Hey, are you looking for some ideas and props to bring to a photoshoot?
Or maybe you’re wondering how some photographers manage to take incredibly vibrant shots that make you go, “Woah!”?
Well, let’s spill some beans here – it’s not just about the camera or the technique; sometimes, it’s all about the props. Yep, you heard me right.
Props can be the secret sauce that turns a good photo into a “frame-it-on-the-wall” masterpiece.
Imagine scrolling through your feed and seeing a picture of a kid blowing bubbles, surrounded by a whirlwind of color and movement. You’d stop and look, right?
That’s the power of props.
They create scenes and stories that grab your attention.
Have you ever been to a shoot and felt like something was missing? A certain… spark? Props can be the game-changer. They can add context, tell a story, or bring in a splash of color and fun.
I mean, who doesn’t want their photos to stand out?
Whether it’s for your Instagram, a portfolio, or a family album, props can give your pictures that extra edge.
And if you’re looking for new prop ideas, I’ll share some of the coolest, quirkiest, and most effective props you can add to your photography.
What is a Prop?
A prop, short for “property,” is an object used in a photoshoot to enhance the overall theme, ambiance, or message.
When you bring props to a photoshoot, you add personality and depth to the scene, helping to tell a story or express an emotion.
Props can also be anything!
From everyday objects like a cup of coffee, a book, or a bouquet of flowers to unique, eye-catching items like vintage furniture, colorful balloons, or detailed decorations.
The main purpose of using a prop is to provide context, emphasize your subject’s interests or personality, or bring an interesting visual element to your final image.
How to Select Props for Your Photo Sessions
When selecting props for your photoshoot, you should consider the mood you want in your photos.
Are you going for a serious, professional look or something more lighthearted and playful? Also, be mindful of the color palettes and materials you choose, as they contribute to the vibe of your photographs.
And don’t overdo things. Less can sometimes be more when it comes to props.
Overloading a scene can distract from the main subject. So think about things and have some balance between the props and your subject. You want everything to work cohesively to create a great image.
Personal Props to Bring to a Photoshoot
Sport Related Props
If you’re a sports fan, using sport-related props in your photoshoot is a great way to show your personality.
You can dress the part by wearing jerseys, sweaters, hats, and sunglasses. Accessorizing with sneakers or sport-specific gear like bags, bats, and soccer balls will make your images pop.
For instance, if football is your favorite sport, bring your favorite team’s jersey and a ball.
Play with different poses, like throwing or holding the ball in different positions and angles. You want to blend your personality with props to create a unique visual story.
Family and Friend Related Props
Another great way to personalize your photoshoot is family and friend-related props. These can include simple items like a valued family heirloom, a favorite book, or a cherished childhood toy.
Here are more ideas to help you get started:
- Hats and Sunglasses: Show off your unique style with cool headwear and shades. Mix and match with various outfits and let your creativity shine.
- Accessories: Bring meaningful jewelry, a funky scarf, or a bold statement necklace. These items add a touch of personality to your photos.
- Family Photos: Use a framed picture of your loved ones or hold a Polaroid snapshot. This adds a sentimental touch to your photoshoot.
Just choose props that align with your personality, values, and interests. These items tell a genuine story about you and make your photos feel like a window into your world.
Photo Prop Ideas for Different Themes
When planning a photoshoot, you’ll want to plan ahead if the shoot has a specific theme. So, in this section, we’ll explore some prop ideas for different themes.
No matter the time of year, seasonal props can bring your photoshoot to life. For seasonal and holiday-themed photoshoots, think about items like:
|Mittens & scarves
|Hot cocoa mugs
|Holly & berries
|Scarves & hats
Party Themed Props
Whether planning a birthday, bachelorette, or fun-filled shoot, party-themed props are perfect for adding a festive touch.
Some great party props are:
- Confetti: Instantly adds a fun and celebratory atmosphere to your photos
- Sparklers: Light up the night and create stunning visual effects (please be safe!)
- Glitter: Use it to create a shimmering background or add some sparkle to your outfit
- Balloons: Go for classic round ones, or opt for letter balloons to spell out a message or name
- Props on sticks: These can be glasses, mustaches, or any other fun items, and they’re also perfect for photo booth photos
Creative Photography Props
Are you planning a photoshoot and want to add some creative props to make it unique and eye-catching? Awesome!
Let me suggest a few options that’ll help your photos stand out.
Paint and brushes can bring an artistic touch to your shoot. I love them because, in addition to being a photographer, I’m also an artist and paint/draw a lot.
As a photographer, you could have your models paint colorful designs on canvas or even on each other to create a visually striking scene.
Note: Be sure to use non-toxic paint that’s easy to wash off, especially if it’ll come in contact with skin.
Chalkboards are another fantastic prop that allows for customization. Use them as backdrops, or have your subjects write or draw messages and drawings. A chalkboard or chalkboard wall is the ultimate prop and backdrop because you can draw anything on it. You can easily erase and rewrite it for various looks throughout your shoot.
Fairy lights can create a magical atmosphere. Drape them around your models, foreground objects, or background elements to create a warm and enchanting vibe.
Pro tip: try wrapping them around a hula hoop and have your models pose with it for a stunning, illuminated prop.
Another creative and versatile prop is fabric and textiles. With various colors and textures, you can use drapes, scarves, or pieces of cloth to add depth and dimension to your images.
Or create a backdrop by covering surfaces or even wrapping your subjects in them.
I’m sure using these creative props will improve your photoshoot experience and capture your audience’s attention. So, go ahead and express yourself!
Food and Drink Props
Are you looking to set up a photoshoot focusing on food and drinks?
If so, let me give you some ideas on what food and drink items you can use as props.
First things first: let’s talk about drinks.
You can’t go wrong with a classic steaming cup of coffee or a fancy tea set for your shoot. Coffee mugs and teacups add a homey, relatable touch to images.
And hey, it’s also fun to experiment with different beverages like wine or cocktails. Especially if you have stylish wine glasses or unique barware you can use.
Now, let’s dig into some snacks and food items.
Nothing quite says “mouth-watering” like a perfectly styled ice cream cone or colorful candy.
These treats not only look fantastic in photos, but they also give off a playful, casual vibe.
But ice cream melts fast!
Think about using various plated meals or finger foods in your photos for a heartier option. Classic food items, like sandwiches and salads, can make for a great visual when paired with the right drink prop.
And don’t forget to accessorize your food and drinks!
Excellent food and drink photography creates an atmosphere that makes your audience connect with and crave the items in the picture.
To create a well-rounded scene, you can use items like napkins, cutting boards, and utensils. Even something as simple as a few crumbs or snacks scattered around the shot can add depth and realism to your photos.
Props to Reflect Hobbies and Interests
So, you’re planning a photoshoot and want to showcase your hobbies and interests? Great idea!
Adding personal items to your photos makes them more relatable and tells a story about who you are. Here are a few ideas for props you can bring to reflect your passions.
Books: If you like reading, why not bring a few of your favorite books for your photoshoot? Stack them up, hold them in your hands, or use them as a base for another prop. I recommend picking a book with eye-catching covers or titles that show your taste in literature.
Board games: Board games can be a fun way to demonstrate your love for strategic thinking and friendly competition. Spread the game pieces on a table or showcase the game board in the background. You might even get questions about your favorite games and strategies afterward!
Music: Whether you’re a fan of vinyl records, concert memorabilia, or want your headphones in your pictures, including music-related items in your photoshoot is a great way to show off your passion for music.
Musical instruments: If you play an instrument, bring it along! From piano keyboards to more portable options like a guitar or violin, including your instrument in the shoot can tell a visual story of your talents. You’ll be right in your element, posing with your instrument or playing a piece.
Have fun with your pictures, and let your personality shine and show in your photos!
Professional Props to Show You Mean Business
If you’re planning a photoshoot and looking for professional props to upgrade your images or photography studio, I’ve got you!
Here are a few ideas for using laptops, calendars, frames, mirrors, and more for professional images.
Let’s start with a laptop or computer. A laptop is a flexible prop used in many settings like a home office or workspace.
You can place the laptop on a table with office accessories like pens, notebooks, or a coffee mug to set the scene. Or have your subject casually holding the laptop with a bright background to show off their tech-savviness.
As a professional or business owner, you probably use your calendar often. So why not use it for your images?
Calendars come in many forms, from wall calendars to desk planners. They add depth and context to your photoshoot. In my photoshoots, I like using a calendar by having clients hold or point at an important date.
You can also have your subject go through the pages of a planner. Tell them to “show off your busy, well-organized life.” This is great for helping them relax too.
Frames are an interesting addition to photoshoots. They let you create a “picture within a picture effect” that adds a twist to your images.
You can use empty frames or add art, quotes, or other photos. Have your subject hold the frame in front of them, or play with perspectives by positioning it around them.
A mirror is a great prop and tool that can add depth and create various effects in your professional shoots.
Mirrors also reflect light, create interesting reflections, and even provide an alternative perspective of your subject. You can use small handheld mirrors for close-up shots or larger wall mirrors to capture full-body reflections.
You can even consider using multiple mirrors in your photoshoot. Positioning several mirrors at different angles can create fascinating reflections and give life to any space.
So, there you have it! A rundown of some fantastic professional props to level up your photoshoot.
Photographer’s Choice of Props
As a photographer, you’ll want to choose props that enhance your subject and fit the theme and style of the photoshoot you’re working on.
Furniture and Backdrops: One of the first things you’ll want to consider is the furniture and backdrop for your shoot. These elements can set the stage for your entire session. From vintage couches to modern accent chairs, furniture can add a touch of personality and style to any shoot. Backdrops are also important. They provide a clean and consistent background for your subject. Keep a variety of backdrops on hand to cater to your clients’ wide range of tastes and preferences.
Personalized Props: Encourage clients to bring their props to the photo session. Props with personal meaning enhance the photoshoot and make pictures more unique and genuine. We’ve already covered a lot of different props. You can use a couple’s favorite books for an engagement shoot, a meaningful family heirloom for a family portrait session, or a sentimental stuffed toy for a newborn session.
Seasonal Items: Depending on the time of year, go out of your way to add seasonal props. The table above has some great ideas. They all make for gorgeous and timely additions. It would help if you kept an assortment of seasonal items in your photography studio.
Small Accessories: I like to use many portable items like string lights, balloons, and confetti for a bit of playfulness and charm in my photos. These items are easy to use, transport, and store, making them a great addition to your prop collection.
Photo Prop Ideas for Animal Lovers
If you’re an animal lover planning a photoshoot, you’ll want to include your furry friends or some animal-inspired props.
To start, your pets can be the stars of the photoshoot!
Dogs, cats, rabbits, or pet lizards can make adorable shots.
But ensure you know your pet’s temperament and how they might react to the camera. Also, bring some treats and toys to encourage your pets to pose and have fun in front of the camera.
If your photoshoot is in a location where bringing your pets isn’t practical or you don’t have any pets, don’t worry – stuffed animals can be a substitute! Bring your favorite plushies and feature them in your photos for a touch of cuteness and nostalgia.
You can also use animal-themed props like backdrops or photo booth-style masks to add a different look to your shots.
You can find these on websites like Amazon or Etsy, where they have a variety of animal backdrops and masks, like jungle or wild animals, depending on your theme.
Grab a prop that’ll fit your overall vision for the shoot.
I also recommend getting creative with animal-inspired accessories like print scarves, cat ears headbands, or bird-feather necklaces. Adding these props to your photoshoot will infuse your pictures with a playful and stylish touch.
Now, let’s talk about a few miscellaneous props that can make your images pop.
Car: You’ve probably seen a lot of photos where people pose with a vintage or luxury car, right? Bringing a car into the mix adds timeless character and style to your photos. If you own a car with a unique look or can borrow one, go for it!
Baskets and Crates: Baskets and crates are super useful. Whether you’re photographing a newborn, a family picnic, or even products, they create a cozy and charming atmosphere in images. You can also use multiple baskets in various shapes and sizes to create interesting compositions.
Suitcase: Want to add a touch of wanderlust and adventure to your photoshoot? A vintage suitcase will do it. They can also be your subject or product’s unique seat or platform.
Flowers: It’s no secret flowers express life and beauty. And who doesn’t love flowers? Use fresh blooms or dried flowers as a natural add-on in your pictures. You can hold them, wear them, or create arrangements and backdrops with them.
Product: If you’re shooting for commercial purposes, creatively place your products in your photos. They’ll make your photos pop and make them the center of attention.
Toy: Toys in a photoshoot, especially with children or pets, can make the session more playful and genuine. Toys can also serve as unique props for a nostalgic, vintage-themed shoot or for showing off your interests and personality.
Candles: A soft glow or a romantic touch to your photos is as easy when you include candles. Use various candle types – tall and elegant tapers and rustic pillar candles – to create different moods.
And don’t forget to share your photos on your favorite social media platforms to let the world see your creative use of props.
Tips for Choosing and Using Props During Your Photoshoot
Finally, here are a few tips to help you select and use props effectively during your photoshoot.
1. Be intentional with your choices: When selecting props, consider how they can enhance your images and share your vision or brand message. Ask yourself if the prop complements the subject and setting or if it adds unnecessary clutter to the photo.
2. Less is more: It’s important not to overdo it when it comes to props. Stick to a few well-chosen items that effectively tell your story and highlight the features of the subject. Too many props will distract and take away from the main focus of the photo.
3. Stay true to your style: Make sure your props fit your photo session’s overall aesthetic and theme. They should help create a cohesive look and enhance the style you’re going for.
4. Experiment: Don’t be afraid to play with different props and see how they look in your images. Changing a prop’s position, angle, or arrangement can create a completely different mood or effect.
5. Keep it natural: When using props in your photos, make sure they look and feel natural in the scene. Props should enhance the photo without making it look too staged or forced.
6. Make your subject comfortable: If you’re working with a human subject, props can help them feel more relaxed and at ease. Choose props your subject can interact with or hold to give them something to focus on during the photoshoot.
And remember, there is no right or wrong way to use props.
It’s about experimenting and finding what works best for you and your vision. So, have fun and be creative!
Frequently Asked Questions About
Where can I rent photography props?
There are many places where you can rent photography props. Try local shops, online rental stores, and photography studios. Some photography studios offer rental services for their equipment and props. You can also ask around photography communities for recommendations and places to rent from.
What are some good outdoor photoshoot prop ideas?
For outdoor photoshoots, use natural elements as props, like flowers, leaves, or trees. For a more personal touch, you can also bring items like umbrellas, chairs, benches, or bicycles. Themed props, like picnic baskets for a park shoot or surfboards for a beach session, can add interest and character to your outdoor photos.
Is it better to buy or make your photoshoot props?
Buying or making your photo props depends on your budget, skills, and available time. Buying props can save you time and provide a professional finish. But the props might be more expensive. Making your props allows for greater personalization and a unique touch. However, it can be time-consuming, and it does require some level of skill.
How can I create props for a photoshoot at home?
Creating props at home is as simple or complex as you want. Use items like blankets, vintage suitcases, or decorative pillows for simple props. For more elaborate DIY projects, consider making paper flowers, a handmade backdrop, or painting props to match your theme. YouTube tutorials and Pinterest boards also offer inspiration and guidance for DIY prop ideas.
What are some essential props for portrait photography?
Essential props for portrait photography may include chairs, stools, or benches for seating, fabric or paper backdrops for a clean background, and small items like scarves or hats to add personality to the shot. Reflectors can also be useful for manipulating light during the session.
What are some useful props for beginner photographers?
Beginner photographers should consider investing in adaptable props that can be used in many shoots, like solid-colored backdrops, faux flowers, wooden crates, or decorative pillows.
Does a photographer provide the props, or should I bring them?
Whether a photographer provides the props or you bring them depends on your agreement with the photographer. Some photographers may have props, while others may expect clients to bring their own. You should discuss this with your photographer before the shoot to ensure you’re both on the same page regarding props and expectations.