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.
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.
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.
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 to 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.