• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Have you ever seen those dreary plain and boring images as you scroll through your Instagram feed? The images feel lifeless, like a waste of studio time and a model’s portfolio slot. So how can photographers, especially fashion photographers, ensure that their work doesn’t bore their audiences to death?

The solution might lie in Props or as formally referred to as; Property in the old days.

1. Why Should Fashion Photographers Use Props?

Props give an image life and character, these combined empower a photographer to tap into thematic social issues, to entertain, and to narrate stories with each photo. Photos that infuse the right props can be incredibly emotive, transferring the photographer’s or director’s feelings to a diverse audience regardless of the audience’s mastery of the said photographer’s language. Visual aids to visual communication that is why anyone should use props in their imagery.

2. Types of Props For Fashion Photography.

2.1 Color Blocking Props.

These are props that match your color blocking theme during a fashion photoshoot, color blocking props simulate a feeling of congruence with the lighting a photographer is using, the clothes on a model, and the accessories on a model. As they serve the purpose of enhancing, contrasting, and blending with the colors on a fashion photographer’s set, they can be colorful. These props don’t place focus on their materials or composition or even their shapes and sizes, they only serve the purpose of highlighting and coordinating color on set.

Take a look at the photo below, we used bright yellow cardboard with a chocolate-skinned model against a darker yellow background. The result is a playful feel that not only the model conveys but the overall composition of the photo brings out as well.

Model Daudi Wanjiku Poses for a themed photoshoot. Photo: Samuel K. Marira.

2.2 Costume Props.

Costume props are props that an actor can wear to play a role or be depicted as a character or as an avatar. A good example of a costume prop is a Halloween costume or even some Halloween makeup that requires embedded accessories to put together the desired look. Costume props are not limited to entire body outfits, they can also be costume accessories and are not confined to their sizes and body ratios.

See the below image with a green net being used as a prop to bring in a sensation of mischieve.

2.3 Set Props.

Set props are items that are placed strategically to give life to the frame of the photo. Set props maybe furniture and other bulky items that are movable and not necessarily built into the set or the frame space of the fashion photographer’s themed shoot. Items that may come in handy as set frames include; potted plants, rugs, tables, lamps, and even trunks.

For fashion photography, it is vital that set props enhance or fuse with the lighting recommendations determined by the photographer or the gaffer. Set props that blend in with the overall lighting of the set tend to convey mood and compliment the overall aesthetics of the photography, as opposed to set props that contrast with the lighting such props results in a dramatic effect that may be useful for some themed editorial and fashion photography.

In the image below the photographer experiments with a brown table as a set prop and an iron box as a handheld prop to create a chaotic but subtle dramatic effect.

2.4 Hand held props.

As the name suggests, these are props that a model carries in their hands. Hand-held props can be useful for commercial shoots where a certain product needs to be emphasized in the frame or the conceptual shoot.

In the image below our model handles two rackets as handheld props.

2.5 Green Props.

Green props are any artificial or live plants that may be used in a fashion photography set. These props give vibrancy and life to a set and add some element of playfulness that may be hard to achieve with all the above-mentioned props.

Wycliff Peter Oundo

Wycliff Peter Oundo is The founder and Chairperson of Vazi Couture, He is a Journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya and occasionally writes for VC.

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