Photo by Jenna Sefkow

For photographers, summer means one thing: photos! Bare feet, swimsuits, water and sunlight… It’s like photo magic. We love seeing colorful photo props, clever uses of light and the overall creative high that comes with relaxed routines and longer days.

If you need a creative push, or just want a fun little pop of color for your next photo sesh, check out these summer photo props. We’re pretty sure you’ll find something on this list you can’t live without. Because, who doesn’t need a giant unicorn lawn sprinkler or an inflatable donut?

Poolside Accessories

Colorful summer photo props for photographers

Flamingo Hooded Beach Towel

Wrap your little one in this totally adorable flamingo towel for a whimsical after-pool photo. We love that it’s lightweight and 100 percent cotton. Plus, it’s available in mercat and shark if flamingo isn’t your thing. Hot tip: We pretty much love everything from Target’s colorful Sun Squad line.

$13

Ginormous Rainbow Tunnel Sprinkler

Do you need a ginormous rainbow tunnel sprinkler for your lawn? Yes, yes you do. Just imagine the endless hours of fun (and, hello, photos) with your kiddos. Plus, wouldn’t this make the cutest mini session photo prop?!

$99.99

Bling2O Kids’ Be Happy Swim Goggle

Add a pop of color to your underwater photos with these sunshine yellow goggles (also available in pink). We could definitely see these paired with a colorful swimsuit and snorkel for the beach or pool. Swim Outlet has tons of other super cute goggles if sporty or solid colors are more your style.

$22.95

Colorful summer photo props for photographers

The Emily & Meritt Cabana Stripe Beach Towel

Good vibes all the way! This cool beach towel would look great poolside or thrown over a beach chair for your styled photo sessions. Pair with this black and white tote from Pottery Barn Teen for a beachy vintage look.

$29

Colorful summer photo props for photographers

Fanny Pack Cooler Grapefruit

OK, so maybe this fanny pack is more of a photographer’s summer necessity than a summer photo prop, but still, we can’t think of a reason not to buy it. Pack post-photo session snacks for your kiddos or clients in the insulated pouch and you’ll still look cute when you get in the frame. It’s also great for theme parks, hikes and pool parties!

$6

Pool Floats

colorful summer photo props - pool float

Tropical Palm Leaf Pool Float

Nothing like a palm leaf to give you that summer vibe! Pair this tropical palm leaf pool float by Sun Squad with your favorite pink or coral swimsuit for a pop of color in your pool photos. We’re pretty sure you can think of a photo-related reason to run to Target to pick up this awesome summer photo prop.

$30

colorful summer photo props - donut pool float

SplashNmore Inflatable Donut Float

This four-foot wide giant donut pool float might not be good enough to eat, but it’s sure cute enough to photograph! Click tip: Look for a solid-colored swimsuit in a contrasting or complementary color for a polished look. We love this one from Old Navy.

$11.95

GIANT PINK FLAMINGO POOL FLOAT

Not only will this giant pink flamingo float by Bigmouth, Inc. give your photos a pop of color, it’s sure to make any photo subject smile! We could totally see this styled with a pair of adorable sunglasses and painted toenails. Bonus: If this 4-foot option is too overwhelming for your little one, it also comes in a ‘Lil Float version for ages 1-3.

$24.99

Intex Unicorn Inflatable

Unicorns are everywhere, including in your pool. We think this Intex unicorn float makes the perfect summer photo prop for those magical summer afternoons with shimmery golden light. Pair with bare feet, a swimsuit and your favorite body of water for whimsical fun.

$15.61

colorful summer photo props - yellow pool float

Sun’s Out Fun’s Out Pool Float

This bright yellow pool float from Target is on our list of must-have summer photo props because it’s just fun. Who doesn’t love quotes AND color? We can see this styled with a glass of lemonade and a cute yellow bikini for your next pool session. Bonus points for yellow toenails too!

$20

Swimsuits

Pretty Bikini Set from Mini Boden

Pretty Bikini Set

We’re loving Boden’s Pretty Bikini Set in Ivory/Neon Grapefruit Orange for it’s adorable design that shows just enough cute little belly. Bonus: Orange and teal are complementary colors, making this the perfect pop of color in the pool or ocean.

$38

Pineapple swim trunks for boys from Old Navy

Pineapple Printed Swim Trunks

I mean, why not go for it? Give your summer photos a tropical vibe with these pineapple printed swim trunks from Old Navy. Bonus: These photogenic swim trunks fit right in with the colors of the water and sky for those chill, monochromatic photos.

$19.99

Rainbow swimsuit summer photo props

Rainbow Racerback Swim One-Piece

We can just picture this Rainbow Racerback Swimsuit from Gap in all of your gorgeous underwater photos this summer. Or, pair it with a super fun summer photo prop, like a flamingo pool float.

$29.95

Poolside Shorts

Give us all the colors! Because, isn’t that what summer is? We adore these Poolside Shorts in Sea Breeze Blue/Duke Blue from Mini Boden to give your pool or beach photos a great big splash of color. Plus, check out the other patterns available in this style, like Duke Blue Pineapple Palm. So cute.

$38

Sunblock Rash Guard

When you wanna take a cute photo but sun protection matters, look for a patterned rash guard, like this one from Hanna Andersson. Pair it with the matching swim skirt and some white sunglasses and get yourself to the lake!

$38

Boys’ Greenlines® Bonfire board short

How cute are these emerald green swim trunks from J.Crew? We think they’d look pretty great in your photos with that giant watermelon floatie we posted above! Plus, they’re made from 100% recycled polyester. Environmentally friendly and fashionable? We’ll take it!

$55

Maaji Girls’ Ruffle One-Piece Swimsuit

If a mixed-pattern tropical vibe is more your style, we think you’ll love this cute one-piece from Garnett Hill. Imagine photos under a palm tree or chilling in a hammock at the beach… we can practically feel the ocean breeze.

$74

Summer photo props under $5

bubbles as photo props

Play Day Bubble Maker Stick

When your clients or kiddos need a break from the waves, hand them some bubbles to play with. There’s a reason you never see a frowning kid and bubbles in the same photo! We love these colorful bubble maker sticks from Walmart.

$3.97 for 6

sparklers

Gold Sparklers

What’s more fun that sparkler photos?! Pick up a few packs (like these from Walmart) and head outside at dusk to have fun with macro, smoke trails, long exposures or just photographing your kids being creative. Just don’t forget to be safe!

$2

sand bucket photo prop

Summer Sand Bucket with Shovel

Pick up a few colorful sand buckets and shovels, like these $1 sets from Party City, for your next beach photo session. Not only will the kids have a great time building sandcastles, but you’ll add a great pop of color to your photos! Bonus: These will look cute in your backyard sandbox as well.

$1

beach ball photo prop

12-Inch Classic Inflatable Beach Ball

There’s nothing that screams “pool party” louder than a beach ball! We’re loving the look or this classic model from Walmart. Try pairing it with solid-colored swimsuits in coordinating colors for a great colorful summer photo.

$4.99

American Flag food photography prop

Royal American Flag Picks

Use these patriotic American Flag food picks to turn your regular summer BBQ photos into fun 4th of July picnic photos. Plus, you can use them for your styled food photos as well. Pair with a wooden picnic table and your favorite red, white and blue accessories.

$2.23 for 100

Colorful photo props - popsicles!

Polar Freeze Pops

Need an easy way to get your kids or clients to smile for photos? Here you go! Freezer pops (like these from Target) are happy food and they make for a super fun pop of color in your photos. Pro tip: Make sure you’re OK with messy popsicle stains before you attempt this.

$4.99 for 100

More fun summer photo props:

  • Glass jars (think fireflies, terrariums and garden adventures)
  • Flip flops
  • Baskets (to collect flowers or veggies)
  • Blankets and quilts (hello, forts, capes and picnics!)
  • Hats
  • Sprinklers and/or hoses
  • Books
  • Sunglasses
  • Slip-n-slides and kiddie pools
  • Camping gear and tents
  • Sticks, mud, dirt, sand, leaves and all things nature
  • Canvas shoes
  • Rain boots
  • Bubble machines
  • Mermaid tails

You might also like: 52 Ideas for outrageously fun summertime photo sessions

Summer photo props, a unicorn sprinkler
Photo by Monica Carlson

5 Photographer must-have tools for summer:

Leave us your faves in the comments, or come share a photo on our Facebook page! We’d love to see your summer photo props and inspirational photos!