Don’t Go Broke on Studio Props

“Being an artist, I had an artist’s instincts….You can see the picture before it’s taken; then it’s up to you to get the camera to see.”— James Van Der Zee

Photographic props can be expensive and while there’s no doubt having a complex set and extensive props in your studio, even a home studio, can be effective in helping you pose subjects and increasing sales, you need to be able to generate enough income to afford them. Yup, it’s a Catch-22 situation, so why not start with a few inexpensive props and as your income grows add a few more until you can afford something more elaborate.

photo props ladder

1/125 sec at f/13 and ISO 200.

If all of your work is done on location, the props have to be small and portable—especially if you have a small car —and inexpensive as well because the one thing that’s endemic to shooting on location is losing stuff.

While shooting at my friend Jack Dean’s studio I borrowed a ladder he had sitting around. Lighting for this photograph was with a Dynalite SP2000 power pack and head system. The main light at camera left had a Chimera lightbank attached, fill was from another Chimera lightbank, the hair light had a small Chimera lightbank attached, and the fourth head illuminated the background.

photo props chair

1/125 sec at f/14 and ISO 200.

Here is the same lighting set-up with the same subject but a different mood. Pose is one of my favorites in which the subject is facing one way, the prop the other way. Just ask her to lean backwards get her legs at different angles and click.  Lighting for this photograph was made using the same set-up as the green dress shot and was made using a Rebel T2i and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (at 55mm.) Background for both photographs is the ‘Carbonite—inspired by Joe Farace‘ muslin from Silverlake Photo.

Author: Joe Farace

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