Sometimes, one little thing – a subtle prop – can make all the difference in your shot. You might be technically brilliant at photos, but if you want to be creative and really let your photos tell a story, it takes more than just composition, posing and lighting to make it work. The addition of a simple prop can make all the difference. However, you don’t want the prop to overshadow the pic, nor do you want it to be cheesy.
Gina and Valerie discuss when you might use props, where you can get them, discuss essential props you should have in your kit and how you can use them cleverly and creatively.
I guess this is my first street portrait and I kinda like it. This guy came up and crashed our shoot in town yesterday and wanted his photo taken.
I was kinda scared and intimidated, he got right up close to my model who looked quite uncomfortable as well. I got us out of there as quickly as I could without aggravating this guy – I got the impression he was drunk or on something.
How do you guys deal with people that do that?
Prop it like it’s hot: how to work with props
What is a prop and why do photographers use them?
Props are visual clues that help photographers tell a story or sell an idea or mood.
Kind of like shorthand with pictures.
Ways props can be used:
They can be used creatively for impact or to add a twist or the unexpected to an image.
- celebrity portraits
- dramatic portraits
- is a hint about the story behind the person
Realistically to set the tone and sell the image
Where to find props
- Garage sales
- Thrift shops
- Hire props
- Start a photographers prop exchange
- Hire a stylist
- Chair manufacturers
- Ex display home
Portrait prop essentials
- Glasses, hats and bags are great for lifestyle
- Chairs and stools
- Fairy lights
- Retro items
Classic items like
- white t-shirts
- classic blazer
- classic boots
- classic leather jacket
Product and food essentials
- Low plates
- Small plates look better than large plates
- Classic white table cloth linen
- Few glasses
- Low bowls
Vintage and new stuff
It’s very difficult to spot a fake in a photo so use fake bling, bags and costume jewellery
Props to avoid?
Everything is cliche, find ways to make it your own
Less is more
Be subtle, try not to oversell the story.