I love photography props
I have a lovely hobby taking photographs of beautiful pregnant ladies, babies and happy families. Over the last couple of years I have started earning a nice amount of pocket money and have met some great people who have recommended me to their friends. It all happened by accident really, my husband has always been interested in photography and has a great eye for detail so treated himself, almost 5 years ago, to a Canon EOS 40D at the airport in duty free!
I would play about with it, watch him take beautiful pictures and was so proud when friends of friends asked, and paid him, to photograph their weddings.
It wasn't that I wanted a slice of the action, I just started using the camera more and quite naturally have taken over as the resident photographer in our household.
I would always say I am an aspiring photographer. I have never been on a photography course and have absolutely no qualifications. I just see something and use the camera's amazing capability to capture it in the best way I can.
My cousin is hoping to start a similar family photography business to earn some money when her smallest baby gets older and has done some great preparation by attending a number of courses. We regularly have the same discussion. She says "but how do you know to take it like that?" To why I reply, "I don't, I just know in my mind how I want the photograph to look and let the camera do it's thing!" Of course I am not a complete dummy when it comes to the technical aspects of the SLR but I think the best thing, about the photographs I take, is that they show exactly what I see, the way I want others to see it.
I didn't really set out to use props when it came to my family sessions, I have just gradually amassed a collection of charming things that enhance both the photographs and, I hope, the experience.
I love ribbons and use them in anything I can. I wrap them round a beautiful bump, let a baby get tangled amongst them and use them like a washing line with cute little bird pegs.
Although my photographs may be too cutesy for some, and I am positive they are not technically perfect, I love them. I found some wooden pastel blocks, a few years ago, from John Crane which look fantastic against the black background. They only seem to make the primary colour ones now so I am glad I have my set! I always photograph people against a black background as I love that the colour of your eyes just pop against the black, plus it is kinder to pale baby skin, which sometimes I find can merge into a white background.
I bought these giant letter cards, which have a circus feel to the font and always arrange them around the families bare feet!
My most recent find was this miniature dresser. I saw it through the window of a gift shop and marched straight in and said I'll have it! I hadn't even looked at the price at that point! I just need to find a mini tea set so little girls can play kitchens!
I also found an old, little, distressed wooden chair which will be perfect for my initial shot, where I peg the child's initial to a really long ribbon and drape it around the back of the chair. The child always can't resist a fiddle of the ribbon and it makes a wonderful photo.
I adore all the newborn photography that feature the knitted hats. Our friends recently had the most incredible photographs of their newborn son wrapped up in all sorts of knitted cocoons. But I appreciate, that as much as I would love to take photographs like that, you can't force someone else's style onto your photographs, no matter how much you admire theirs.
I want to take photographs that reflect me and reflect the kind of photographs I would love of my own children.
My prop basket, it is in fact a large picnic basket, is full of me! It is great to draw inspiration from others and one day my photographs might inspire someone else but always remember to be true to you. Don't copy others or try to replicate them, just wait for your own style to evolve!
Sometimes you don't need any props at all - this is one of my favourite photographs and it needed nothing but those big beautiful blue peepers!
I love the use of props and the best thing is that your collection can change and grow as your style and taste matures. I just need a bigger basket!