Blogging is certainly not the cheapest hobby! When you add up buying your domain and paying for hosting, the cost of a decent camera, laptop or computer, lighting equipment, backdrops, and then of course (in the case of many bloggers) the recurring cost of new items you actually blog about, that’s likely to be a decent chunk out of your wages! Not to mention – maybe you paid for a theme, or a header design, you might have an advertising budget, or perhaps you have other software you have to pay for: all this doesn’t leave much money left to build up a good stash of props to keep your photos fresh.
Of course, some props you may already have in your home. If you’re a beauty blogger, your makeup might double as props; fashion bloggers might have accessories they can use; food bloggers might have a stash of pretty tableware; or you may choose to use everyday items like your phone or magazines. But if you’ve ever tried to create daily content for Instagram, I’m sure you’ll have had a day or two where you felt your photos were stale, samey, or simply felt like something was missing…
I’ve found that building a good stash of props really helps to keep me motivated and inspired to take photos for my blog and Instagram, as well as stopping my content from getting stale. If a lot of your photography is of static objects (I mostly shoot makeup and beauty products), props can really help to dress a photo and give it more depth – it also helps a lot when the time comes to shoot your own stock photography for blog posts, or generic header images.
Without further ado, here are my favourite stores to go prop-hunting in…
I was super excited when this store opened in Nottingham’s Victoria Centre – it’s like a cross between IKEA and Tiger, but with a lot of class. I probably spend way too much time and money in there, but I honestly have absolutely zero regrets!
If you’re looking for low-priced but quality kitchen items, crafting accessories, understated homeware, or decorative pieces, this is a great place to try. My best finds were around Christmas – I looked everywhere for non-glittery decorations and it was here I found the best selection!
Unfortunately, this store does not have an online shop currently, so unless you live in mainland Europe, Ireland or Nottingham (bizarrely), you won’t be able to shop here! 😭
Affectionately referred to by many as ‘a store full of junk’, Tiger’s ever-changing and seemingly entirely random selection of stock often includes unusual – and very cheap – ideas for props.
The unusual selection of items I have picked up here include a wooden serving board, grass printed wrapping paper, a notebook with a cork cover (pictured further up), a pink metal tray, mini wooden palette coasters and a jewelry display stand.
Wilko’s ever-changing selection of homeware is a blogger’s dream! They also have a fantastic selection of stationery, and have collections that change seasonally. Unlike most of the options on this list, they also offer delivery or free click-and-collect in store, so if your local is only small, just pop onto their website for the full range.
Copper tea light holder, notebook, pencil case and rose fairy lights – £2.50 and up, Wilko
I love the homeware section in TK Maxx – I picked up the beautiful plate below there for £1.99. Depending on the way the light catches it, you can see several different colours!
It’s worth a root around here, particularly if you are a food blogger – there’s an ever-changing array of pretty serving dishes and rose gold utensils!
Fairy lights, photo frames, bunny candles – you name it, you can find it in Primark’s home section. They update with new stock regularly, so check in often! The only problem you’ll have is deciding what NOT to buy…
Love Light, Bunny Candles, Lightbulb Strings & Trinket Dish – £2.50 and up, Primark Home
A great place to look for bargain craft accessories, as they have a huge and varied selection, as well as decorative homeware pieces. The home decor sections are sorted by style – great if you have a colour scheme or particular theme you follow!
Ever look into those ‘random stuff’ middle aisles in Lidl and Aldi? They’re not just for power tools and blenders, you know. Around Christmas time, I picked up these pretty fairy lights for about £4.
If you don’t visit every week like I do (it’s my local supermarket anyway) you can check out their upcoming ‘specials’ on their website. Keep an eye out for craft specials, as well as all kinds of cute decor around Christmas time.
Poundworld (and other pound stores)
I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t pop into Poundworld! (Obsessed much? My usual excuse is we need more massive kitchen rolls or Frylight – such a glamorous life I lead) The best items I have picked up here are my plastic diamonds. They look brilliant (read: expensive) in photos and are only £1 a bag – find them in the craft section.
Also be sure to check the home decor section – and I never leave without casting my eye over their selection of candles! (OK, I have a problem. But who was I to resist a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut scented candle? Exactly.)
Charity / Antique Shops
If you have any charity or antique shops close to you, they’re definitely worth a look. It’s a great place to find unique items, particularly random homeware pieces. Crockery and kitchenware are good to look at – but also check out home decor and fabrics!
I found these french pastel teacups (and one saucer) in a ‘£1’ sale basket hidden in the back of a huge antiques store, back when I lived in Sheffield.
Ah, eBay. The one place you can literally buy anything! The huge array of choice means you might need a little inspiration before you go diving in – but once you have the initial idea, there’s plenty to choose from. Try looking for home decor, crockery, and craft supplies. I recently bought a small collection of seashells and starfish, along with a small box of driftwood.
Another place you don’t want to go without inspiration! It’s a great place to buy all sorts of things – try looking through the craft, home decor, nail art, and stationery sections. I recommend downloading the mobile app – then you can easily save your finds and go through them again later.
Nature (it’s free!)
Seek, and mother nature will provide… Great if you live near a beach, but not limited to shells! Think wild flowers (use them fresh, or press them), pine cones, nice rocks, and leaves. Last Autumn, I collected some lovely autumnal leaves – just from the pavement outside my house. Admittedly I might have looked like a right weirdo out in the street collecting leaves at 5:30pm – but hey, it’s not the weirdest thing I’ve done for Instagram…
I hope you enjoyed this post, and found it helpful!
If you have any places you like to shop for props, please leave me a comment and let me know – I’m always looking for new ideas, especially when they involve shopping!