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DIY Photography Props

Confession time: I am a prop addict!! If you follow my work, you might have noticed already that I LOVE working with themes. Finding theme-specific props is not always easy. Also, ready-made props are not always, ahem, easy on your pocket. Plus, the thrill of creating something with a specific client and their session in mind is something words can't describe.

I thought of sharing how I made some of the props for an African themed newborn session I did recently. See if you can use a tip or two to make a prop for yourself.

1. Zulu Shield, Spear & Club

An African American newborn baby on a Zulu shield prop with a spear, a club and a tropical leaf

All I really bought for this prop was a foam-board; cut it in the shape of a traditional zulu shield; and channeled the painter in me. Yes, I like to paint, so I have some painting supplies on me all the time.

For the spear (iKlwa) and the club (iWisa), I used the foam-board I had left over after cutting out the shield, cut it in the spear and club shapes, and painted them black. Then I glued them to the two wooden dowels I had on me and wrapped a piece of rope around them for added detail. Final touches to this set of weapons were two red beads, that are also hot-glued to the painted, black foam-board.

Ta-da, and your custom prop is ready.

2. Tribal head-dress

An African American infant with blue turban, a stone and feather headdress and a stone necklace

For this head-dress, I went out in my yard and keeping in mind the size of an infant's forehead, I chose a few stones, washed them well and let them dry. I cut out a strip of beige cloth, hot-glued the stones along the length of the strip, and finished with hot-gluing a couple of black feathers on each end.

To use this prop, I tied one of my stretch wraps around this sweet baby's head and placed my prop on top of it. To bring the look together, I placed a huge stone pendant on the baby. Mama loves prints, so we used a print backdrop.

3. Kenyan beaded disc ornament and head-dress

An African American baby with Kenyan beaded disc ornament, a feather head-dress, a djembe drum and a traditional African basket

The expression "as soft as a baby's bottom" is not just an expression. Babies are delicate; if not THE most delicate, then at least, ONE of the most delicate humans on earth. Now, can't really wrap a delicate baby in discs of beads. But this costume is too good to not be incorporated in an African themed session. So, we turn to our best friend, yarn.

I bought a roll of soft, knitting yarn in red, and created the base of this Kenyan ornament. To add color and detail, I used a couple of chenille stems, and lace. The head-piece is also lace, with a red bead and three red feathers hot-glued to it.

A little bit of creativity goes a long way, doesn't it?

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