Unexpected Photo Props to Use for Your Next Shoot

September 9, 2020

Sometimes, when you’re planning a photoshoot (or already shooting it), you have to get a little… creative. After all, who wants to buy a unique prop for every single shoot?! Not me.

That’s why you have to be willing to think out of the box so you can get the most mileage out of your current props, and maybe even bring in a few household items into the mix! When you do, you might be surprised at the fun and visually stunning props you find for your photoshoots (like these ones!).

unique photo props to use for a photoshoot

I love using unexpected photo props, but I know that you might be in a bit of a “prop pickle” right now, so here are a few of my favorite prop tips.

Blocks and Shapes

Acrylic or wood blocks and shapes are some of my favorite props to use, which is why they’ve got a top spot in my list of best props for product photography!

Clear acrylic cubes can be used to add depth, play with height, or spice up all sorts of item arrangements in your photos. So can acrylic discs or sheets. 

If you’re going for a natural and woodsy aesthetic, grab a set of wooden blocks or shapes. Or spray paint them for a more modern look! Sure, they’re made for kids to stack and play with, but they also make perfect photo props. 

Vases and Planters

How pretty are these pleated porcelain vases

pleated porcelain vases

They look great holding a few flowers or greenery… but turn one upside down, and voilà: you have a pedestal for displaying a product. Magical, right? 

The best part is, there are sooo many different vases and planters to fit all sorts of styles and budgets! Try a short cement planter (like the one you see in my Reel) for an earthy look, glass vases, ceramic vases… your options are limitless!

Budget-friendly tip: Visit your local thrift store. There are vases and planters out the wazoo you can find for a buck or two!

Decorative Objects

Look at this cute wavy cement dish and you might think, “What in the world is that for?” 

wavy cement dish

While the product description says you can use it to store jewelry or as a soap dish, I’ve got news for ya: you can also use it as a photo prop.

A decorative object like this can add a pop of color, shape, and style to your shoot!


I adore these acrylic step bookends as props. 

acrylic book end blocks

Don’t they look elegant and cool? If you have a lot of round, soft, or curved items in your shoot, these bookends add some balance with strong angles and edges.

Just like the clear acrylic cubes I talked about, these bookends can literally uplift the products in your shoot, too. They’re great for displaying multiple products at once, or multiple products side-by-side.


Got an old trivet that you don’t use anymore? Or maybe you’re looking for an unexpected kitchen item that pulls double-duty as a photo prop?

This polished aluminum trivet would add texture and visual interest in a photoshoot. If you don’t plan on using it in your kitchen, you could even customize it by painting it! 

polished aluminum trivet

A lazy Susan is typically used to serve food or store spices and cooking ingredients, but guess what? You can also use it as a photo prop, especially when creating stop-motion animation. 

I have a pink lazy Susan from Anthropologie that I love (which is now sold out), but after I bought it, I found a cheaper alternative that I could have just painted here!

Looking for more photography tips?

Now that you know how to make some everyday items turn into photoshoot magic, it’s time to start shooting! If you need some more tips, you’ll love my course, Slay the Flatlay, an all-in-one resource for photography, styling, props and backgrounds, gear, and more. With over 4 hours of instruction and over 20 modules, you’ll level up your skills as an aspiring stylist, photographer, blogger, or small business owner!slay the flatlay course lish creativeSave $50 on the course with the code SLAY and head over here to learn more!


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