“Props” sounds a little contrived, so let’s just talk about Cool Stuff you may want to bring along that could be a part of the photo shoot. These items, used tastefully and creatively, can spice up your photos and help reflect your family’s personality and style.
I usually take at least a few group shots with everyone sitting on the ground. I have some basic fleece blankets that I always carry, but if you have a favorite picnic blanket or family quilt, it’s nice to have something special to you.
For the kids, how about their favorite book(s) or stuffed animal? Maybe even a tricycle or little red wagon? All of these can add a little whimsy to your photographs and it’s neat to look back 20 years from now and say, aw, there’s a great picture of 5 year old Billy with Mr. Whiskers, the walrus that he dragged around with him for 3 years. Mr. Whiskers may not hold up for two decades, but the photos will. I should caveat this by saying if you don’t want Mr. Whiskers in 99% of the shots, it may be best to hide him until you’ve had some shots without the furry friend (or lovey or Tonka truck…) I usually have bubbles and sidewalk chalk with me on a shoot, but if there’s something else along those lines that always gets your kids smiling, bring it along!
Fun use of "stuff"
They are a part of the family. And if you have a well-behaved friendly Fido who wants to be part of the family portrait, then consider bringing him along. I would suggest perhaps also bringing along a helper to hold Fido while he’s not in the shot. It’s hard to take a serene family photo if you’re having to yell at the dog to stop chasing squirrels.
Food and Drink
By all means, bring along snacks and drinks. But also remember that chances are they will end up in some photos, so if your little ones use sippy cups, try to bring ones that coordinate with their outfit or at least are solid color (as opposed to a cartoon character.) You can put treats like goldfish or what have you in plain brown bags or even a little colored gift bag and it would look really cute in a photo.
For the adults, think about your favorite drinks and snacks as well. Love Coke? Bring along some old-fashioned bottle cokes for a few photos. Obsessed with bubble gum? Blow a few bubbles for the camera. What’s your favorite fruit? Bring a basket of apples or limes and we can incorporate them into some shots.
While the main focus of your images will be your beautiful happy faces, don't hesitate to get a little creative with "stuff" and have some fun!