Props…How Things Can Add Interest to Portraits

Thursday Thoughts: Using props in pictures!

I don’t always love using props in portraits. Sometimes, and for some people, it doesn’t fit, and that’s fine. Like everything else I believe about great photography, who I am photographing determines whether or not props will debut in images.

Using props isn’t like it used to be back in the day of canned, studio portraits where Johnny held his trumpet stiffly in front of him. Creatively used, props can communicate something about who the subjects are, what they love, and what makes them “them.”

There’s no absolute right or wrong with it comes to using props…just like there’s no absolute right or wrong when choosing perfect locations. The purpose of both is to enhance the images by revealing something unique about the subject. Props are all about people!

Animals, cars, instruments, books, cell phones, shot guns, sports equipment, and even hot dogs can show you a little something about who someone is. What’s your take on props? What’s the most unusual prop that you’ve ever seen in an image?

Justin and his car.
And…he plays sax.
Ginger (the dog) has made an appearance in four different senior portrait sessions.
This senior refurbished his grandfather’s gun and now uses it to hunt.
Favorite books her grandmother read to her when she was younger.
Lacrosse anyone?
Comic book meets classic novel. This is definitely “them.”
Romantic cooking for two. Crazy how the veggies compliment the colors this couple wore. =)
Books, picnic basket, phonograph, and a vintage quilt compliment this couple beautifully.
The modern family who texts, always knows what’s going on.
This family is an amazing band, The Hunts–an Indie, folk, rock sound with great original music. Check them out on FB!
Hot dogs, french fries, and ice cream. Can you say, “these kids had fun on this photo shoot!”

The props from this 2009 family, self-portrait show you a lot of things about our family. We love the Phillies, photography, and reading, and we spend lots of time running; Irish dancing; playing soccer, basketball, and violin and driving in our van! If you get an out-of-breath, on-the-go, yet happy, feel from this image, then our choice of props worked!

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