One of the questions that I get most frequently about flat lay photography and knolling images is where to find props. While you can head to your favorite local boutique or big-box retailer (a la Target), there is an even easier way. You may be surprised, but one of my favorite things to do is to prop shop right in my own home…and I don’t mean online either. That’s right! You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or even any money at all, to get started with creating knolling images today. In this post, I’m going to give you some ideas about where you can discover props in your own home.
Recap of Part 1: Getting Started with Knolling
If you read Part 1 in this Everything You Need to Know about Knolling series, then you know that knolling is one of my favorite composition styles to recommend to content creators who are new to flat lay photography. Why? Well, while you can incorporate advanced composition techniques to create an additional wow factor, you can create a dynamic flat lay image with the knowledge you already have. As long as you know how to line things up, you are well on your way! It’s almost like putting together a fun puzzle, except one with a lot fewer pieces.
3 Simple Tips for Finding Knolling Props You Already Own
If you go into any room in your house, you will likely find a collection of related items that could be incorporated into a knolling image. Think about items that you seem to have too many of or areas of the house that seem to be cluttered. It can be satisfying to gather things neatly to create order out of the chaos. Here are some quick tips if you are unsure of where to even start to get ideas:
- Think about what story you want to tell. In the knolling image above, I wanted to share a little about what I’ve been doing during my physical distancing time. Because I’ve been doing a variety of random things (e.g., working out, playing with my kids, cooking, listening to music, appreciating the little things in life), objects that represent those activities don’t initially seem to go together. But, I was able to tie them all together by using an intentional color story. A monochromatic theme is one of my favorites. (Head to Instagram to read more about my quarantine life.)
- Consider your passions. When we are passionate about something, we tend to purchase lots of items related to that passion. For example, I used to be a jewelry designer and would frequently purchase new jewelry supplies. They would work well in a knolling image because I have beads, natural gemstones, and tools in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. Together they would make for a dynamic image.
- Look for everyday items that you keep telling yourself that you need to stop buying. Are you forever buying new nail polish even though you already have every color under the sun? Grab them and lay them out. A gradient might be a fun idea to try!
Now, let’s walk around the house to get some other ideas.
IDEA #1: Your Home Office
Your home office is the perfect place to begin. Because knolling images rely on items being lined up, office supplies are a great option; notebooks and writing utensils have straight edges. Plus, you probably have an abundance of items available. Here are some props you can use:
- Notebooks or planners
- Pens or pencils
- Paper clips
- Small containers or dishes used to hold paper clips or other items
IDEA #2: The Kitchen
I love the idea of gathering props in the kitchen because there are a variety of items from which to choose, from tableware to food. Here are some of my favorites:
- Measuring spoons or cups
- Food (e.g., eggs, spices, flour)
- Decorative glasses
- Beverage bottles with unique designs
IDEA #3: The Bathroom
The bathroom is an easy place to find sets of items or related items, especially if you think about your morning routine. Some ideas include:
- Hair care products
- Makeup and/or makeup brushes
- Facial products and tools
IDEA #4: The Kids’ Room
While your kids might be your pride and joy, their rooms may be quite the opposite. Depending on the age of your kids, you may find yourself helping to tidy up when things get a bit unruly. While doing so, think about what items you can gather that would make a good picture. This is a perfect way to also document what things your child might be “into” at this moment, so you can look back on this time fondly. By virtue of the items all being related to childhood, they will naturally go together, even if they are different colors (see the image in my previous post – LINK POST). Need some ideas? Here goes…
- Crayons or colored pencils
- Book bags
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There you have it! Over 20 props that you might find right in your own home, and we didn’t even cover every room in your house! For example, you might have workout gear and equipment in your bedroom. So, before donning your mask to head to your favorite local boutique (although I am TOTALLY into supporting small businesses), take a look around your home to see what would make for a good knolling image. What other ideas do you have?
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