I remember when I first started learning photography and at that time I thought that the props made the shot.

I spent hours and hours deciding which props to purchase, roaming aisles at craft stores to see what I could put a baby or child in, on, or next to.

I thought that was what photography was all about. I don’t mean to say that having props in your images are a bad thing but I do approach them a little differently now.

Now when I decide to use props in my images, I use a much simpler approach.

I look for simple pieces that don’t take away from my subjects. I make sure that the prop adds to the image or I use them to help keep kids busy – even my own. Sometimes having something to do, something to sit on, or even just something to focus on, helps my kids or my client’s children relax in front of the camera.

I gravitate towards simple, classic props that aren’t going to be out of style in a few years. I am always keeping an eye out for new ideas and I tend to like DIY projects that are very easy to make (and won’t take too much time)!

Being able to create props myself enables me to truly customize them for my business and brand. Here are some of my favorite DIY photo prop tutorials that can add a little something extra to your photo sessions.

Arm Knit Blanket

Is there anything better than a big, comfy blanket?

When I saw this tutorial online, I knew it was something I wanted to do. It is exactly like it sounds but the best part is that this blanket can be made in less than an hour. In any color, this blanket will never go out of style and can be used with any session!

how to make an arm knit blanket

Image: The DIY Mommy

Customizable Tepee

There are a lot of tepee tutorials out there or even ones you can purchase but what I love about this one is that you are able to change the fabric/material that you use on it. Changing it seasonally to use indoors/outdoors, for boys or girls, or even using a favorite quilt makes it an instant favorite.

DIY pretty teepee

Image: Simple as That

Fur Bench

I love this idea for turning any bench into something with a little more personality! I know my little girl loves to feel that faux fur texture on just about anything and would enjoy sitting on this bench.

The fur is appealing because of the texture but you could also use some other fabric/material instead of the faux fur. Create it to match your style of shooting and don’t forget to think big! You could also use a longer bench to fit a whole family.

DIY faux fur bench

Image: Ashley Mayes

Pom Pom Rug

This rug is very customizable and can be made in any color. It is another item that has great texture and the different colors and yarn can keep little hands busy at least for a few minutes! The example is a smaller size, but I can easily see how a larger size would be perfect in studio as well.

DIY pom pom rug

Image: Say Yes

Braided Yarn Dolls

I love the look of hand-knitted bears and other smaller handmade items that little kids can hold. These yarn dolls are also something that can keep little ones distracted or at least keep their hands busy.

They are so easy to make! Shown here in bolder colors; I can easily see how neutral colored yarn dolls would make for beautiful, timeless props that children can hold without distracting from the image.

DIY yarn dolls

Image: The Craft Train


These clouds are something different and caught my eye because they are such a fun backdrop! What a great way to dress up an otherwise ordinary space.

They are perfect for your studio or they could hang outdoors as well. The 3D effect is what really helps set them apart and it is a background that can be used with just about any kind of photography, from couples and seniors to newborns for a truly unique look.

DIY clouds as a photo backdrop

Image: Allison Andres