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Sourcing styling props on a budget

Filling your prop box with an assortment of items doesn't need to cost a fortune.  All it takes is a bit of creative thinking and the ability to keep your eyes open to what's available in the world around you.  At first glance, the picture below appears as a beautiful selection of eye catching bits and pieces.  However, if you break it down to where each piece was sourced, it will soon become apparent that things you already own, mother nature, and a keen eye for bargain finds will generally cover off most of what you need.  I've outlined the source for each item below to show you how easy it is to bring an image together on a budget. 

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1. This is a leaf cutting that i brought 2 weeks ago from a market. It came as part of a leafy bouquet with a lush selection for around $5.  However, the good news from today, is that i noticed it is now growing roots in its vase which means I will now be able to plant it and use it on an ongoing basis. Winning!

2. This is the first flower from my magnolia tree and it has been immediately put to use in its first photo! When i'm deciding what additions are being made to the garden i'm also thinking about what will double as useful photography props for the future.  If you don't have space for your own flowers in the garden, you can always have a browse around those of family and friends to see what options you have there. You know you are loved when a loved one turns up with some flowers just for you knowing that you'll put them to good photographic use.  

3. Cuttings from... well the world is your oyster on this one. These were trimmed from a neighboring garden off an overgrown tree. You may have your own or others gardens to explore, leftovers from a bouquet, something you've grown. There is green everywhere so this can also be a matter of keeping your eyes open to the world out there for the opportunity that awaits.

4. This is a journal, that was gifted to me, but could be the type of item around the home that you may already have. Anything that involves an eye catching cover such as a diary, magazine, journal, book, photo or picture will be ideal.

5. My favourite prop of all time - black glasses. You may already have your own or it may be time to call in to your local op shop to nab yourself a pair of specs.  This universal prop will set you back only a few dollars but will add that human element to your photos time and time again. 

6. A rescued backdrop that was free.  It was saved just before being thrown in the dumpster when my grandma's house was being cleared out. My uncle used to use it for his architecture drawings a good 40 years ago.  Garage sales can be great for random backdrops so keep an eye out if you happen to spot one! A coat of paint or a sheet of vinyl could also transform it into an amazing backdrop.

7. Another gift from mother nature foraged on my walk this morning. Little gems like these make superb 'gap fillers' in flat lay styling.  These ones are some type of seed head that appeared in front of me because my creative eyes were open to their existence.  

8. White paper flowers that i brought to plant in the garden as a future styling investment. The plant was only $10 but my plan is for it to keep producing flowers that i can keep in their dry form.  I choose them because of their size, colour and sustainability - all wins when it comes to photography. 

9. Small labels.  I always keep these handy for all sorts of styling. They make an inexpensive prop that you can add to a variety of settings such as presents, bouquets, or to add some fun words into your styling. I have some little stamp letters that allow me to customise text depending on the setting. 

10. While you're in getting those specs from the op shop, you may want to keep an eye out for a doily. They will set you back approximately 50 cents and make a super handy addition to any table top setting.   

11. A creative masterpiece adding interest and a point of difference.  It's actually a square canvas which i decorated for an advent calendar a couple of Christmases ago. It happened to be lying around so in it went. Numbers and creativity are a good combo when it comes to creative styling!

12. My staple white chair which can often be found perched on the edge of a photo. Bargain of the year at $20 from a second hand shop - complete with that rustic charm that you pay bucket loads for in a high end furniture store.