Your Guide to Choosing Props for Your Photo Session

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Photo props can make or break a photograph — so should you bring a prop to your next photo session? Props don’t have to be something extravagant; a prop is any item used to support the photo’s subject or add additional meaning to a photo. Think about it: props are found in most of the photos you see when scrolling through social media. People use props to reveal their baby’s gender, announce engagements, and take memorable graduation photos.

We’ve always encouraged our clients to bring props to our Houston and New York City photography studios. Before grabbing your kid’s pet snake or football, you should take some time to determine the best prop choices. Props help make a portrait session more unique; they should be intentional choices that convey a meaningful message.

Your kid may hate his pet snake. They might own a football, but only play a couple of times in the summer with their neighbor friends. The idea is that you should select a prop that means something to the photo’s subject. Props should have a purpose that either shows off an interest or conveys a meaningful message. Does anything come to mind? Here are some things to consider when choosing props for your photo session:

Why You Should Think About Bringing a Photo Prop

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Our Houston photography studio is one of the best in the area. If you haven’t visited us yet, check out John’s virtual studio walking tour to see what we mean. It isn’t just our incredible set-up that makes John Glaser Photography a popular choice — we know how to give our clients an unforgettable experience! Getting in front of the camera should be fun. Props add interesting details to photos by supporting the storytelling, making the photos more unique, or by adding some context about the photo’s subject.

If you’re a bit nervous to get in front of the lens, incorporating a prop may make you feel more comfortable. Depending on the prop, props give you something to focus on while we capture you in your element!

Props Should Be Intentional

We only have a specific amount of time during our photo session, so it only makes sense to bring one (or two) props. It’s best to be selective and intentional with your prop choices! When you’re choosing your props, you should be confident that you’ll be able to look back on your photos and believe you made the right choice.

The siblings in the photo below decided to wear t-shirts representing their favorite rival college football teams. This family will always have this memorable image — the props help tell the story. One of the major benefits of using props is that it gives the photo character by bringing out your personality!

In a photo session without props, you may be holding your smile for a little longer than feels comfortable. It can feel a bit awkward to get in front of a professional photographer’s lens, but props help give the subject direction. What’s going to happen when you throw a football at a kid wearing a UT Austin shirt? He’s going to hook ‘em! 

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Props can definitely help make a photo more symbolic, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to bring a prop just because. Many of our portrait sessions don’t include props — the photos still turn out great! Props only work when the photo’s subjects feel a connection to the item. 

Props Should Bring Out Your Personality

What’s the point of bringing a photo prop if you’re not going to have fun with it? Your props should help you feel more comfortable to let loose in front of the camera.


Props aren’t just for human subjects. We’ve photographed nearly one-thousand dogs, so we’ve learned the importance of props in pet sessions. We have many different props that help get your pet’s attention — so they’re looking in the camera’s direction! As you can see in the photo below, a yummy treat was used as a prop to bring out this dog’s personality. Notice how the photo came to life because a prop was intentionally used to invoke emotion in the photo’s subject.

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4 Types of Photo Props (With Ideas!)

1. Creative Photo Props

Props don’t necessarily need to make a statement about you. You could choose to use a creative prop that simply makes the photo more fun. We’ve used bubbles, confetti, and other fun props to add texture to the shoot.

2. Industry-specific Photo Props

If you’d like to incorporate your career, you could bring some props that are specific to your industry and workplace.

3. Personal Photo Props

Looking to add a meaningful personal touch to your photos? You could bring a musical instrument, sports equipment, or even your dog! The main idea of personal props is to create a photo that really resonates with you.

4. Lifestyle Photo Props

The best photos are captured when the subject feels comfortable. While we’re not suggesting you bring your living room couch into our Houston photography studio, we typically have a few lifestyle prop options that will make your session feel cozy and relaxed.

People who originally believe they aren’t interested in including props are often surprised when choosing their favorite images from the shoot. We have a few props hidden up our sleeves in our New York City and Houston photography studios.

If you can’t think of any props to bring, we can add our John Glaser Photography magic touch if we feel it’s needed! One of the images with props may become your new favorite photo of yourself. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to ask about potential prop options for your upcoming photoshoot!

Your Session is About You, Not a Prop

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The session is about you. Props add a fun element to photos, but they shouldn’t be distracting. Whether you visit our Houston or New York photography studio, our highest priority is to capture photos of you that will last a lifetime. Props are a fun way to make you feel more comfortable and have more fun, but they’re not the most important part of the photo. You are!