Portrait photography

Portrait Photography Masterclass Part 3: Incorporating Props into Portraits

Watch the video: Portraits with accessories

Here we focus on including props in your portrait. Accessories can add enormous style and personality to portraits and are a useful addition to any photographer’s bag, you may even have some in your home already.

There’s no end to the amount of props and props you can use to add personality, set the scene, or even add storytelling to your photo. Take inspiration from the things around you and the items you’ve spotted in stores. The trick is knowing how many props you need before it becomes too much, because it’s easy to overdo it.

For our main portrait shot, we decided to keep it simple and show how a small piece of red fabric can be used in different combinations to achieve a variety of looks. Keeping both hands free allows the model to really express themselves through their poses and facial expressions. Let’s go!

01 Headgear

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

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Headwear can add a lot of personality to your photos. There are many types to try, traditional, cultural, fashionable and bespoke headdresses. Keep a few colorful hats and scarves on hand in your home studio to quickly create new looks.

02 Flowers

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

The flowers are elegant and versatile. They can be used to add complementary colors to your photography. You can use them in your models hair (ask first, of course), have your model hold a bouquet or a single stem, or decorate the scene with flowers in a vase.

03 Play with hair and makeup

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

Hair and makeup should match the style of the portrait. A makeup artist can add a specific application for creative themed sessions. If you prefer to keep it simple, you can try things like the lipstick and nail polish we’ve used here, which work well for grabbing the viewer’s attention.

04 Lighting

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

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Take extra care when lighting highly reflective items such as jewelry. Diffuse the light and start with your light positioned at a 45º angle to the model. Make sure details and textures are visible and not overexposed.

05 Holding Props

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

One way to include props in your scene is to have your model holding the object. Direct the model to make the hands delicate and vary the height in the frame to make the position natural, as well as to obtain a good photographic composition.

06 Make a mood board

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

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When planning your photo shoot, gather your ideas and share them with the model. This helps explain the mood and style of the images you want to achieve. Collect images that inspire you or sketch ideas that you have in mind. Pinterest is a great place to gather ideas, share and collaborate.

07 Start collecting

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

Look around and see if there is anything you could incorporate into your portraits. Think of things to hold, wear, or have as part of the scene. Collect accessories and accessories like scarves, fabric and jewelry and they will spark your creativity and give you ideas to try.

08 Switch up your style

(Image credit: Natasha J Bella)

Instead of trying to fit everything into one shot, take lots of them with different looks. Ask your model to adjust what they’re wearing if it seems distracting, and try using props in different ways, with different lights and backgrounds that will maximize the variety of looks you can get from just one. filming.

Read more:

The best cameras for portraits (opens in a new tab)
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The best flash triggers for your camera
10 Best Online Photography Courses (opens in a new tab) – from beginners guides to masterclasses