Props aren’t just for actors: 4 Tips for effective prop use in photo shoots

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A child’s favorite toy can make a great prop in photos.

Did you ever act in a play in high school, even as an extra? The play had props that helped the actors tell the story. Otherwise, they would have been miming most of the plot. Not as effective, right?

The same can be true for props in photo shoots. Props can help tell the story of our memories in the photographs. The key to having props in photo shoots is choosing the right props and using them the right way.

We’re blessed here in Northwest Arkansas to have many outdoor backdrops and scenes that act as “props” to help tell the story but often clients want to bring their own props to further tell their visual story.

Tips for using props in a photo shoot

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Something simple like a blanket helps tell a story but also keeps your child the “star” of the post.

Props should be subtle and timeless

The person or people should always be the “star” of the photo shoot. Any props should add to the story and be both subtle and easy to understand the point of them being in the photo. For example, a child who plays violin could have the instrument with him or her in the photo.

Using props to tell a story

The prop should add to the story. For example, Christmas lights for a Christmas photo or an Easter basket for an Easter photo.  A photograph of a child in a Halloween costume doesn’t need to be in front of a Halloween scene, the costume can tell the story for you.

Props can be used to complete a theme

_MG_7232Sometimes a photo has a distinct theme (like a candy shoppe, for example). Props can be used to cement the theme in people’s minds and bring it to life.

Don’t forget, your clothes are props too! Wearing country attire in an urban location would not work as well as in a nature location. Consider the clothes and props combination—do they clash or “go?”  Like the violin example, you would not wear a tee shirt and shorts while playing a violin in a photo.

Examples of props that help tell a story

_MG_6147A prop that is a family treasure like a grandma’s quilt can be used subtly in the photo and have a timeless sentimental value. The same can be said for your child’s favorite toy which is a great way to document your child’s personality each year by incorporating their most recent obsessions.  Balloons are also fun props to celebrate a birthday in a photo.

What props have you used in your photos? Is it time to get a new image for you? Call me at Linda Richards Photography to schedule an appointment today.