In the world of set styling, one can never have a full and complete list of must-have items. So, we figured it was time to share our updated list of set styling tools, props and tips to help you prepare for your next photo or video shoot.
" It might seem easier to just bring a screenshot of your palette, but the color on your screen might end up looking different than your actual paint sample. If you have physical examples of the color(s) you’re matching, bring them with you! "
You know better than anyone else that a good surface can make a huge difference in the outcome of a creative shoot. We believe no prop or tool collection is complete without:
- Reflective surfaces: mirror, glass and colorful acrylic can serve to create beautiful reflections. Spritz or splash water on top to create a fresh look!
- Fabrics: not only do fabrics serve as a great backdrop, but they offer the perfect amount of texture and dimension when used as surfaces, too.
The chances are that you have a few of these, but not all. Allow this list to serve as your, “why didn’t I think of that before?” moment 💡
- Seamless paper: we grab ours from Savage!
- Drapey fabrics: let’s break things up by season, shall we?
- For spring and summer, we recommend using satin. It offers beautiful reflective properties, and a silky texture.
- For a super summery vibe, grab some linen! It’s light, airy and *just* whimsical enough.
- For the colder months and holiday season, opt for velvet (for obvious reasons).
- Pro tip: check your local discounted fabric store - you’ll be amazed at what fun and funky fabrics you might find for a reasonable price.
- Plywood: plywood can be painted (and repainted) for use as a background, or a surface. The best part? No wrinkles or creases. (Yes please)
- Pro tip: when color matching paint for your shoot, make sure to bring your physical color palette along with you, so you can see things side by side. It might seem easier to just bring a screenshot of your palette, but the color on your screen might end up looking different than your actual paint sample. If you have physical examples of the color(s) you’re matching, bring them with you!
" You can also try using thin metal wires in lieu of fishing line or dental floss. Those wires will give you the structure you need to shape and sculpt the direction of the product or prop, without dealing with any spinning. "
Styling Tools + Tips
Consider this the “miscellaneous, but still super helpful” section of our list of tips and tools.
- Dental floss or fishing line: for those “zero gravity” or floating products shots.
Pro tip: You can also try using thin metal wires in lieu of fishing line or dental floss. Those wires will give you the structure you need to shape and sculpt the direction of the product or prop, without dealing with any spinning.
- Helping hands clips + clamps: to secure your draping fabrics, white cards and seamless backdrops, of course.
- Museum putty: the chances are that you’ll have at least one slippery item in your set. Keep them secure with a bit of museum putty!
Pro tip: If you have items that are a bit thinner and flimsier in nature that also need to stay in place, use museum putty or dental wax. We learned this one from Alexis and Max from Colors Collective ⭐
- Glass cleaning cloths: save yourself the time in post-production by wiping off smudges, surfaces and props as you shoot.
- Gloves: these go hand in hand (get it?) with those glass cleaning cloths. The less fingerprints on your props and tools, the better!
- Glycerin: at first glance, introducing water droplets to your shoot might seem simple… until gravity comes into the mix. Glycerin is a beautiful water alternative that’ll achieve the same look, without the typical drippage and puddling that happens when water is used. (Thanks again to Colors Collective for yet another tip!)
- Dry ice: to create a foggy effect, pour water on dry ice (carefully). If you happen to have a home food delivery or grocery delivery subscription, your food likely comes with dry ice. Repurpose it! That’s as pro of a tip as you’ll ever find, if you ask us 💁♀️
Ahhh, our favorite category. Then again, we’re a bit biased.
- Colored sand: because it offers the best texture, and it can be used in a multitude of ways. We love purchasing Sparkle Sand on Ebay!
- Fresh florals
- Fake florals: while fresh florals are always best, sometimes a shoot might require the use of fake florals due to time constraints. The great thing about artificial florals is that they can be painted to match your shoot or project colors.
- Rocks: these will add a bit of nature and dimension to that earthy product shoot of yours. Trust us.
- Marbles: because they’re fun, and you never want to be in a situation where you find yourself saying, “I wish I had some marbles.”
- Thrifted glassware and dishware: when it comes to glassware, more is always more.
- Candle holders and funky candles: there are so many things you can do with a funky-shaped candle or colorful candle holder. Check out Hay Design or Coming Soon New York for stylist-sourced furniture and other home-related goods!
- We’d be remiss if we didn’t give an honorable mention to our favorite props of all: go big, go small, or somewhere in between with our modular, multifunctional and portable Moodelier pieces 〰️
Well, what are you waiting for? You’ve got some prop shopping to do 🛒