Tuesday’s Tip: Using Multiple Props

How to Use Multiple Props in a Session

by Laura Winslow

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to using props.  Some of my favorite places to find props are Goodwill, the Target dollar bin, and my own home.  It is amazing what you can find when you open your eyes to seeing that which you use and see everyday in a new way.   I saw boxes of mini moon pies at the store the other day and snatched up a few for an upcoming session.  I can’t wait to use them and have big ideas for these little treats!:)  Using props like bowls, buckets, fruit, fun food or toys make it easy to use multiple props at once and still appear natural.  Pair the everyday with the adorable hair accessory, cutie outfit and a pair of sunglasses and you can make your photograph rock (kids ADORE sunglasses, by the way!).:)  In this image, I used a cute black and white knit hat, spidey sunglasses (I just photoshopped the spidey out!), a kids microphone and a copy of “Guitar” magazine to accent the “lime+light” tee from designer Oh Fiddlesticks!.  The completely boyish and fun rusted truck didn’t hurt, either.

Make it about your subject, not the prop.  A prop should add depth and texture to support an image, not lead an image.  Have your subject(s) interact with at least one of the props in some way–let us see it in action and feel a connection.  For my book-loving daughter’s second birthday session, I used a pile of vintage books that were my from my own childhood collection, a cute yellow stool, adorable shoes, a chalkboard frame with “Happy Bookday” written on it, “READ” bunting and lantern.  Written out, it seems like overload, but they all had meaning to me and helped to add to the moment that I was trying to capture.  Each of these things cause me to smile as I feel they completely capture my daughter.

Head outside and let nature add to the story of your photograph.  Here, the green grass provided the perfect soft backdrop for this little man to sit upon.  Toddlers always love to nibble on things, and in this image I was able to use the fun yellow vintage crate to add texture and interest but also keep this little guy still and interested as he played with the colorful pears.   A garland of newspaper hearts subtly adds another dimension.

As the photographer, it is only your creative eye that is the limit.  The possibilities are endless–feel free to be whimsical or silly or absurd.  Anything goes!  Dare to be different.  I found this fun gumball machine at Goodwill, but felt that gumballs were too, well, expected, so I filled it will pink marshmallow hearts.  Though you don’t often find marshmallow-filled gumball machines in orange groves, I thought it was perfect to sit upon a mountain of oranges.  Pair it with a cutie little girl with a fab outfit and hair accessory, a crazy set of huge candy lips-on-a-stick, and it worked! Some of your ideas won’t work right away–just keep tweaking until they do! Have fun with it, you are the artist, so let your imagination run wild!

Thanks SO much Laura for sharing some great tips with us!  You have such an awesome way of incorporating so many props into a shoot.



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Niina - May 31, 2011 - 2:50 am

Thanks for sharing Laura Winslow´s magic touch and tips when it comes to choosing props! I´m not professional photographer but next time when I´ll be taking photos of my own daughter I will definitely try to add some fun props into them.

Tammy - May 31, 2011 - 9:15 am

Love the article! Very nice photos. I have a gumball machine and I’ve tried a couple of times to work it into shoots but nothing ever looks right. I’m going to take your gumball shot and use it for inspiration. Maybe I can figure something out. :)

Laura - May 31, 2011 - 9:22 am

Thanks so much for your sweet words, ladies! Tammy, that sounds great! Have fun with it and I would love to see when you are done! xoxo

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