Elevate Your Photography by Using Props

Props can make a photo pop, or they can distract viewers’ eyes from the person you’re photographing. Some photographers and clients love having them, while others want nothing to do with them. Should you use them in your photography business? That depends on where you are and what kind of photos you take. If you specialize in taking golden anniversary photos, props may not be necessary. If you do portraits, they would be a distraction. If you’re a children’s photographer, then props can help your shoot go smoothly and create those extra-cute photos the parents want. When you book the shoot, you might ask your clients whether they would like to use props. It may not have occurred to them, and asking ahead will give them time to think about it. It will also help them figure out what kinds of photographs they’re hoping to get out of the session. When photographing kids and props, ask parents to bring items that are meaningful to them. For example, a former rodeo queen might want her baby’s picture taken on her saddle, or a high school senior who played football might want his photo taken with his helmet and football. Some photographers prefer to use their own stash of props. The types of photos you take will tell you which props you might want to keep on hand. Here are a few examples: • Banners, helmets, pompoms, or other items from your local schools. You can collect these gradually over time, and here’s how: if you regularly do senior pictures, find out which activities or sports the subject was active in and find a small prop that represents it for your collection. These don’t have to be big…. a large backdrop of the school colors works well too. Don’t be afraid to ask the schools for prop ideas or for the props themselves. They replace uniforms, instruments, and sports equipment fairly regularly, and they might be happy to give or sell you the old ones. • Toys, noisemakers, and stuffed animals to keep kids’ attention and distract them when they tire during shoots. • Replica wedding cakes, collapsible arches, and bride and groom champagne glasses for engaged couples. • Large ribbons and oversized scissors for business owners to use for grand opening photos. • Fluffy pink and blue blankets for baby pictures. Or whatever design says “cute baby” to your clients. Also, parents can sit their babies up for the pictures, so make sure the blankets are large enough to cover up mom or dad’s arms. Nature gives us some beautiful props for pictures. Think unusual rock formations, fields of flowers, and groves of trees. Try some photos in a yard against a wooden fence or in front of an old, weathered barn. Props are everywhere, and if you choose to use them, you’ll be amazed at how interesting your pics will be… and your clients will love your artistic creativity. Anything can be used as a prop if it makes sense for the photo. Don’t hold back; your imagination is your only limit!


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