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The Ultimate Guide to Props

26502720085_d0254df4bb_zProps can make or break your client’s photo booth experience as well as your budget. Let’s face it, props get stolen, damaged and worn out.  Over time they will need to be replaced, it’s just a cost of doing business.  You need to know where to buy quality props at affordable prices that will last through several jobs and some possible abuse. You need interesting and accessible props that will encourage your clients and their guests to take lots of fun pictures and, most importantly, recommend you to their friends.

**Disclaimer.  The following list of prop vendors is simply a directory.  I have not ordered from all of these vendors, therefore I cannot attest to the quality of the props these vendors sell, nor can I vouch for their customer service.**

Props Vendors.

1 Stop Photo Booth Shop – Props.  From junk food signs to musical instrument props, 1 Stop Photo Booth Shop delivers on its name. Bundles start at $20 and most signs are 2-sided to further increase their value and longevity. You can also find prop sign holders and organizational tools that will help you keep your props in good shape and easy for clients to choose among.

Costume Discounters.  When you need some special costume additions to your prop supply box, check out Costume Discounters for affordable prices on unique and interesting costume accessories. You might add a Lil’ Jon hat/wig, a dinosaur mask, or a gorgeous jeweled headpiece; peruse the selection and get inspired to create a memorable photo booth experience for your clients.

Elope.  Elope (Everybody’s Laughing on Planet Earth) features novelty costumes and hats that would be great additions to themed events such as a Harry Potter party, an Oscars celebration, or Alice in Wonderland themed event. Search their stock of crowns, hats, scarves, and other costume accessories to see which items will work for your upcoming events.

Hashtag Props.  Your hashtag from Hashtag Props will be personalized to your style, your event, or your business and can therefore be an effective marketing tool for your business. You provide the phrase or logo and they will provide a water resistant, durable handheld prop that can be used to promote your business, support a local charity, or showcase your cutting edge pop culture knowledge.

Nose Hangers.  Don’t let the silly name of this website fool you, Nose Hangers offers a seriously interesting marketing tool for photo booth owners: business cards that double as photo booth props and conversation starters. One side of the card is printed with a high quality photo of a mouth, the other side gives the important contact information for your business; the feature that sets these business cards apart, however, is the nose cut out included on each card.  If you are looking for an innovative way to market your photo booth at vendor fairs and other events, check out Nose Hangers to see if these business cards are right for you.

Novelty Sunglasses.  Photo booth sunglasses are no longer limited to the simple oversize plastic frames; at Novelty Sunglasses, you can purchase “Sun-staches” that will turn your clients into Power Rangers, Disney Princesses or Superheroes to name a few. Sports, holidays, and popular television show and movie characters are also available and are sure to liven up your photo booth.

Oriental Trading Company.  Oriental Trading has long been known as the source for large purchases of prizes, craft supplies, and give-aways but you can use this site to bolster your supply of props if you are creative. Can the large batch stuffed animals be used as props? Can you find costume accessories to add to your wedding or corporate event prop list? The photo booth props offered at Oriental Trading will more than likely not survive more than one event but if you find the perfect props for a specific booking, it might be worth the risk.

Party City.  Party City is known as a party decoration destination but you can also use partycity.com to ramp up your photo booth prop offerings. Think outside the box and search through the sports decorations for items your clients can use to customize their photos. Utilize the site to score deals on costume accessories after Halloween that will elevate your prop supply offerings.

Photo Booth Backdrops – Props.  The props at Photo Booth Backdrops are priced right and come in a wide range of themes including golf, Mexican fiesta, Paris and Beer Time.  The handheld sign bundles start at just $30 and include up to 24 signs.

Photo Booth International Props.  In need of large quantity prop bundles? Check out Photo Booth International to view their selection of props that include from 12-60 props per bundle. These large bundles are ideal for events requiring more than one booth or to simply stock up in case of damaged or lost props.

Photo Booth Supply Co. – Props.  Classic and classy collections of photo booth props can be found at Photo Booth Supply Co.; currently featured on the site are gold and silver handheld glasses, mustaches and ties that would work well for a color-themed event, a black-tie wedding, or simply as alternatives to the usual brightly colored props.  The unique offering here is that the props are made from steel. 

Pop Studios.  Searching for on-trend prop bundles utilizing the latest emojis, phrases, and symbols that will appeal to customers of all ages? Check out Pop Studios and peruse their assortment of handheld sign bundles that cover every event from Comic Book fans to Sweet 16 parties. The site allows you to search for props by category, streamlining your search so you can focus your efforts on Holiday, Oversized, or Wedding as your business requires. 

Prop Shop Pros.  Innovative handheld sign bundles abound at Prop Shop Pros including Class Reunion and Wine themed bundles. All signs can also be purchased individually for between $8-$11 if you simply need one perfect sign to complete your prop supply. You can also stock a supply of vinyl sleeves/protectors to offer your clients to keep their memorable photo shoot pictures looking great.

Prop Signs.  When you don’t want your photo booth props to be limited to phrases and sunglasses, check out Prop Signs. The site offers everything from wrestling championship belts to Rubik’s cube signs; of course, they also offer more traditional signs and accessories but you may also be inspired to expand your prop selection after browsing this site.

Prop Trunk.  New photo booth owners or those needing to update their offerings would do well to start at Prop Trunk, you can find everything from backdrops to table covers to props at their engaging and user-friendly website.  Props include signs, blank chalkboard signs, hats, mustaches, monster faces and many more while handheld signs offer even more options.

Rhode Island Novelty.  Rhode Island Novelty offers party supplies for all occasions and cost-effective photo booth props for both professional photo booths and random home photo shoots.  At Rhode Island Novelty you can find rainbow wigs, fancy gloves, wizard hats and plenty of other costume accessories to enhance your prop supply.

Sherman Specialty Company.  Don’t limit your photo booth props to handheld signs; visit Sherman Specialty Company to find Presidential masks, frames, inflatables, tutus, and handcuffs. Of course, the site also offers a selection of signs and the more typical sunglasses and hats but if you’re looking to add some interesting items to your prop supply closet, start here for some creative ideas.

Sun-Staches.  The original Sun-Staches, as seen on Shark Tank, are available at sunstaches.com for individual purchase in characters ranging from Super Heroes to politicians to Holiday themed, many including the popular hanging mustache or goofy grin. Most frames are $12.99 so be sure to purchase exactly what you need for your next event and watch the fun unfold.

Two Faced Props.  This unique company offers real photo cut-outs of different, and silly, mouths, to change the entire look of the poser’s face. Each prop is two-faced (get it?) and printed on 5mm thick PVC. The site offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product.

Whisker Works.  Whisker Works specializes in handheld props ranging from mustaches and bow-ties to vintage and retro signs. Bundles including a wide array of glasses, mustaches, lips, mouths, and bow-ties are a great jump start for a new photo booth business or addition to a customized prop supply for an event. Single signs and props start at $7.99, bundles start at $30.00.

Yo Props. If you’re looking for prop bundles for a specific event or a general bundle that will fit with a variety of events, Yo Props may be the place to start. Bundles vary from Wedding to Corporate and encompass everything in between; prices range from $25-$70 for bundles but single sign props can be purchased for as little as $9.00. The site also offers accessories such as stick prop and sign holders that will help organize your props and help them last through a few more events.

Then there are the big boys, Amazon and Etsy who sell numerous photo booth props.  Here are a few of my favorite props on Amazon: 

Mullets are a huge hit with clients:
mullets

The Horse Head is a classic:

horsehead

These signs have held up well for me:
signs

These boxing gloves have been really popular:
boxing gloves

Prop Table, Organization and Display

“Prop organization” is viewed by many boothers as an oxy-moron, as the prop table usually looks nice for about 30 seconds.  Once the event starts, attendees are generally careless about returning props to the table.  There are a few ways to maintain a prop table and have it look decent throughout the event.  Think outside the box and consider utilizing hat racks, sunglasses racks, and shoe spinners, and file organizers to display your props at events. Use small jars to keep handheld signs upright and visible to event attendees. In addition to keeping your props organized, a well-designed prop display will keep your photo booth area looking attractive and neat, which will in turn encourage event attendees to remember and book you for future events.  For more ideas and examples of great prop organization, (join if you haven’t already) and visit the Facebook group, the Photo Booth Network and search for prop organization.  

For prop table covers, I recommend going with the Spandex cover of your choice.  These covers completely hide the entire table, including the legs and they look incredibly professional.  This cover is a great deal on Amazon and comes in a variety of colors:

table cover

 

Prop Cleaning and Lice

A major concern for photo booth owners is keeping props clean and free of lice. You do not want the word-of-mouth marketing surrounding your business to include the phrase “I may have gotten lice in _____’s photo booth.”  Some photo booth owners avoid any props that have any fabric, and just stick with plastic and rubber items, which are easily cleaned.  These props can be wiped down with disinfectant wipes or soap and water in between events.  Photo booth owners who do use fabric props clean them by steam, disinfecting spray, a gentle wash and even freezing them to kill off any hitchhikers.  Whichever method you find that works for you, be sure to maintain your system so your props are always taken care of.

Boas

For a long time, boas were a go-to prop for photo booths but they have since lost favor with many owners and event space managers.  Most boas shed their feathers and by the end of an event it looks like there was a cock-fight inside your booth. 

Photo booth owners agree that if you just love boas, or the client insists on boas as a prop, use Marabou Boas.  You can order them from the following vendors:

Feathermart

Feather Place

Some photo booth owners use Lei’s or Christmas garland (when seasonally appropriate) as an alternative to boas. 

The most important thing to remember when preparing and caring for your photo booth props is to purchase carefully and take care of what you have. Keep a record of the props you have on hand so you don’t duplicate purchases when looking ahead to a specific event. Devise a storage plan that will help items retain their shape and label everything so you can find things quickly and easily. Be creative when arranging your props at events; utilize household objects you can purchase cheaply at department stores that will keep your props safe and attractive to event attendees.

And remember if someone steals your props:

propmeme

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • John March 3, 2017, 2:07 pm

    Thank you for such an informative guide.

    • Chris March 7, 2017, 6:16 am

      You’re welcome John, glad you found it to be a resource.

  • Richard Anderson March 3, 2017, 4:18 pm

    Thank you very much for this information. It was very informative, and well thought out.

    • Chris March 7, 2017, 6:16 am

      Thanks Richard, appreciate the feedback.

  • Leah Shields August 1, 2017, 11:48 pm

    i appreciate all of the information. I would like to know if you have any information on hat racks or ways to organize, store, and travel with props etc. thanks so much

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