What can quickly bring expressionless, boring pictures to life? Photography props are an easy answer. Not only do props heighten your creativity in your photography, but they also serve as an invitation to respond to the viewer. They help to evoke emotions, endear, disturb, or outrage. They may add an air of mystery or intrigue. They may convey information.
Props give your viewer perspective as her eyes travel across your photograph. They provide the viewer space to find a story. Props can accessorize and add context to a situation. Accessories can call attention to the subject. They can shift focus away from undesirable features on portfolio shots. Props with good lighting and composition can be used to make a cohesive statement in your self portrait ideas.
While you can’t lug your studio with you as you move around for work, you can certainly pack a few props alongside your photography gear. In what follows, we list out the most necessary photography props that help you to create a compelling story.
1. Splash Color on your Backdrop:
If you do a lot of photography indoors, then owning colored paper for backgrounds is a must-have in your photography kit. Color papers are a cheap and effective way to incorporate contrast and distinguish your subject.
Humans are biologically wired to attention to vivid colors. Bright colors convey energy. Softer pastels show neutrality and can help you concentrate on the foreground. Use pure white if you wish to focus on darker objects or clothes. Black backgrounds, on the other hand, may call for the use of light to illuminate the subject.
To save costs on the number of colors you keep, you can improvise by using walls inside buildings, tabletops, and other surfaces. Quite often, home interiors provide an excellent backdrop.
2. Newborn Photography Props:
Blankets, wraps, baby hampers, scarves, hair bows, stuffed toys, and pillows make for excellent baby photo props. Ensure that your chosen fabric is sufficiently soft. The idea is to make the baby as safe and comfortable as possible.
If the baby is not asleep, you might want to give it something to play with. Be careful with the amount of lighting you use. Newborns are sensitive to brightness. Most photographers use natural light for newborn photography. However, you can also use off-camera flashes, and filters to diffuse incandescent lighting. Keep the baby area sanitized and free from cables and wires.
Don’t shy away from using home items such as guitars, motorcycles, or bathtubs as grungy backdrops. Because memories are fuzzy at the baby’s age, unusual settings will make for great memories later.
3. Recording Maternity:
Maternity photography is in demand all through the year. Your goal should ideally be to capture expressions of love and beauty in great detail. However, the genre demands a somewhat different approach. It has become more acceptable for women to celebrate their bodies rather than shy away from biological changes. The latter months of pregnancy create the maximum visual effect for this type of photography.
If there are other children in the family, include them in the photoshoot. Include the spouse and grandparents to create a family-tree-like effect. Use blackboards with clever thought balloons, ages or names to piece together the family history.
Silk sheets make excellent effect insertions because of their ability to shift shape and toss. You can have the husband hold the layer behind the would-be mother. The sheet itself should be placed strategically to highlight the baby bump. Alternatively, you can have the mother wrap the cloth around herself and let a fan billow out this dress behind her.
Infant sized shoes, caps or clothes held by either or both expecting parents also make for memorable pregnancy photographs. You can also create a breathtaking baby shower concept by spreading petals on the mother lying on a wispy bed of foam.
You can also tie a ribbon above the belly to highlight the bump. Use baby toys and pregnancy books to set the context. Vary lighting and mood by adding silhouettes and shadows.
4. Create a Mouthwatering Visual Feast:
If you wish to photograph food for a living, then hoard up on proper crockery. Coffee mugs, wine glasses, wooden platters and chopping boards, and white china dishes are standard possessions of the food photography professional.
You would also need wooden boards, marble slabs, parchment paper, napkins, and bowls. Try to use neutral colors if you do not wish to take attention away from the food. Alternatively, you may want to add contrasting color if the food cooked is purely white or any other softer hue.
What you want is to direct your viewer’s attention to the color and texture of food. Even if all you have are wafers and cookies, you can use your imagination to make your props work for you.
Stack up the pieces to form a house-of-cards-like tower. Use unusual angles. Place a glass of milk behind the dish, and you can quickly create magic with your camera. In the photo above, the wrapping paper is a functional food photography prop. It shows that the person about to eat these cookies is about to travel.
If you merely dabble in this kind of photography, then we recommend that you only keep wooden boards, stone slabs, and soft-toned mugs.
5. Flaunt your Location:
Travel photography has become cliche because of the overload from social media and blog posts. Be extra careful when packing travel photography props because most have already been overused. Items such as travel bags and tinted glasses make for very standard fare.
To stand out, you need to be original and creative. At the same time, your photography elements should come together to tell a story. Postcards, currency, hats, caps, scarves, maps, guidebooks, and clothing tell your viewer about the places you’re visiting.
Play with angles, lighting, weather, events, backdrops, and use people to create interesting scenes. Capture a protest, a marathon, a festival or a decay in the walls of a monument using a person as the counterbalancing element. Rent a motorcycle or cab and harmonize within your visuals. Show scuba gear when visiting a beach.
Whether you’re wearing sandals or hiking shoes tells your viewers what type of terrain you’ve encountered. Exotic food, drinks, and flowers can be used imaginatively. Rack your brains to find that one unique perspective most visitors would have missed. If you come up with a blank, don’t worry! Use a new viewing angle. Photograph reflections of monuments. Shoot your pictures on a rainy day. Use people as props. The idea is not to limit yourself within rules.
6. Recording Personalities:
Portrait Photography is an opportunity to commit a personality to memory. Portrait photographers today, find themselves on hand to mark special occasions. Posing is an essential part of your subject’s portrait. Hence, your must-have kit should include at least one chair or stool as an item of furniture.
The goal is to make the model feel relaxed and spontaneous. Props are required not only to show perspective but also to get the model to feel at ease. Hence, glasses, necklaces, clay, or a piece of clothing are excellent accessories to own.
You might want to capture a specific shade of character. Photography people in their work environments. Front shots are not necessarily the best for portrait photograph effects unless they’re meant to be used for business.
Portrait photography props to hoard include numbers, hats, free size T-shirts with witty messages, and mirrors. You can also find items on the location that signify the occupation of the subject. Use books, personal computers, windows, boards, lobbies, and walls to create ‘concept’ image components.
7. Capturing Romance and Intimacy:
Weddings are full of imagery and there exists an ample amount of props at the venue itself. There is also no dearth of beautiful vistas if the venue has been chosen carefully.
You can make weddings and anniversaries unforgettable by using the right wedding photography props such as smoke bombs. Signs and banners announcing the coupling are one of the most apparent addenda to wedding shoots. Flowers and bouquets are another.
You can also use fancy lanterns in dark backgrounds to illuminate the couple’s portrait. Lights allow the focus to fall on the intimacy and chemistry the partners enjoy. Your goal should be to capture candid moments using a mix of portrait and concept photography.
Weddings present an excellent opportunity to build referral networks through your work. You can showcase beautiful portfolio concepts and display range in technique as you develop your market. Speak to and build references with guests at the wedding.
Alternatively, you can focus on embellishing your online presence with a beautiful portfolio website that showcases your best work. Pixpa helps you build shareable client galleries with password access. You may want to proof the photos that you share at packaged prices. You can then increase revenue by selling the rest on a per-item basis.
8. Inspired by Nature:
Nature photographers have a wide choice of flora and fauna that act as natural adornments. We recommend using a small aperture to maximize depth of field. You can build contrast by capturing unique viewpoints such as the angle obtained from inside a hollow log, a cave, or a precipice.
You can carry camping tents and set them up in the middle of a field. Capture a brilliant starry canopy against the foreground of a lit camping site.
You can use dried acorn beads or pinecones to construct a context. You may also employ artificial autumn leaves to mimic a change in season.
9. Into the Wild:
Wildlife photographers have plenty of opportunities to capture some spectacular photographic effects. The most colorful animals can be photographed on paid tours across the world. Technology has made it simpler to catch animals in all their natural splendor. Use hidden cameras or telescopic zoom lens to capture animals at their most candid.
Logs, ropes, and wooden chairs make for great wildlife photography props because of their ability to blend in with the landscape. However, if you are the more adventurous type, you can also use more substantial furniture, such as a table, glasses, or cushions, to peacefully capture an animal’s image, well out of its natural habitat.
Because safety is vital for photographers in the wild, we recommend that beginner photographers never wander far from a mobile vehicle.
10. Enhancing Fashion Photoshoots:
The goals of fashion photography include making clothes look good or making the model look good. The second is quite akin to portrait photography, where an element of counterbalance is highly valued.
If you’re aiming to shoot for an apparel seller, however, it is crucial to capture the brand itself. Most clothing businesses want their products to appeal to aspirational people. Hence, you need to choose details that contribute to an ‘upwardly mobile feel.’
Use chairs, umbrellas, sunglasses, scarves, jewelry, and other souvenirs to put emphasis and balance into the scene. Speak with the designer to find out what her vision is.
You may also want to use expensive watches, fancy shoes, shopping bags, or wallets to incorporate a sense of luxury.
11. Holding Childhood Memories:
Children are best photographed raw and at their most candid. Children may sometimes be easy to manipulate into getting into position. At other times, their shyness may act as a barrier. Kid photography props such as clay, soft toys, legos, cookies, chocolate, etc. act as excellent distractions.
Children in the playground or at an amusement park are often at their most spontaneous selves. To take great child portraits, find unusual perspectives for the face that nails the emotion on the head.
12. Urban Landscapes:
Candid Photographers should spend most of their time on the streets. Visit monuments, landmarks, and cinemas. Find ordinary people doing ordinary activities and insert emotion into the image.
Meet people in groups who seem different from the run-of-the-mill. Document their unique style. For effect, use cars, sunsets along the length of a road to insert distance. Compare and contrast hipsters and businessmen in the same photograph. You can also use fisheye lenses to capture urban landscapes with distorted perspectives. These make for some truly spectacular images as seen below.
By adding relevant components to your photograph, you can accentuate foregrounds and disperse backgrounds. You can animate non-human objects with as little effort as placing a smiley on a chair. You can distort the usual perception of a face by reversing a spectacle. As seen in the image below, you can view the pool through two very different perspectives.
Bodies of water, raindrops, windows, glass, and mirrors are everyday objects that come in handy for creative use in photography. There’s no end to the number of inventive ways you can add elements of detail to your photograph. What’s your favorite photography prop?
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