Using props can always add an interesting element to a photo, but when you use a prop that has a connection to the main subject in your photo, it adds a deeper level of meaning. For instance, when shooting senior photos, I like to ask the teens that I am photographing what their hobbies and interests are. I even ask them to bring along a favorite article of clothing or jewelry, something that they have a connection to. One senior wore a necklace in her photos that was special to her. That way, regardless if the necklace was lost or damaged, she would have it forever preserved, photographically, for her to always remember. These props can be an old teddy bear, a heirloom from a grandparent, a favorite hat or a piece of their sports equipment.
The reason for this? When someone is passionate about something they love or even love to do, it typically comes through in the photos I take. My photography is not just about capturing images, it is about creating memories.
When you shoot a photo with a prop that they have selected, it reveals a little bit about that person’s life and evokes conversation and interest. Sometimes, it reveals a personal and sentimental connection. And sometimes, it just is a comfort zone that puts your subject at ease. In having something familiar from their real life in the photo session, it makes them almost forget that the camera is there. Of course, it helps to continue that chatty conversation which also helps to distract and relax them.
In the example above, I thought it would be interesting to bring along an old bike wheel that had some busted spokes as a fun prop since the model, Kylie, works at a bike shop. It makes the viewer wonder, “why does she have this wheel?” and creates more interest in wanting to know her life story.
Begin shooting with props and exploring ways how you can reveal a little bit about the life of the person that you are shooting and leave the viewers of your photos wondering...what is the prop connection?
For more examples, vist my website or Facebook Page.