We’ve all seen those cute family photos our friends had taken. Where their little ones were sitting in a wagon, or a bucket, or a cute little chair. Photo props add a lot of character and dimension to a photo. But you don’t need a professional photographer or even much money, to make your own DIY photo props. All you need are a few items (you can usually find each one at second hand stores or garage sales) to dress up a bit.

DIY photo props

I love using DIY photo props with families I photograph and with my own kids.

Here are a few of my favorites that you can easily make and use at home.

Chalkboard Frame

These are easy and cheap to make and can be used over and over again. Find a frame you like at a second hand store. I often find a plain one that I can paint to get the look I want. Then take out any glass and backing in the frame and fill with a piece of foam board. Paint the foam board with chalkboard paint and you have yourself a great photo prop. You can use plain white chalk or colored chalk to dress up your photo. You may want to use this prop for monthly pictures of your newborn, first day of school pics, anniversaries. It could be a creative way to make a guestbook at a wedding or birthday party. There are so many great uses for this DIY photo prop.

DIY photo props

Empty Colorful Frame

Again, find a fun frame at a second hand store. I am often looking for a more ornate frame for this prop. Take all the inner pieces out and leave the middle open. Give it a pop of color with some spray paint and you are done. A variety of sizes and shapes make for a very fun photo shoot. Frame a face, a group of faces, a baby, a special item like wedding shoes or rings, or anything else you want to stand out in the photo.

Banner

Use heavyweight paper and a string to create your own custom banner. Write a word, like celebrate, across each piece of the banner. The banner could hang behind your subjects as a nice backdrop. Or you could have them hold onto it so the word can be read.

DIY photo props

Basket or Bucket

This is one of my favorite DIY photo props! I love to find old baskets, buckets, wine barrels. Anything that a baby can fit inside or sit on top of. Or you can capture a picture of your child with a favorite stuffed animal peeking out of the bucket. Give it a quick coat of spray paint and you have a nice piece with lots of texture for your photographs.

DIY photo props

Chair

Almost any chair can look great with the right paint color. You can usually find an old dining room chair at your local thrift store for next to nothing. Choose a bright color or a more vintage color of paint. Chairs are great for kid shots, group shots, or individual portraits.

For even more inspiration read, 8 Indoor Photo Shoots you can do with your kids.

There are so many great items you can use to enhance your photos. This is just a small list. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below! Now go and photograph your life today!