Choosing the Right Props for Your Next Photo Session

I love using props in a photo session.  They can add interest, depth and flair.  Children in particular are great to introduce a prop in their photos.  It could be children holding coordinating flowers for a spring or summer shoot, bubbles or colorful balloons, who doesn’t love colorful balloons?  Does your family love sports? Then use baseball bats, a football as example in your next family photo to bring out your passion. Here are a few tips for ways to incorporate props in your next photo session.

1.      Avoid trends. While you might have recently seen a few photos that incorporate a specific prop, try not to use something that will look dated after a few years’. Keep it simple and classic.

2.      Be realistic. It’s easy to go wild when thinking of a theme for your photo session. You should decide on one that you can actually find props for. For example, if you want to use seasonal props, try and source them in that season as they’ll be easier to find.  Oh, and before you decide to remake your favorite movie scene, think twice about whether you’ll be able to find suitable outfits for everyone. 

3.       Size matters. There are some larger props that work really well in photo sessions such as using your grandpa's classic car or his farm combine.  Bigger is not always better make sure that your prop enhances the photo and doesn't detract from it.

4.       Use what you have. Make the current season work to your advantage by using what’s available. Leaves in the fall make for amazing props in photos and don’t cost a thing.

5.       Make it meaningful.  In my experience this is the most important point.  If you or your child has a favorite ‘thing’, like a stuffed animal or a musical instrument that you treasure, that would be a good prop to try and incorporate into your photo session.  Your pictures will have more meaning for you and your family. 

Remember, using props can be the perfect addition to your photos but make sure that they don’t become the main focus.

Legacy Portraits

I know you don't want portraits done, that you wish you were 10 lbs lighter or you need a tan or new wardrobe.. whatever the reason in your head.  But NOW is the best time to have your portrait taken.. everything up to this point has made you who you are, and you will never have this time again. Think back, when was the last time you had a beautiful image you adored, and for that matter when was the last portrait your kids have of you?  What will they remember when you are gone, what will they reach for as a reminder, they will search for photos, stored in boxes or framed on the wall. I can guarantee they see you as their mother, father, sibling or grand parent.

They will reach for photos.

 

How to Find the Perfect Photo Shoot Location

Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn't have to be. A location drives some of the other decisions about your shoot so it’s important to consider the location.  Before settling on a location ask yourself:

1.       Do I have theme for the shoot?  If you don't know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It's easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard. Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.

 2.       Am I allowed to take pictures there? Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it's not public property or available to the public you will need to arrange permission first.

 3.       Is it accessible? ‘That amazing riverside beach would be perfect!’ Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round.  That beach you thought would be perfect is currently under water this time of year.   Another important aspect is your safety taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look stunning but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.  

 4.       How do you get to your location? Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.

 5.       Will the photo session be in a public place? If your perfect spot is one that has a lot of foot traffic, you need to check in with yourself that you are comfortable being photographed in front of others.

Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.

Lightbulb

In 2017 I joined a FB group called the lightbulb project with Joel Robison where we we would get weekly words to create by. I have been watching other creatives make some amazing pieces and still I sat on my hands never having the nerve to take the ideas in my head and put them out into the world. I am blocked by fear, intimidation, frustration - it never looks as good as in my head, stagnation, judgement and of course my self image issues. I had an aha moment recently when someone said 'just start.. take shit photos and keep doing it until it is better'... I am paraphrasing but that very short few sentences hit me, it released me from my 'I have to be a good photographer' and that pressure of meeting some sort of expectation I think people have of me. My biggest creative and inspirational block ever!! Tonight I just did it, it was not perfect, my tripod broke on my last trip so I had to balance the camera on a stool and my slipper. None of my pretty dresses fit me and I got down about that for a moment, then I got very scared it was going to bomb but I did it anyhow.. I reached for that creative spark and I just started. If you are a creative in this group please let me know, I am always looking for inspiration be it weaving, painting, sketching, poetry (oh yes please tell me if you do spoken poetry) singing, dancing.. I would love to see your works. If you are just a lover of other creatives be there to support them...it's not easy.

I don’t want to tell you what this image is about for me, but if you are inspired please tell me your thoughts.. what do you think it is about?

The Desert has my heart

I have been dreaming of visiting the desert for years. There is such a pull to it’s raw beauty, the desolation, the total opposite of where I live. This past week I was blessed with an opportunity to join other artists and creatives on a 4 day convention called Promoting Passion, hosted in Joshua Tree California with Brooke Shaden. I have been following her work for years, and I get alot of inspiration from her and by that I actually mean she inspires me not only her work but her being. There were 160 other creatives attending this convention and wow what a journey, what an adventure, and what a course correcting few days.

Upon arriving we filed into the sanctuary and right off the bat we began digging into our souls -you see that is one of the most precious things about Brooke- she comes from a place of vulnerability and guiding you out of your fear or your rut in your creative journey. Within 2 hours of arriving we had hugged more strangers than I can recall, stared into anothers eyes for minutes at a time (try that with someone you KNOW - wow) we mingled and connected with at least one person and then finally we stumbled in the darkness to our lodges. Exhausted, overwhelmed and still excited to see the sunrise.

The next morning was glorious. Many participants were up and shooting at the crack of dawn, I mean who would want to miss that sunrise. That was the moment I fell in love with the desert. From the darkness to a glorious burst of color as the sun literally bloomed ..lighting up the sky. I honestly stood soaking it all in, the air, the sun, the animals, the birds and bats.. it was amazing.

Tips for Beautiful Fall or Winter Photos

There is a special kind of magic that comes with outdoor, fall photo sessions. The leaves are changing color, and covering the ground. There is a crispness in the air and a glow to the light that creates a lovely backdrops at this time of year.   If you are looking to book a session here’s a few tips to make your session go smoothly.

1.       Dress warmly. You will be surprised at how often this is overlooked. Since you’ll be standing outside for a long period of time think of layering your look.  A great jacket, warm sweater, shrug or scarf and gloves will be welcome.  Trust me, shivering makes it hard to stay relaxed, enjoy your session and pose properly. I suggest investing in hot pockets

2.       Bring heat packs with you. This is an add on to dressing warmly particularly if it is a winter shoot. Be prepared with reusable or disposable hot packs that can provide instant heat to warm your hands and body.

3.       Watch the weather. Fall days in my neck of the woods usually means misty rain or fog, which may not be the images you want. If you are looking for bright sunny fall day, try and keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure that you don’t end up with a downpour.

4.       Be flexible. If the weather isn't exactly what you had hoped for, see if you can still make the photo session work.  Perhaps adding a nice umbrella would give you fun fall images as well.   If your photographer is agreeable, reschedule the date.  However, if you were scheduling this session in advance, you may just have to work with the weather on that particular day.

5.       Incorporate color. Even though fall and winter have some amazing colors to work with, why not wear a splash of color to really stand out in your photos? For example, vibrant shades of blues and greens look amazing amongst crunchy brown leaves.

6.       Plan your day. The best time for taking photos is just after the sun rises or just before it sets.  You will get amazing light so plan your session around those golden times.

Finally, take some hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate along to make your photo session even more enjoyable, oh and hey include that in the shoot as a prop!Here’s to fall sessions and some beautiful photo memories.