What Props to bring to a Photo Session?


One of my most asked questions is about 'photography props.'   Does the client bring the props or the photographer?  What sort of props will be fun, but not cheesy? I really enjoy using photo props because it gives additional meaning to the picture for the client.  Personally, I prefer the client bring the props because they would be theirs and meaningful to them.  But I have a few things that I bring along when necessary. Take a look at some of my favorite prop photos and my lists of great ideas to bring along at your next photo shoot.

Different props are great for different types of sessions.  For a couple's session, including engagement, anniversary or even a wedding, here are a few of my favorite ideas. Think of things that add meaning to the situation, but are eye catching in the photos.

  1. Consider the 'likes' of the couple.  Do you enjoy listening to music together, reading books aloud, hiking, movies?  Think about mutual interests and bring something that fits along those lines.  A guitar or other musical instrument, books that you enjoy, your dogs or other pets.
  2. Romance, think of things like the first gift from your significant other, the bottle of wine you shared on your first date that you saved, love letters that you wrote, sweet text messages you saved.
  3. Get Creative, check out Michaels or Joanns and pick up wooden letters for your names, or spell out your last name, a small chalkboard that you can write on the wedding date, or Mr and Mrs, or last name, photo frames that you can use for a unique pose, a 'knot' for tying the 'knot', a photo of your families to add to the photo that is being taken of you two.  Sidewalk chalk is always fun.   Be sure to check for coupons online before you hit the store!

Maternity sessions offer a completely different set of fun ideas, while with a couple its all about 'them', a maternity session is all about the baby and mama (and dad too).   Honoring the beautiful baby belly is a must.  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Photos, the ultrasound photo is a popular idea, or generational family photos to use in the photo session.
  2. Anything for the baby's room, a blanket, stuffed animals, something passed down by another family member when you were pregnant, favorite shower gifts.
  3. Adorn the belly, save ribbons from your baby shower to braid together for a bow to wrap around your belly.   You can also write on the belly with a child safe marker, ('let me outta here', baby's name, due date, etc), an empty photo frame to put in front of the belly.
  4. Baby clothes, pick your favorites, or baby shoes.  Something that shows off your personality or families personality.  Think converse tennis shoes or baby teva's or hiking boots.
  5. Use toys, like blocks to spell out baby's name, or gender, or that its a surprise!  Bring baby blankets or create a scene outside for the session with lots of things, in the grass, on a baby blanket, with toys all around the parents.

For the Family photo session, props can be a bit trickier, but almost more meaningful in some ways because you know exactly what the child does love and that can be included into the photo.

  1. Bring your child's lovey.  Always a favorite, always classic and a great memory, the child will always remember their lovey for a lifetime and its great to have some photos memorializing that.  Plus, a lovey always makes a child more comfortable.
  2. Blankets and anything from the child's room, quilts or chairs or books.  All great for a prop.
  3. Wagons or bikes, anything that is fun for the child to play with will produce great pics.  The trick is getting the child to play with the toy and look up at the camera.   Sidewalk Chalk to write names, ages, dates, etc.

Those are just a few of my favorite ideas.  You can check out my pinterest board to see some more ideas and here are a few of my personal favorites below.  What would you like to add into a photo session?  As a photographer, what do you like to see, or bring for your client to use?  Please leave a comment! Also, if you'd like to book a session of your own, contact me.

 Toys are fun for all types of pictures.
 This vintage milk jug was awesome for this little toddler who was unsteady in the snow and made for a great prop too!  I am on the search for one of these for my next session.
Sidewalk Chalk is fun!
This couple brought some great props!
First ultrasound photo
For lots more ideas, check out my pinterest board "Photography Props" and there are a lot of other great boards to follow too!

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