Quality Props for Quality Pictures

2015-07-24 09.08.466

A few weeks ago, I was on a site that was bickering back and fourth about the best way to get professional photos for vendor’s shops. This bickering went on for days and while I didn’t partake int, I watched the drama unfold.

There are SO many issues with the prop trade for photos ordeal- I know- cause I’ve been there. And what do I say?


Creating lasting relationships with photographers is something very near and dear to my heart- after all, I am a prop creator!

After a few months in the photography prop business I realized a couple of things:

  1. My photos were horrible!
  2. While I followed all of the patterns perfectly- I never really had feedback on sizing, texture, or quality on my props.
I also realized that both of those things can be fixed with one or two AMAZING relationships with photographers!
Image by: Jennifer Nace Photography
Stocking Hat by: ReiLynn Designs
I have tried almost every way to get professional photos of my props and starting out wasn’t easy.

Six years ago, I literally posted “Hey! I have a couple of props that I am looking for images of! Who would like to get them in exchange for some photos?”

I can not express what a bad idea that was. 

Messages came flooding in- from TONS of very inexperienced photographers. I found a few that were “okay” and sent them products. I am still waiting on said product images- 6 YEARS LATER.
I went back to the drawing board.
I started up with a modeling company- I read a profile that had the professional photographers name that she would be using and 


After sending products- and waiting a month- I got images back with this adorable little note

“So we haven’t had the chance to get professional photos done, so I did them last night with the flash, I hope you like them! She didn’t really want to sleep and the hat was too small.” 

I don’t have a copy of those images- because I deleted them that night. They were horrible, and no, my hat didn’t fit on a 3 month old when it was supposed to be on an 8 lb newborn. UGH!

Drawing board anyone?

By that time I had sent over $3000.00 products and had not gotten a single usable image back. Which is a VERY common complaint among vendors.

So I started messaging photographers- which, if your a photographer- is the last thing you want in your inbox.

Note to Vendors:
Vendors begging for photos is JUST as bad as photographers begging for free props! 

Did I get replies? Nope!

Lets fast forward a few years to when life gets crazy. I work three jobs, have a toddler, divorced, moved AND started a local boutique. Need for professional photos? Not great. So I stopped worrying about it.

Image by : Shanna Rae Photogaphy
Mini Stretch Blankets by: ReiLynn Designs

Then I closed my boutique. All of a sudden I was online only again with my sad pictures.

I blasted 50% off in exchange for images all over Facebook. I got a TON of responses- so many that I ended up refunding a lot of people because there were repeat items, delays in shipping and an overall mess of how that happened. And THAT is the common complaint among photographers.

In this time though, I was getting a few orders here and there. Branding my name slowly and providing great customer service to regular customers.

Now I am SO proud to say that I work with all three of these methods, and that was accomplished my creating lasting relationships- not spamming- not Facebook blasting- but by taking the time to really talk with my customers and photographers I knew.

It took some time, patience and great communication, but I turned a few of my tried and true customers into photography prop partners. They get an automatic 50% off in exchange for photos on all the items that need images in my shop. When they are looking for something for their next session- I send them a list of items I can discount. Now- it isn’t without it’s set backs.

I also gift props to a few photographers and work with photographers though a modeling company.

In my experience I have learned that when communicating about photos or props- being 100% straight forward is important!

Tips for Props for Photos:

  • GREAT communication is key! Make sure you know shipping time, sizes, image turn around time. Everything! There are instances where it takes 4-5 weeks to edit a gallery- make sure you communicate that to your prop vendors. 
  • Don’t SPAM people! A great way to get discounted props is to make a purchase- see if you even like the quality of them- and then offer an image, with no strings attached. Many vendors will give you a discount on your next order or ask to work with you more! 
  • Stay organized! Make sure you are tagging your vendors you purchase props from- they love it and will share the love. If you don’t know where you got what from and who- you can’t start building that relationship. 
  • Nothing is free- time for your images isn’t and supplies to create props isn’t- if you are going to build relationships for that type of trade BOTH of you need to respect each others time, energy and skill level. 
If you have any suggestions, tips, tricks or information you would love to add- feel free to comment! I would LOVE to hear your perspective or experiences!

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