5 tips for using props in portraits.

Get creative with your model shots for standout results.

Using props in portraits can make your shot that bit more interesting. It can also help your model to relax if they are surrounded by objects they are familiar with, or if you get them to interact with some fun, silly props. Read our tips to find out how best to use them in your people pictures.

Personal selection.

Try and choose props that are personal to your model, whether it’s something from a hobby of theirs or their favourite flower. This will make the portrait speak more about who they are and what they enjoy.

Suggest a tone.

The props you are using can help to shape the mood of the image, so think about what they are adding to the shot. Something like a bright umbrella might add a fun feel to the shoot, for instance.

Position your prop.

Don’t let the prop detract attention from your model. Think about where it is placed and how it can be used to draw the eye to your subject — for example, by framing their face or leading in a line towards them.

Consider colours.

Check that colours don’t clash with other elements in the shot, like the model’s clothing or the background. Ideally, you don’t want more than three in the frame.

Try contrasting colours for more impact.

Get creative.

Props don’t always have to be objects. Why not use chalk to draw designs around your model, create patterns in the sand or use a mother’s hands to form a heart over her baby bump? Get creative for a unique shot.

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