I am not a prop photographer; I use effects. There’s a big technical difference, but for you it really boils down to having your story enhanced by an object within the image or having it enhanced by an element of the image. That said, you commission me to make art that features you. Some clients like to take my artistic recommendations, while others like more of a hand in calling the shots (pun intended). So, I’ve put together some pointers for those of you who want to bring props to the session!
Choosing the Right Props for Your Photo Session
Although I tend to focus on showing relationships between people or a relationship to an environment, props have their place. Props can add interest, depth and an extra flair to your pictures. Get your children to hold coordinating flowers for a spring or summer shoot. Love sports? Then use baseball bats in your next family photo to bring out your passion. Here are a few tips for ways to incorporate props in your next photo session.
- Avoid trends. While you might have recently seen a few photos that incorporate a specific prop, try not to use something that will not look really dated in 20 years’ time. Classic is definitely better and there are many fun options to choose from.
- Be realistic. It’s easy to go wild when thinking of a theme for your photo session. You should decide on one that you can actually find props for. For example, if you want to use seasonal props, try and source them in that season as they’ll be easier to find and before you decide to remake your favorite movie scene, think twice about whether you’ll be able to find suitable outfits for everyone in the photo.
- Size matters. There are some larger props that work really well in photo sessions such as using your grandpa’s farm tractor as a background piece. However, there are some larger props that can take away from the beauty of the photograph altogether. Make sure that your prop enhances the photo and doesn’t detract from it.
- Make it meaningful. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or if you have a musical instrument that you treasure, try and incorporate it into your photos. This way your pictures will have more meaning to you and your family.
- Use what you have. Make the current season work to your advantage by using what’s available. Leaves in the fall make for amazing props in photos and don’t cost a thing.
Remember, using props can be the perfect addition to your photos but make sure that they don’t become the main focus.