The usage of props is a very arguable subject. While some photographers may agree that these are highly effective, some are a little sceptical about using props.
Props can make or ruin a photo. When used right, props can make a photo stunning. These have the ability to bring in a touch of creativity to an otherwise dull object and make it interesting. Props are primarily used to add context to a photo. These help in adding character and make the photo unique.
Almost any object can be used as a prop. For example, books, plants, plates, flowers, toys etc. can be used as props. There are various ways to use props in different kinds of photography. Let’s take a look at these in details.
Choosing the Right Props
The choice of props primarily depends on the type of photography. For example, props can be used to denote utility of an item in product photography. While choosing a prop, it is important to keep in mind that it should add interest to the subject instead of taking the focus away from it.
You can also choose props based on what the subject was inspired from. For example, if you are photographing a dish, a cookbook or a fresh ingredient can work as wonderful props. In addition to that, props are also used to convey scale. This is especially true in the case of product photography to help viewers estimate the size of the product.
It is always wise to choose props that are of complementary colours of that of the subject.
The Props Shouldn’t Look Forced
There can be nothing worse that a prop that looks like it does not belong in the photo. While props can add creativity to a photograph, these should not be forced into a scene.
One of the best ways to avoid such a situation is by envisioning the final photograph before shooting it. Picture the subject along with the prop that you plan on using and ask yourself: does it belong in the photograph? If it looks out-of-place, it is time to abandon the prop and move on to the next.
Keep the Photograph Simple
A photograph can become extremely crowded with a number of elements. Props can add to the problem and make the picture distracting. If you are planning on using one or more props in the photograph, it is wise to keep the other elements in the picture to a minimum.
Ensure that the background is clean and no unnecessary patterns are present. You can also consider using a prop in a muted colour to ensure that the focus stays on the subject.
Highlight the Connection Between the Prop and the Subject
This is especially true in the case of portrait photography. If you are using a prop that is personal to the subject, then you can highlight the connection between them. You can ask your clients to bring their own props. Such props could include a stuffed toy, a favourite book, wedding ring, a pet and so on.
Ensure that the person interacts with the prop in a way that looks natural. Candid photos of the subject with the prop can be captivating. This will also make the photo meaningful.
The environment can be used as an interesting prop. This is not only creative but can produce powerful photos as well. For example, a factory worker photographed amongst the machinery or a sculptor working in his studio etc. can yield stunning images.
Experiment and Improvise
An object as ordinary as a yellow balloon can be used as an interesting prop. Conceptualization and placement of the props matter. While using props, you have ample scope to experiment. Instead of using ready-made props, you can create a few props yourself. For example, a paper boat made of origami paper can be a fantastic addition.
You can be imaginative with the props and improvise along the way.
Creativity is an important part of including props in photographs. You might need a little inspiration for that. If you live in Dubai, you can join photography classes in Dubai for this purpose. While photographing a subject with props, ensure to take a lot of pictures. This will give you enough options to choose from.