Not Using Props

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jlykins, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    A friend of mine has a portrait studio here in the Cincinnati area that has a different approach to portraiture. She prefers to not use any props, or what she calls "busy" clothing in her shots. She says that it makes the images more timeless. I agree to an extent but on the same hand I think she is excluding herself from a large portion of business because she doesn't use any props. For example my wife wanted to get my twins 2nd birthday picture done with a large "block" that had a 2 on it. Also I have done a lot of holiday pictures for parents that want the holiday theme in the photos. I just don't think one should limit themselfs like that. What do you guys think/do?
     
  2. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    Oh I almost forgot, if you want to check out her website and see her "timeless" photos it's http://www.boldsimplicity.com she really does good work IMHO.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To each their own.

    I will rarely do a shoot where all the shots have a prop. If I am using props, I'll be sure to take some shots without them.
     
  4. eyeye

    eyeye TPF Noob!

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    I guess I think props are old school. The block is very chain store portrait studio stuff. Which is fine if that is what you want, you go there. I think the modern trend is away from props and more simple or lifestyle.
     
  5. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I will preface my response by saying that I am not now a professional (I had a studio for 8 years back in the 80's and early 90's), have absolutely zero interest in ever being a professional again and do not sell my photography (except for Friday night HS football to a local newspaper... and I do that basically just to get in the games free and be able to walk the sideline.. the best seat in the house).

    I HATE props. I think they are overused, overrated and date pictures. They stifle creativity, and they are distracting.

    The reason that most people use them is that they can't think of good shots to take, IMHO... they are a quick way to get people in and out of the studio. While that may be good for the bottom line (it is, after all, a business) in the long run it equates to selling your soul to the devil of profits over quality.

    IMHO the best photographers don't use props... and frankly, who wants to be less than the best?

    Just my .02 psi.
     
  6. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    point taken. I just left a friends studio that's niche is children. They have a christmas scene setup with a tree, fake fireplace, and some other small things. They may be "department store ish" pictures but the quality is good. They do this not becuase they want a quick way out, but because these scenes are what the moms want. If they didn't use them, then they may be turing away lots of business. Like sabbath said, it is a business. Making money is what pays the bills. I use props when I need to, and then I don't when I don't need to. I think it's situation specific.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Anne Geddes uses a lot of props...and is very successful. That even trickles down to the rest of us...as some parents come asking for shots in that style. Point being that props don't necessarily hurt you.

    Props won't save bad photography, so props or not, if you are good it will show...and if you aren't that will show as well.
     
  8. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    Good point, good point.
     
  9. ddm1975

    ddm1975 TPF Noob!

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    I love your friends style! I agree with the fact that less is more - kwim? My kids school does the cheesy props for their portraits and I hate them. I think they are so much more professional and contemporary without them. :wink: But to each his own and I guess it is personal preference, but I prefer them without - in most cases.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Successful? Yes. But... I hate her stuff.

    Besides, we already have one Anne Geddes... we don't need 5000 copycats.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think she cares what you (or I) think. I'd guess she sleeps pretty well at night and the 'devil isn't coming for her soul'. :lol:

    I agree that having a bunch of copycats isn't the best scenario....but if there wasn't a demand for it, then people wouldn't do it. Just about every product or service that is in demand, will have copycats...like it or not.
     
  12. eyeye

    eyeye TPF Noob!

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    Agreed! :thumbup:

    I stopped using studios for my kids because I would go in (even small, "artist" owned ones) and say "I dont like props. No fake stuff, no wicker benches" and before I knew what hit me, I would watch as they proped my kids on iron benches, in tubs with a bunch of plastic apples, sitting next to stuffed animals with fake pearls around their necks. I kind of feel like its easy way out for the most part. I don't think its what parents all want, I think its what they expect. But if you had to do 12 sessions a day, I guess I would take the easy way out too.
     

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