If there’s one rule that reigns supreme when it comes to utilizing props in your sessions, it’s that the prop can never distract all the attention away from your subjects. Yes, a prop should be seen — and there are varying levels of subtleness ranging from a bowtie on a pooch to a giant bouquet of colorful balloons — but it should never completely overwhelm your shoot.
The ultimate goal is to have your prop seamlessly fit into the landscape and setting and elevate
it while keeping your subjects, well, the subject! Our prop guide helps you do just that by providing suggestions for props to incorporate into your session in addition to how to seamlessly implement them. We’re even sharing tips for where to find these props.
To further help you, we’ve organized our prop ideas into the niche. Of course, some of these ideas work for multiple categories, so make sure to read through the entire list!
Tips & Suggestions:
• Don’t feel like you have to use all of these props at once. Take your time and spread them out over many shoots, months — even years.
• Not every single prop will work for your specific style of photography in Baltimore. That’s OK!
• Discuss prop usage with your clients to ensure you’re all on the same page.
• Use the prop for just a few photos — it doesn’t have to be in every shot from your session!
• Incorporate one or two props into a photograph, at most. Anything more and you risk taking away from your subjects.
• Let these suggestions jumpstart your own creative process. You never know what original-to-you ideas reading through this list could inspire!
- College Shirt or Hat: Take a couple of casual images of them sporting clothing from the college they plan to attend. Draw attention to it in a few images, and then pretend like they’re not even wearing it in others.
- Coffee Mug: The same idea as above, only use a mug with their future college’s logo or
mascot depicted on the front. Shoot at a café or in a cozy nook.
- Their Accessories: You know your senior planned out the outfits for their shoot with the utmost care, so make sure to show off their style. For example, if she’s wearing a sun hat, draw attention to it by having her bring her hand to the lip or by lifting it off her head ever-so-slightly. Or if he’s wearing cowboy boots, really highlight them in a few pictures.
- A Car: Snap a couple of images of your senior standing next to, or sitting on, their first car. If the car calls for it, photograph them inside, as well!
- Pet or Horse: A childhood pet is another great senior prop. Capture the love they have
and don’t be afraid to incorporate larger or non-traditional animals — like a horse, rabbit, or snake. We’ve even seen some images with cows that look beautiful!
- Instrument: It’s a classic prop for a reason! Ask your seniors to bring along their instrument (guitar, ukulele, flute, etc.) and snap a couple of images of them playing it.
- Sports Equipment: Same idea here, only with sport’s equipment. Bonus points if you’re able to shoot within the gymnasium or on the field. If they have a jersey or outfit, consider incorporating that into the mix, as well.
- Hobby Equipment: Again, the same idea— incorporate equipment and accessories from their hobbies and passions. Maybe it’s a microphone, ballet shoes, sheet music, pompons, or skateboard.
- Sign with Graduation Date: Create a sign that says their graduation date and prop it up in the background or have them hold it. This will be a good one for them to send along with a graduation announcement.
- Graduation Cap: If your senior has their cap and gown, incorporate it into a few pictures. Have them toss the cap into the air, hold it loosely at their side, or prop it up on a shelf.
- Cell Phone: Incorporate this in a super subtle way — like in their back pocket, loosely held in one hand, on their dashboard, or a candid image of them texting a friend.
- Confetti: Graduating from high school is a big deal, and confetti is a great way to celebrate! Have them toss it in the air — or blow it out of their hands — and snap away.
- “Class Of” Sign: Have your senior hold up a chalkboard that says “Class of XXXX” on it for a few images. If you’re shooting in the spring, you might even get lucky and find a sign around town that says “Congrats to Class of XXXX” that you can pose near.
- Tree Stump or Log: If you’re shooting outdoors in the woods, seek out a great tree stump or fallen log and pose your senior on it.
- High School Sign: Pose in front of or near the senior’s high school sign. If possible, get them to sit on top of the sign or simply lean against it.