You don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on props to get great images. Sometimes the simplest things and have a big impact on your images. Here are 9 props I use regularly in my photography that don’t cost the earth.
A rustic wooden box is great for adding interest without being too distracting, it fits in well with outdoor portrait sessions. Wooden boxes are great to keep children in a certain spot. they will often be happy to sit and climb on the box. You can also get creative by making it into a stand. I used some bamboo canes and bunting to make mine into a flower stand for a Spring themed photo.
When I did my first outdoor fairy sessions a few years ago, I brought along a jam jar so that the children could ‘catch’ the faeries. I was amazed at how this little jar could hold their attention. It’s not just good for fairy sessions, use it to catch fireflies during sunset summer sessions.
This is one I take to almost every family session. A plain blanket in a neutral colour is great for sitting down shots, where the family don’t want to sit on the ground, but my favourite is a huge, multicoloured crochet blanket I got in a charity shop for only £6. This beauty looks great in photos and helps me bring out the fun. One of my favourite ways to use it is to get mum and dad to lift it up, and have the children run underneath. Of course, children always want to have a go, which leads to some hilarious attempts by mum and dad to try and climb underneath the blanket. Blankets are great for snuggling up under as well.
I admit, I bought this umbrella with photos in mind, I thought the bright colours would give a pop of colour to grey, rainy days, When the weather is poor it’s difficult to get the motivation to get out and take photos, so having a fun prop for the rain is a great way to encourage you to shoot in all weather. Team with some cute wellies and get out there in search of puddles!
I couldn’t leave bubbles out, could I? They are great at keeping little ones entertained when you want some photos. I like the big bubble wands best, because they are easier to handle for young children, but at the very least I always keep a small bottle with me for photo shoots.
I must admit, I am a little bit jealous of America photographers with large yards and sprinkler systems. It not something you see here in the UK very often. I just have a little garden, but it gets the setting sun and so I love to make the most of the light. The hose is a good substitute for a sprinkler. You can get pretty bokeh from the water and it brings out the smiles in little ones. You may want to cover your camera with a plastic bag for this one, in case the hose gets directed at you.
I wouldn’t have thought of using a twirling ribbon in a photo shoot until a client brought some along one time. They are so much fun. They keep children entertained and add colour to your images. They’re only a few pounds or dollars on Ebay, so definitely worth adding to your prop stash.
Kites are another prop that add colour to your images. They are best for children who are old enough to get them to fly by themselves, or have someone on hand to help out. There are so many fun photos to get with kites. Think about a colourful kite against a bright blue sky, or a silhouette shot.
Your child’s favourite toy
You know that toy that you dread losing because your child would be heartbroken? The one that’s threadbare from all the cuddles and dirty because they won’t let you wash it? You probably don’t think it’s very photogenic, do you? But it’s such a lovely thing to photograph, your children will love to look back at these photos. I love it when children bring their toys with them. Bringing toys can help children feel more secure and so you can get more natural expressions from them.
What props do you like to use when photographing children? Share your images on Instagram and tag them #mamacameraclub for a chance to be featured.