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Choosing the Right Props for Your Photo Session

August 22, 2019

Let’s talk about props.  My view is that props are like pepper.  You just need a little bit.  Simple props can add interest, personality and an extra flair to your pictures.   Too many props can be distracting, taking the focus of the image away from your child.  I believe your child should always be the star of the image.

So, to ensure success, here are a few tips.  And, of course, we’ll discuss all of these options at your pre-session consultation.

Make it meaningful. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or if you have a musical instrument that you treasure, let’s incorporate it into your photos. Love sports?  Let’s use them. This way your pictures will have more meaning to you and your family.

Props with purpose.  With little ones, I often use simple props to keep their hands occupied.  I also recommend photographing little ones with the same props over time, that way you get a sense of how much they’re growing.  The plush teddy is as big as they are at birth.  It sits beside them at six months, and by a year, they’re dragging it behind them.

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 a few years. I can guide you as to what’s classic, and what’s trending in photographic styling. 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 the classic car you’ve rebuilt. 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. I’m here to help weigh in any ideas that you have.

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.

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Julie is an award winning photographer.  She is located near downtown Palatine. We photograph in areas of Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Barrington, Inverness, Deer Park, and Schaumburg.

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