rate
Backgrounds & Backdrops for Instagram and Product Photography
All good photos have nice backgrounds – even if it’s just a plain, white surface. If your background looks grungy or unappealing, the rest of the picture will, too.
Trying to make your photos look good without a decent background is like trying to bake a cake without a pan: it’s a waste of time and it turns into a mess.
The good news is, you don’t need anything crazy to get started. In fact, most of the time I just use textured poster board as my backdrop. But I plan to experiment more with different backgrounds this year.
To save you some time, I’ve compiled some awesome backgrounds you can use to up-level your photos. Bonus: they won’t break the bank!
Chevron Pattern Backdrop Paper (comes in multiple colors)
Or, to save even more money, order a digital printable background set from Creative Market (like this blush, navy, and gold watercolor set) and print your own backgrounds on nice paper. That particular set comes with 23 different backgrounds, so that gives you tons of variations to use!
Luckily, for Instagram, if you’re taking a close-up shot or a flat lay, you really only need it to be large enough to fill the space of that small square.
Plus, you can also re-use those digital downloads on your logo, website, and on digital social media images so your brand is always consistent. I’m all about re-purposing!
And that’s all the styling props and backdrops I have for you!
Hopefully those ideas will give you a flash of inspiration for your Instagram and product photography.
Even if you already have beautiful photos, it never hurts to switch up your props every so often to keep things fresh.