This blog post talks about organising your prop stash into collections to make designing your setups quicker and easier!

The first step to being a successful photographer is knowing your unique style. Hopefully you’ve read my blog entry all about style so you can now describe your style in a sentence and are clear on your unique brand and cohesive portfolio of images.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it I suggest you go and check it out first HERE.

The next step is to organise your prop stash! This can be great fun, getting out all those amazing creations, feeling all the soft fabrics, cute animals and huge variety of colours… but they need to all tie in with your style!  Unfortunately you can’t buy anything which takes your fancy or you fall in love with… trust me your bank balance will thank you for it!

So go ahead pull them all out.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of time and space to spread out as you’re going to make quite a mess and you want to be able to stand back and view a collection of props from a distance to give you a feel for whats working and whats not.

  1. Start grouping your props by colour, make a big (or little) pile of all shades of one colour.  Pink, purple, brown, white… you get the idea.  Don’t think about props matching at this point, just think simply what colour is it!?
Here’s my set of all grey props…

Organise your props: Grey Set

2.  As you delve deep into your stash you might come across props you haven’t seen in ages. These are either going to make you jump for joy because you’ve been looking for that in ages or I’d forgotten this one its beautiful…. or you might think oh I haven’t used this in ages it was one of my first buys and I don’t like it anymore!  Start to make a pile of unloved props.

3.  Look at each colour you have… are there any which really don’t match your style anymore.  You’ve gone very neutrals and pastels, so that bright pink collection really doesn’t fit in!

4.  Now take each colour pile in turn and closely look at each tone and shade of that colour you have, you’ll be surprised at how some tones really don’t look good together, they make you wrinkle your nose up and think hmmm I’m not sure about these! Start to divide your colour piles into separate groups of shades which go together, if they match you would definitely use them with each other in a setup.  Do this with each colour (told you, you needed plenty of space!)

Organise your props: Grey Set All these greys match lovely together and were most of my grey stash
Organise your props: Grey Set These 3 props were more a purple/grey so didn’t match the rest!

5.  Make sure you have a minimum of 5 props in each shade pile.  Any props with only 2-3 matching shades need to have a decision made… do you love them enough to add to this collection by making or buying more props.  Or is it time for these to go in the unloved pile!!  If you chose to add to these piles, take a photo of them so you know what you should be buying in the future.

Organise your props: Grey Set This beautiful lace prop is a blue/grey and really doesn’t fit in with any of my other greys!

6.  Next job…. stand back and take a good look at all your props organised into shades.  Is there any that stand out as not being part of your style.  Maybe you bought some props years ago when you first started and they really aren’t “you” anymore. You might have way too many different shades of brown, therefore a pile or 2 could go into the unloved pile!

7.  Ok so you’re happy with the colours and shades you have.  Now analyse each pile with your setup head on.  Does each pile include all essential elements… basket stuffers or background fabrics, wraps or rompers, bonnets or tiebacks.  If there’s any gaps make a note or photograph the collection so you can start a shopping or ‘want to make’ list!

If you want ideas for tutorials to make your own photo props DIY style, crafting brand new props or up-cycling unloved props then join “Craft your Creativity” You can join our facebook group or sign up to our teachable website to access all our video tutorials.

Send me photos of your freshly organised props, I’d love to see them!

Nat x


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