As a photographer, I’ve seen and taken lots of portraits of smiling faces and people posing against solid backgrounds. It’s the person’s persona and facial expressions you’re truly after.
Yet if you take hundreds of images again and again of your child’s smiling face, it can become a bit monotonous. Sure the background colors change, and your child’s head tips a slightly different way. But there’s only so much of that you can take.
Which is why it may be time to introduce other things into your portraits … props.
Props are more than a child’s favourite toy, or a chair to pose on. They actually become artifacts of our culture and time. They become the unexpected element in your photographs ... the glue that ties everything together.
Props can help tell the story of your child’s life, too. If your child spends hours upon hours in his room filled with beloved dinosaur models and toys, why not use them to represent this time in his life?
For some more ideas, use these as your starting point. Then be creative, and have fun shooting.
Bicycles – Bicycles can literally be a part of your daily life. If you ride daily, why not showcase your family in your favourite location? You don’t have to riding; prop them against a tree, and enjoy some family time with them in the background.
Chairs – Does your child have a miniature rocking chair, or a comfy chair they snuggle into to read? Don’t crop out the chair, instead make that the focal point of your photograph.
Photos of Photos - Have a favourite photo of your child from the past? Use it to create another unique photographic experience.
Bubbles – Not only can you get some great images of your child blowing bubbles, have them running through them, or even jumping in the air to pop them. This can be hours of entertainment for you and your child.
Bean Bags – A bean bag chair can be used in a variety of ways, both inside and out. You can sit in multiple positions, and use it to hold up just about anything.
Mirrors – Not only can you use mirrors to create a dynamic scene, you can also use it to capture a child from a different vantage point. Use small handheld mirrors to capture small features, such as the eyes. Or use a full length mirror for perspective.
Adult Clothing – Kids love dress up. Why not pull out a large jacket or shirt, daddy’s shoes, and even your large sun hat. Then let the magic begin.
Wedding Attire - Do you have your old wedding dress? Why not let your little girl play dress up? The image will be both cute and memorable. Add hats, pearls, gloves and purses, and you’ll have a fun day of interaction.
Blocks – Gather blocks in all kinds of sizes and shapes. Large blocks can be used for posing or for building fun and unique settings. Or use small lettered blocks to spell out your favourite words. Your child’s name, calendar year, and even sayings like “Happy Fathers Day” will create happy memories for all.