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Giant colorful sunflowers make great props

I was shopping at Michael's, a local art and craft supply store, the other day when I spotted these rather large and colorful artificial sunflowers. Because I was shopping for my day job my mind was not on photography. The first thought that came to my mind when I saw these was, "how gaudy, who would ever buy these things?"

Then it occurred to me that they would make fantastic props for children and infant portraits. I paused long enough to capture this shot with my cell phone. While I don't do portraits I'm sure there are plenty of others in the group that does. So if you are looking for some really great flower props, here they are. Michael's is on the Post road in Milford near the Post Mall.

This led me to think about my own search for props. Obviously since I do food and jewelry my needs are different but the process is the same. Being a big DIY guy I also try to look at conventional items in an unconventional way. This has almost become a habit for me.

Since I am also cheap, meaning I don't like to spend excessive amounts of money on gear if I can avoid it, I tend to shop thrift stores, closeouts and bargain bins. One thing I have discovered is that some of the best props and gear come from shopping frugally. Props need to be generic enough so you can avoid logos or distinguishable design elements. Name brand stores carry name brand items that tend to be inadequate for photography use. The generic stores like Ocean State Job Lot or Odd Lots have plenty of inexpensive generic products and, if you're lucky enough, you can sometimes find a real useful prop or piece of gear.

So don't dismiss the bargain stores when it comes to shopping for props and other stuff like storage bins, duffel bags, clips, cords, tape and so on. Being cheap pays off.


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