No matter what session you book, whether it be engagement, newborn, maternity, children's sessions, boudoir... Props help define your image and add to the story. Buying props can be pricey and time consuming. Sometimes you wait for the availability as well for the desired prop. But... Handmade DIY props can be more important to an image than a mass produced prop.
Listed below are some ideas that can add to your images yet cost less than $20 to make :)
This is a tricky type. Most of the time photographers and parents over think what they need for a session. Best thing is to talk it over with the parents. Finding out the gender is key. If you don't know the gender you can always use neutral color schemes for the shoots. Keep it classic or play it up. Also, something special for that shoot, is it a baby born into a military family? How about the parent favorite movie? All those topics play a part.
Shown below are just a few props that I made myself (took about an hour each to make the bonnets) Also some matching flowers with clips so i can use bonnets between boys or girls :)
Things to consider when making your own Newborn props:
- Gender- Make sure you have gender oriented props. In the likely event you don't want to have too many props, keep it simple, use neutral tones and have more available combos and not be stuck with just pinks and blues.
- Safety- Are they baby safe? Any prop you make should be soft on babies skin and shouldn't have any sharp edges, including baskets and crates. Whatever you prefer to use, make sure the baby doesn't get hurt.
- Themes- Parents have their ideal image pictured for their little ones, helping to make the dream come true is what you are good at. Think about what themed items you can actually make and not have to buy from a mass produced company or have what others have. Do you have a military family looking to keep a military theme? How about the parent's favorite movie? There are unlimited ideas when it comes to themes, even just keeping it simple for boy or girl, soft colors that don't conflict with any other colors in your themed color pallet.
- Washable- The props you make should be washable, why? Well babies do have accidents... a lot. You might get lucky with one baby who is good an entire session and some that might soil your props. No big deal, thats why you have washable props. It happens, its part of life. But having washable props or props that can at least be wiped down like crates or baskets are a must.
- Investment- How long will these props last you before they fall apart or you decide to sell or give away your props? Will they last you at least one year of newborn sessions? Are they worth the materials vs your total session take home? That is for you to decide, but is another factor to keep in mind. If a prop cost more to make then your session fee or takes more that 2 sessions to pay off, it's probably not worth your investment.
- Story- What story does your prop tell? You're probably thinking girl or boy, how hard could it be? As a photographer we tell more of a story than others can see with their eyes, but truly feel with the heart. But the real story is showing the innocents of the parents baby and how delicate the soul is. Reaching a more deep feeling and showing a side that most people don't see, a side that can only be shown in your images and with your props.
To be continued, engagement props, children props, maternity props, boudoir props, etc. Hopefully this DIY prop excerpt helps