You can create high-quality fashion and lifestyle photos for your blog or Instagram on a $10-an-hour salary. Accessories and props are everywhere if you are resourceful and keep an eye out for potential. Using these classic images from the Sewing Pattern Era as inspiration and tips that fit into the modern Recessionista’s lifestyle, you can create the social media illusion of the exciting, glamorous life you want your followers to think you have.
Cats make stylish photo props indeed. Now that cat cafes are popping up everywhere, you can set the stage for your handmade robe during your lunch break and never have to lose your rental deposit from scratched-up blinds.
As you walk past the barista, tell him you have to use the bathroom and after the shoot, just walk out really fast and pretend not to hear him yell at your back “Hey– restrooms are for customer use only!”
Dogs are certainly making a comeback. Live in a rental with a no-pets policy? Try standing in front of a posh cafe until someone ties up their afghan outside. Slip the leash over your wrist and take the picture quickly, while the owner is ordering.
Wait around after closing and maybe the cafe servers will bring you some leftover croissants.
A beagle makes for a playful shoot. I am actually getting PAID to keep up my baby style Instagram because I am baby-sitting my niece at the same time.
Just don’t tell my sister I have her daughter on Instagram. She’ll probably have a huff about how it’s inappropriate or “toddlers shouldn’t be used as props.” I think she’s just jealous because she doesn’t have time to use social media now that she’s a mom and I’ve worked up to 1000 followers.
Seagulls as a Found Object are a little unpredictable but can be surprisingly effective for making your bus stop look like a spontaneous park outing.
Note: only use Found Seagulls as Living Accessories. Seagulls are the thugs of the bird world and you don’t want to risk attracting too-large of a flock using food or else your followers might think you Try Too Hard.
Use a parrot for the exotic look.
Surely someone you know has an uncle who has one. Or just slip into a Petco.
If you feel uncomfortable harassing animals, try using humans! On any college campus with an art program, you are bound to find an outdoor artist on a sunny day. Just walk up behind a young man painting a fox and pose around him. He doesn’t mind at all.
Focus on the accessories
If you find yourself in a bind and unable to secure any props, your accessories become your props. Give them center stage and an I-Mean-Business expression.
Headbands from first grade picture day that you found in your parents’ basement are retro now. Pairing it with a bad ass resting bitch face makes your shoot #minimalist, not bare (Disclaimer: Bad Ass Resting Bitch Face is now the name of my perfume. I’ve already had it trademarked).
As a living accessory/accessory mashup: while wearing some stylish glasses, step on some beagle’s leash. Unapologetically stepping on leashes is not only free but it is being a boss.
Go on location
Try shooting at a farmers or flea market. They’re free to attend and allow for free use of props until someone asks you to leave their booth because they have a policy against photography.
No one looking at your Instagram will know you don’t regularly partake in recreational activities such as bowling or croquet whilst wearing vintage dresses.
Because they are usually held in the morning, flea markets make especially great pajama shoot locations. Anywhere else, a man holding a golf club in his jamjams is a little off-putting. At a flea market, it is simply an opportunity to promote your online presence when someone asks you if you need help.
If you are looking for a flirty shoot with tasteful partial nudity, request a friend take a candid shot of you powdering your side-boob.
You could also use a well-placed newspaper.
If you don’t want to use your laundry quarters to buy one, use the one that has been sitting on your apartment building’s lobby table since 2013. Be sure to put it back, though. You don’t want to give the other renters the idea you have time to clean up after them.
On the other hand, you probably won’t lose your accounts with subtle headlights and you will definitely gain followers.
They can’t all be winners, but be creative.
If you are having trouble conveying a historical context, go overboard by adding a gun and the Declaration of Independence.
Think of a pun. Then, create a visual. Shellphone:
Try making something you got for free A Thing. How about those glasses they give you at the eye doctor?
Innovate with a chainsaw, edit with a scalpel
To avoid putting out something too radically avant garde, think about your audience. Get a second opinion on your more risky styling choices.
A giant tampon for a little lady is ironic for some, off-putting for others.
Follow these easy steps and you’re on your way to a raise in followers because you are definitely not getting one at work.