Vintage Glamour: Incorporating 1920s Props in Modern Photo Shoots

Introduction to an Era of Opulence

Oh, the 1920s! A time when jazz was on the rise, flappers danced the Charleston, and the world was introduced to the Great Gatsby. This bygone era of elegance and extravagance can be captured in modern photo shoots with the right vintage props. With a little imagination and ingenuity, we can resurrect the roaring twenties and infuse its glamour into our modern world. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how we can incorporate the essence of the 1920s into contemporary photography.

Inspiration from History

Before we jump into the world of props and backdrops, let's set the stage for our journey into the past. The 1920s were a time of social and political change, marked by the end of World War I and the beginning of Prohibition. As a result, the decade was characterized by a sense of freedom, rebellion, and optimism. This spirit of liberation and defiance spilled over into fashion, art, and design, giving rise to a style that embodied the essence of the twenties – a style that can still inspire us today.

Creating the Ambience: Backdrops and Settings

To recreate the atmosphere of the 1920s, we need to evoke the essence of the era through our choice of backdrops. Think opulent ballrooms, luxurious mansions, and smoky speakeasies. These settings can be brought to life in various ways:
  • If you have access to a location that is reminiscent of the twenties, by all means, use it! A historic hotel or a renovated ballroom could be the perfect setting for your vintage shoot.
  • If you don't have access to such a location, don't fret! You can still recreate the ambiance of the era through clever use of backdrops. Look for wallpaper or fabric prints that capture the art deco style of the times. Geometric patterns, bold colors, and metallic accents were all the rage in the 1920s.
  • Another option is to use digital backdrops during post-production. This allows you the freedom to change the setting in the editing process without having to physically move your photo shoot.

It's All in the Details: 1920s Props for Your Photo Shoot

Now that the stage is set, it's time to add the finishing touches to your vintage photo shoot with props that scream 1920s. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Feather boas and long pearl necklaces – These accessories were a mainstay of flapper fashion, and they can instantly transport your model back in time.
  • Art deco furniture – Geometric shapes and bold designs were popular in the 1920s. Incorporate an art deco chair or table into your shoot to give your setting an authentic feel.
  • Vintage suitcases – In the 1920s, travel was becoming more accessible to the masses. Including a vintage suitcase in your shoot can add a touch of wanderlust to your images.
  • Old gramophones and records – Music was a huge part of the 1920s, and a gramophone or stack of records can help set the mood.
  • Cigarette holders and vintage alcohol bottles – Although we don't want to glorify smoking or drinking, these props were a part of the rebellious spirit of the era and can add an air of sophistication to your images.

Wardrobe: Dressing the Part

Of course, no 1920s-inspired shoot would be complete without the right wardrobe. Whether you're photographing a flapper or a dapper gentleman, the clothing is crucial to selling the illusion of the era. Here are some key wardrobe elements:
  • Flapper dresses – Look for fringed or beaded dresses that embody the spirit of the flapper. These dresses should be short, allowing for freedom of movement and dancing.
  • Men's suits – Opt for suits with sharp lines and tailored fits. Pinstripes, vests, and suspenders can add a touch of 1920s flair.
  • Headpieces – Flapper headbands with feathers or jewels can make a statement and complete the look. For men, consider a fedora or flat cap.
  • Footwear – T-strap or Mary Jane-style shoes for women and polished dress shoes for men will tie the ensemble together.

Lighting the Scene

Finally, let's not forget the importance of lighting in creating that 1920s atmosphere. Soft, moody lighting can evoke the feeling of dimly lit speakeasies and sultry jazz clubs. Experiment with different lighting setups and camera angles to capture the essence of the era.


By incorporating 1920s props, backdrops, wardrobe, and lighting, you can transport your models and your audience to a time of elegance and rebellion. The roaring twenties may be long gone, but their spirit can live on in your photography. So, go on and create some timeless, vintage-inspired images that would make Jay Gatsby proud!