Plan For Success

Make the day as stress-free as possible by allowing lots of extra time to get ready. If need be, create a time line for yourself on the day of the session. Leave home earlier than you think you need to, and try to arrive 5-10 minutes early to your shoot to allow kids to settle. The more relaxed you are the more relaxed the family will be! If you are rushed and stressed, everyone feeds off that energy and it becomes a domino effect. So stay calm and carry on! 

Bring Props

Props can be great for shoots, especially if you want to highlight a product or give yourself something to do! Usual props are sunglasses, a laptop, notebook, your pet, or any tools you want to highlight for your business. They can also include a blanket to sit on, sentimental items, and more. Flowers all welcome on all photo shoots! 

While props are not the main focus of photos, it can be helpful if young children have favorite items to play with during the session and highlight important childhood or family items. Feel free to bring a coordinating blanket & any favorites your kiddos might have. (Leave any favorite items hidden in a bag to pull out later in the session!) Consider doing an activity together for part of the session – play a game, drink Starbucks, eat ice cream, read books, have a picnic, blow bubbles or something that you love doing together.

What Kind of Props Do I Bring?

Different props are great for different types of sessions. 

For a couple's session, including engagement, anniversary or even a wedding, here are a few of my favorite ideas. Think of things that add meaning to the situation, but are eye catching in the photos.

  • Do you enjoy listening to music together, reading books aloud, hiking, movies? Think about mutual interests and bring something that fits along those lines. A guitar or other musical instrument, books that you enjoy, your dogs or other pets.
  • Romance, think of things like the first gift from your significant other, the bottle of wine you shared on your first date that you saved, love letters that you wrote, sweet text messages you saved.
  • Get Creative, check out Michaels or Joanns and pick up wooden letters for your names, or spell out your last name, a small chalkboard that you can write on the wedding date, or Mr and Mrs, or last name, photo frames that you can use for a unique pose, a 'knot' for tying the 'knot', a photo of your families to add to the photo that is being taken of you two. Sidewalk chalk is always fun. Be sure to check for coupons online before you hit the store!

For the Family photo session, props can be a bit trickier, but almost more meaningful in some ways because you know exactly what the child does love and that can be included into the photo.

  • Bring your child's lovey. Always a favorite, always classic and a great memory, the child will always remember their lovey for a lifetime and its great to have some photos memorializing that. Plus, a lovey always makes a child more comfortable.
  • Blankets and anything from the child's room, quilts or chairs or books. All great for a prop.
  • Wagons or bikes, anything that is fun for the child to play with will produce great pics. The trick is getting the child to play with the toy and look up at the camera.  Sidewalk Chalk to write names, ages, dates, etc.

Maternity sessions offer a completely different set of fun ideas, while with a couple its all about 'them', a maternity session is all about the baby and mama (and dad too). Honoring the beautiful baby belly is a must. Here are a few ideas.

  • Photos, the ultrasound photo is a popular idea, or generational family photos to use in the photo session.
  • Anything for the baby's room, a blanket, stuffed animals, something passed down by another family member when you were pregnant, favorite shower gifts.
  • Adorn the belly, save ribbons from your baby shower to braid together for a bow to wrap around your belly. You can also write on the belly with a child safe marker, ('let me outta here', baby's name, due date, etc), an empty photo frame to put in front of the belly.
  • Baby clothes, pick your favorites, or baby shoes. Something that shows off your personality or families personality. Think converse tennis shoes or baby teva's or hiking boots.
  • Use toys, like blocks to spell out baby's name, or gender, or that its a surprise! Bring baby blankets or create a scene outside for the session with lots of things, in the grass, on a baby blanket, with toys all around the parents.


There are so many great props to include into your photo shoot. Having your children holding coordinating flowers for a Spring or Summer shoot can really set off a photo! Love sports? Consider using baseball bats in your next family photo shoot to bring out your passion! 

Here are a few tips for ways to incorporate props in your next photo session to make your images really shine!


While you might have recently seen a few photos that incorporate a specific prop, try not to use something that will look really dated in 20 years time. Classic is definitely better and there are so many fun options out there to choose from!


It’s easy to go wild when thinking of a theme for your photo session. You should decide on one that you can actually find props for. 

For example, if you’re looking to use seasonal props, try to source them during that season, as they’ll be easier to find. Or, maybe your dream is to remake your favorite movie scene for your shoot. First off, don’t let your dreams stay dreams, but think twice about whether you’ll be able to find suitable outfits for everyone in the photo. 


Sometimes, using larger props will work really well in your photo sessions. Don’t be afraid to think big, like using your grandpa’s farm tractor as a background piece. Or maybe even an airplane that’s in your family’s hangar. 

However, there are some larger props that can take away from the beauty of the photograph altogether. So make sure that your props enhance the photo and don’t detract from it.


If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or if you have a musical instrument that you treasure, try and incorporate it into your photos. This way, your pictures will have more meaning to you and your family.


Make the current season work to your advantage by using what you have available. Leaves in the fall make for amazing props in photos and don’t cost a thing! If it’s snowing, make snow angels with your loved ones.

Set your creativity free. When you can make clever use of the world around you, the sky’s the limit.

If you have questions about including certain items/props in your photo session, don't hesitate to contact me!