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I’m a big fan of using props for my self portraits. When you think of the ‘selfie’ you may think of a smiling photo of yourself taken on the front camera. But when you bring my feed down to its bare bones, it’s essentially just very creative, elaborate selfies with a few props thrown in!
You will notice that there aren’t many selfies of mine that don’t have some kind of prop in. This not only makes the selfie a lot more interesting, but it also gives you something to do in your photos and will often influence the poses that you do. There are so many props you can use for photos that the list is, quite literally, endless! But there are props that I keep on coming back to time and time again, or specific props that I love working with, so I have curated a list to give you some inspiration for your next photo!
Here are some props for self portraits to make your next photo pop.
Flowers are my favourite props for self portraits. They can either be real or artificial, but flowers are always a really great prop to work with. You can create really beautiful close up portraits with them, or use them as a background prop in further away photos.
And the best part is that there are so many different kinds of flowers, and each one can create a different mood for the photo. Whether you want something delicate and pretty or sharp and striking, your local flower shop is bound to have what you’re looking for!
And you don’t have to use the actual flower either! I love taking photos with just the petals as it adds a really romantic element to the photo. Using petals works for selfies in bed and selfies in the bath. But that’s not all – you can also stick them to your face with Vaseline paired with a cool makeup look.
When it come to using flowers in creative selfies the options are literally endless
I know a thing or two about using books as props in your selfies – trust me! I have used books as props in self portraits for as long as I can remember.
Specifically love the look of really old beat up books for selfies as they add a vintage element to your photography. You can often pick them up really cheaply online on sites such as eBay, and some have even been passed down through the family in my case.
Books are great because they are SO versatile and create a really calming atmosphere in photos. There’s many ways you can use books as props in selfies. A few examples are holding open books in your hands, using open books as a backdrop, using stacks of books, using pages from old books that you don’t use/want anymore to create art…. I could go on and on!
They are great for both creative photography and lifestyle photography. Using them as a prop gives you something to do and work with, and are great if you don’t necessarily like looking at the camera as you can just look down at the book!
My vintage teacup collection is a little out of control (and by a little I mean a lot) but in my opinion it’s definitely worth it as they look so much nicer than modern ones. I’ve used teacups for overhead shots in the past, but have also used them for close up portraits to give the selfie a vintage feel to it. And you don’t just have to have tea in them either! I’ve put jewellery in them in the past, but you could also use flowers or their petals to put in them to create a more interesting photo.
And the best part is that you can find vintage teacups absolutely everywhere! You can get them on eBay for really cheap, but you’ll also find them in secondhand and vintage shops.
Okay, here me out with this one! Stickers can make great props for self portraits.
To make some selfies more interesting, I’ve used stickers that I found on Amazon a number of times to create a cool effect and it works really well! For a valentines inspired photo, I used foam love hearts and I’ve also used holographic stickers in the past. But please be careful and use these at your own risk – there is a chance you could get a reaction!
Sunglasses can actually be a real vibe for selfies, especially when you’re wearing them where they shouldn’t be!
They give off a real boss ass bitch feel to them, and give the photo a really edgy look to them! Do not underestimate sunglasses, as some of the photos I’ve taken would be nowhere near as cool without them in!
I would recommend going for sunglasses that have an usual shape or are really big to add a dramatic look. You can find loads from independent designers and they are a great thing to shop secondhand for.
Both vintage and modern phones work, depending on the vibe you are going for. I use my vintage phone A LOT, and it’s a great prop to use if you don’t know what prop to use, as they can work in a lot of different situations. They are great for storytelling as it immediately adds a story to your photo; who are you calling? What are you feeling? There’s a lot to play off when you use a phone in your photos to create many different moods and feels.
I did an entire month dedicated to food and it was a lot of fun! And the possibilities are endless! I’ve done a lot of selfies where I’ve had food around my face, with my favourite being my lucky charms in the bath photo and my french fries photo! You can also include cakes and cupcakes as they always photograph really well. I did also do a selfie where I stuck loads of sprinkles to my face, but really do be careful with this one as the edible glue left my skin in a bad rash! I would recommend using Vaseline if you’re going to stick anything to your face.
Again, here me out with this one.
Of course, you can use them in the normal way and just blow up balloons to create a fun selfie. However, balloons make a great substitute for bubblegum!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t blow a big bubble with bubblegum to save my life, let alone do it on command and hold it long enough to get a photo out of it! A good way to get around it is to half blow up a balloon and put it in your mouth – it looks just like bubblegum but you can control it a lot more!
Hats featured a lot in Film Noir, specially to cover half of my face. This makes the photo look super mysterious and can also give you something to work with. With hats you can create angles by touching them, pull them over your eyes, throw them up in the air – anything!
One of my favourite props to work with is milkshakes. Not only because you get to drink it afterwards, but they’re actually a lot of fun too! Alcohol is also a good prop to work with because the bottles and the glasses are always interesting shapes
Do not underestimate the power of jewellery! Sometimes they can be the finishing touch to a photo. I’m only just starting to experiment more with jewellery with my photos, but the power that a statement earring or a tiara has is pretty incredible! In my opinion, the jewellery has to be pretty impactful in order for it to count as a prop in a photo. For example, I always wear a ring that will unintentionally appear in photos and I always wear earrings, but they almost become invisible as I make sure they aren’t statement pieces.
If you want the jewellery to count as a prop, it has to make you go ‘wow’. It needs to be noticeable and show stopping!
I have a whole collection of vintage cameras in my house because I think they make really nice home decor, but they also sometimes appear in photos on the grid. For one, they give you something to hold but they always work well as a prop because they are nostalgic.
People love things that look old, they are just more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and cameras are no exception. You can find vintage cameras really cheaply on eBay as they don’t need to work unless you want them to.
Feathers are great because they add texture to your selfie, but also immediately add a dainty vibe to your photo.
They are great props for self portraits.
I’ve worked with feathers a lot and I love it! They’re also great for adding movement and interest.