Trick #6: Meaningful Props

6. Collect props that you love and are meaningful. How to choose the props to build in layers of meaning into an image will be unpacked. – 10 Tricks

Here is a real-life example: Tanya and Tyler got married (I was honoured to photograph both the wedding and engagement) then they had a baby (I was honoured to photograph both the maternity and the newborn). Their wedding was country themed with lace and natural elements and plaid. These elements were in every session. When it came time to do the newborn session we had a choice. We could choose from a pile of props that I had or build something meaningful for them.

Here is the beautiful baby:

gloriana

Everything in this image, every prop carries meaning. There is lace, a basket from their wedding, even the red plaid is the tail of Tyler’s favourite shirt.

Compare the richness of building in the layers of meaning compared to using someone else’s props, props that are in so many other baby photos.

How would you apply this to an adult portrait? For me, I would look around my home and find the objects that mean something to me. The Bible that my mother gave me, an apple (it was my father’s pet name for me), I would have a guitar propped up against the wall (both my husband and my son play) and some of my daughter’s artwork hanging and maybe some discarded dance shoes (both girls create art and dance). I imagine that I’m building this image on my deck and I would have some large photobooks from my favourite artists and probably my dog sleeping at my feet. I’d be curled on a chair with the quilt that my mother-in-law crocheted. So even though it is just a photo of me, it is also a photo of my family and a statement of what is important to me. I think I’ll make that image. Would you like to see it?

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