Using Props in Landscape Photography

Overlooking the Sunrise

When many people think of props in photography they probably think immediately of portrait photography and the props that are used on or around the subject. When thinking the other day I came upon the realization that props don’t have to just apply to portraits but can also apply to landscapes as well. Why not? They can help to make a photo more interesting or increase the value of a photo. Whether put there by someone else or by you, props can help transform a landscape from something with little interest to something that stands out. Giving a landscape scene something to draw the eye to creates an anchor that keeps the viewer in the photo just a little longer. It can also create a balance to a photo as well.

In the above shot, while I didn’t place the bench there, I did use it as a prop for this photo intentionally. Some might not think of it as a prop, but I see it as one. Or if looking at it at another angle one could say that the bench is my main subject and mother nature has provided me with vegetation as props around the bench. Either way props were used in creating this photo.

Relaxing on the Beach

This photo on the other hand was not put together for me. The sand was there and the lines were already made, but the seashell was sitting elsewhere. Why does a prop need to be man made? Some may think that by creating your own scene for landscape photography can be cheating, but I say that as long as you don’t disrupt nature in its original state, such as killing or cutting things down, then why not use what is available to create the canvas in which you want to photograph? By using other natural elements in nature you can strategically place them in a landscape surrounding in order to create an interesting photo.

Sitting Alone

In this photo I thought the lighting was nice and the moss made a nice surrounding, but it felt like it was missing something. After taking a quick look around I found that there were acorns scattered across the ground. By placing the acorns in the photo I created an anchor for the eye to rest on. Otherwise to me the scene doesn’t seem to have a nice focus point.

Sunset with the Rocks

It’s getting harder and harder to create sunset and sunrise photos that are unique. This shot was taken on the side of the road in a ditch. There were plenty of rocks laying around. I didn’t choose this location because it was more interesting than any other along the road. I picked it because I was running out of time to get a shot. After laying down on the ground and experimenting with trying to get something I took notice of a couple of rocks that stood out from the others and decided to use them as props in the scene.

While I cannot carry a large bench in my pocket to have the luxury of setting up to photograph to make an interesting photo, I can carry small objects with me. Whether its a small interesting looking rock, a seashell, or an acorn, something that can create balance and make a photo interesting may be well worth it. Another lesson to take note by looking at the photos is that another way to bring attention to your subject is to have the right lighting. All of these shots were taken at sunrise or sunset toย use the light to help the subjects stand out more.

The next time you head out to capture some photos and notice and interesting object that is small but not quite in the right location to make a good photo, why not transport that small subject to a more appealing location to create your unique shot.

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Using Props in Landscape Photography

12 thoughts on “Using Props in Landscape Photography

    • Thanks Emilio! I’ve recently picked up a few acorns that I kept using for different shots and decided to just pack them away in my camera bag for future use until they are no longer usable. Having something small that it somewhat interesting in tow does help for experimenting to have something to focus on. I should be getting my 20mm f/1.8 lens this week so I’m looking forward to experimenting with that a bit when I get a chance in the coming weeks.

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      • I love the constant evolving and growth that this “hobby” forces me to do. And I enjoy whenever I get a chance to stop by here. You are definitely an inspiration- but don’t let it go to your head! ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Haha! You don’t have to worry about that. I’m constantly dissatisfied with my photos. I’m barely happy enough with half of them that I post. I agree with the statement that we are our own best critics. I do have a few photos that I want to print in hang but many of the photos I take don’t make the cut under my scrutiny. Lately, most of my photos have been from experimenting on different techniques rather than trying to get a good photo. I’m hoping to eventually fine tune these techniques and combine them to get better shots or at least be able to create unique shots when I visit other places. I’m happy when others like my stuff when I post it but that’s not why I post it. I guess I just like sharing what I do and hope to pass on some knowledge. That way others can benefit from my hours of labor on trying to get things figured out because I can’t seem to find information from anyone else. Either no one tries some of these things or they just don’t post about it on the internet where it’s easy to find.

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