Inexpensive Props for Do-it-Yourself Photography

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 Some of you may remember my post about saving money by doing your own photography.  Before my first child was born we decided to invest in a nice digital SLR camera. We knew this would help us save a bundle of money over the years by doing our own photography of the kids, not to mention capturing all of the memories in between! So every year in the spring I get some ideas together, buy some inexpensive props, dress the kids up, and tote them around to get their photos for the year.

We will be doing our photos this upcoming weekend so I’ll post some for you when I finish them, but today I spent the morning at the thrift store finding some “props” for our photos! Normally I don’t use props at all, but this year I decided to do something a little bit different. I prefer a modern style of photo and I love outdoor locations so we are headed to a nature park in the next county over which has an incomplete and abandoned railroad line there. Most of my photos this weekend will be on the tracks.

(Disclaimer: Do NOT let your children play on active railroad tracks!)

So I was thinking about putting my boys each in a pair of jeans & a white t-shirt, but while I was browsing at the thrift store I found a few items for under $15 to help complete the set up for our photo shoot.

vintage suitcases

Old suitcases – PERFECT to find at a thrift store or yard sale or to borrow. I paid a total of $8 for these 2. They are actually both in great condition and we can use them as luggage after the photo shoot.

A vintage-looking pin stripe suit for my youngest son – cost $3.

For my oldest son I decided to stay with the jeans & white t-shirt. I found this cap hat to go with it for $.99……

And these suspenders for $.99 too!

I can hardly wait to take them out this weekend for photos! I have NO photography training, I’ve never taken a class, it’s not hard! You can easily pick a theme, then come up with a few ideas to go with it. I spent about $15 this year on props, but in the past I’ve never spent anything on doing their pictures. We have always used clothes that the kids already own, and then I choose a location that is unique for the background so that no props are needed. Here are a few of our photos from last year. You will see that I did nothing other than have the kids stand in spots with nice backgrounds.

Not as hard as it looks huh? I just put each shot in black and white for an added effect and voila – free pictures of my kids! 🙂

There are SO many ideas online if you can’t get your creative juices flowing. Just google kids photography or look on pinterest! Think about what types of backgrounds you can use that are within driving distance – it doesn’t have to be fancy. A plain wood fence, an old barn, a botanical gardens, a lake, an old building, the possibilities are endless! One year the grass in our backyard was ridiculously high so we did our shots out in the tall grass against our fence in our backyard! You can see one of them below.

I’d LOVE to hear what you have done for pictures if you do your kids own photos! You can be inspired by just about anything and when you print your pictures out you can have the pride of knowing that YOU took the photos! It makes it even more precious.

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  1. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!!

    It’s funny. I was just thinking this weekend how we need to schedule another photo shoot for the kids. Maybe we’ll try and take them out on our own!

  2. Teacher Girl says:

    Hi! I don’t normally comment, but I really enjoy your blog. I just had to take a moment though to comment on the wording of your post. I completely understand taking your own photos of your kids to save money, and I think you have done a great job, BUT, saying that taking great photos is easy is a bit of an insult to those of us who do it for a living. I have been taking photos my entire life, went to school for it, and shoot freelance photography for weddings, events, and portraits when I am not teaching. It sometimes takes me hours to shoot and edit photos and the skill required to really know your craft is not something that comes easily. Am I saying you need to be an expert to take good pictures of your kids? No, absolutely not, and everyone should get out there and do it! But please, I beg of you, don’t demean the profession of photographer by describing it as “easy.” There is a huge difference between what you are doing and what a professional does.
    Hope you understand my point, I only write this in defense of photographers. I am sure you and your husband feel the same way when people demean the profession of teaching and try to make it seem easy and act as if “anyone” could do it.

    1. I apologize for any offense that was taken. I certainly did not mean to portray my photos as professional at all. I do feel like taking photos is easy, however taking professional photos is a lot of work. You’re right, there certainly is a big difference from just snapping shots of your kids as opposed to hiring a professional photographer. Some of my best friends own photography studios and I know they spend hours per client behind their work. There is of course much more skill involved and technical details for those who do photographs professionally. I only mean to show those wishing to stretch their budgets that you can take nice photos of your children with a little bit of creativity if you cannot afford to have professional pictures done.

  3. Jennifer Jean says:

    I love taking photos, but I’m not a pro either. I’m SLOOWLY getting better. My kids drive me crazy though. They just don’t do what I want them to do. lol Actually, I need to take my birthday boy and do his pics somewhere. I don’t know if I want to set up the “studio.”

    1. I’ve learned not to try to make my kids do anything most of the time! I try to take a deep breathe, then be patient to catch the right photo while they are doing whatever it is that they want to do! 🙂 It sure makes them happier anyways!

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