How To Pick The Perfect Props For Your Photoshoot
First things first: What are Photoshoot “Props”? A Prop is any item or object that is used to help create a scene, support a visual concept or message, or add to the overall mood of a photograph. The right props can help to highlight features of a product, enhance the subject, add visual interest & depth to a scene, etc. In portraiture, props are often used in a creative way to help add to the mood or message of an image.
A prop can be any extra little object that you want to bring along to your photoshoot to give your photos that personal touch! I always ask my clients to gather & bring along a few items that are special to them to use in their shots - for example: a favorite journal, a unique necklace, etc. Other popular props include laptops, plants, house decor items, unique wardrobe accessories, or items that are unique to your particular career field. Photographs taken of you interacting with props will instantly tell a visual story to the viewer, & the right props can really help your images to look more authentic & relatable as well!
If you’ve got a photoshoot in your future & you’re not sure what types of props to bring along, keep reading - I created this entire props guide full of suggestions & examples to help you pick out the perfect props for your upcoming shoot!
Why Do I Need Props For My Photoshoot?
Not only do props add to the message & meaning of an image, but they also help to make a scene look more authentic. A good selection of props will keep the scene from looking contrived, & they also give you something to “do” or hold during your photoshoot. This helps you to look more comfortable & less posed in your images as well! Not all photoshoots need a lot of props - depending on the type of images you want to create, you may only need a couple of props, lots & lots of props, or perhaps no props at all. Below are a few more reasons to include props in your next photoshoot:
Relax nervousness by giving the subject an action to perform
Add visual interest to an image
Contextualize the subject
Strengthen a creative concept
Help with the storytelling aspect
Will my photographer provide any props for my photoshoot?
Each photographer will be different when it comes to the props that they do or do not provide for your photoshoot. Be sure to check in with your photographer about what items they may or may not have available at their studio! Below are a just few examples of the props I have available at my personal studio, Miranda Kelton Photography:
Couch, Chairs, & Stools
Tables & Desks
Lifestyle Props (Dishes, Candles, Plants, etc.)
Variety of Colored/Textured Backdrops
Where Can I find props for my photoshoot?
If you’re planning a photoshoot & need to know where to find some affordable props, here are a few suggestions of places to look. Be sure to check with your photographer before you purchase anything as they may already have certain items available that you can use!
Your Home or Office Space
Resale Shops (Thrift Stores, Vintage Shops, Flea Markets)
Discount Shops (Ross, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Marshalls)
Borrow items from friends & family
Search online for specific items (Etsy, Amazon, etc.)
5 Types of photoshoot props
Not sure how many props to bring for your photoshoot? Need some ideas of what items to bring?
Take a look at the photoshoot prop ideas below - my advice is to try & bring at least one item from each of the following categories:
1.Industry-Specific & Workplace Props
Consider this: What are some of the items that you use every day in your line of work? What objects do you need to portray the product/service that you are trying to advertise or depict?
For example, if you are a podcaster, you might want photos of yourself with your podcasting mic, your laptop, & other recording equipment. If you are a hair & makeup artist, you might want to utilize props like makeup brushes, beauty products, hair styling tools, etc. A food blogger? Kitchen equipment, ingredients for one of your favorite recipes, your apron, cooking tools, & more! This is also a great opportunity to show off your own products as well if you are creating images for a business that sells physical goods.
Popular choices: Laptop computer, phone, ipad, notebooks, journals, workplace tools, products, printed marketing materials, etc.
2. Personal Props
Personal props can include any item that is special & unique to you! These items often include things like special pieces of jewelry or wardrobe accessories, objects relating to your personal hobbies, family heirlooms, meaningful books, keepsakes/collectibles, & more.
Popular choices: Sports equipment, unique accessories, musical instruments, home decor, artwork, etc.
3. Lifestyle Props
These types of props really help to “fill” a scene when you’re taking photos in a studio environment or you need to create the illusion of a workspace, a living room, etc. It’s important to create an intentional space that truly represents the style & feel of your brand!
Popular Choices: Mugs, candles, books & magazines, plants & flowers, objects that create a “homey” feel (pillows, blankets, home decor, dishware, knick-knacks, etc.)
4. Creative Props
Creative props are especially useful when you’re trying to add an artistic effect to an image, or if you’re wanting to create a more conceptual style of photograph.
Popular Choices: Confetti, bubbles, glitter, balloons, smoke bombs or fog machines, lighting tools (such as prisms, mirrors, reflective surfaces, etc.), fabrics, etc.
5. Miscellaneous Props, Models, Pets, etc.
Here are a few other things to consider while choosing props, locations, & other items for your photoshoot:
Pets: Many people love to bring along their pet for a few photos - be sure to let your photographer know ahead of time if you would like to integrate your fur baby into any portion of your shoot!
Models: Many shoots will require a model in order to create some of the shots you may need. You might want some photos that show you interacting with a client or customer to depict your service, or to show exactly how a product can be used. In this instance, you can bring a friend along to model, or your photographer may be able to help you find a model that would be a great fit for your photoshoot.
Locations: The location of your shoot can really contribute (or detract!) from the overall visual impact of your images as well! Be sure to pick a location that supports the style of your brand & that makes sense for you & your business. Certain locations such as studio rentals, home/event venue rentals, outdoor areas, etc. will often include a selection of props for you to use as well, so it’s important to consider what will be the best fit for you & your project!
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