One common way to up your photography game is to shoot with different props placed in front of the lens or placed onto your subject. Light deflection is a common way to take a boring photograph and turn it into some very unique and captures a different perspective. Each of the items discussed all came under the price tag of $15 (AUD) so roughly $10 (USD) and I highly recommend you invest in these to create your own unique style. Each of these items do not have one specific use, they can be used in many different forms, allowing you to expand your creativity!
Fairy string lights are a very common prop that is used alot in low light photography, mainly for portraits to light up the subjects face and create some killer bokeh. One common instagram user is Brandon Woelfel, who creates incredible portraits that makes full use of these lights. Not only this, these LED lights are easy to carry, extremely cheap and reflect off any smooth surface at night. Chuck your portraits into lightroom or photoshop and edit them to create some very creative shots. Let your subject hold the lights or wear the lights, it’s completely up to you and make sure you buy tonnes of AA batteries. Not only this, you can place the LED lights into a mason jar and place the jar wherever you seem fight. This is mostly used in the golden hour of the sunset at the beach. Place the mason jar with the lights on in the water and capture the waves crashing into the jar to create some awesome effects. Not only this, you can place this jar wherever you want to form a light source. One other use of these lights is to create bokeh for your photos, throw them somewhere in your background and suddenly you will create some really nice bokeh to add to your photo. These lights can be bought in copper or white (yellow or white) and come in a range of different lengths. I bought my 2m one from Ebay for $3.99 (aud) and I absolutely love using them.
These prisms are the ones used in your physics class, they are incredible little things that can split light, reflect light from different angles and and definitely helps create some whacky photos. They can reflect the light from different angles onto the lens and can also reflect small rainbows onto the lens depending on the light source. The light is dispersed when it travels through the medium(which is the glass prism) and is refracted, meaning that the light comes out of the medium at a different angle compared to the original. You can use these light prisms at anytime of the day, however at night the light produces the best results as it brings in the many different lights from your surroundings.
A very common prop that is used in photography is a crystal ball, a smooth round ball of glass. These balls are very cheap to purchase online from Amazon, Ebay or even your retail home decor store. What they essentially do is refract the incoming light and the outputted light is inverted, creating a very unique flipped look. The images are upside down, meaning you can either flip the image in post to create an awesome effect or leave it the way it is, both work extremely well. These are normally used for landscape photography, it is better to use a telephoto or macro lens here to ensure that you can focus on the ball. However in saying that, prime lenses do also work. Ensure to choose a correct aperture for the lens to ensure the ball is sharp and in focus as well as producing some very nice blurry and bokehlicious backgrounds. You can place the ball wherever you like. If you want, you can also use the crystal ball to cover the edge of your lens to create a prism like effect where it shoots rainbow lights onto your lens to create another cool perspective on your subject.
CD or DVD
Use any old CD or DVD that is laying around and find a light source to reflect these rainbow colourful lights onto your subject. I’m sure when you were younger you used to point the reflection at your friends whilst swapping out DVDs. Now you can reflect the light onto your subject or even onto your lens to create some cool effects. Having the light reflect onto your subject gives then a rainbow face, which is definitely a unique look in portrait photography. This would be the cheapest item on the list as I’m sure you would have plenty of discs lying around the house.