Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Using a chair as a prop to photograph your kids

I always try to create a mixture of candid shots, tight close ups and planned posed shots. For the more posed portraits, I will often use a chair as a prop.  It's not surprising that you would find a couch or chair in a portrait studio but it's a little more unexpected in an outdoor photoshoot location. The fact that a nice-looking chair is out of place in a natural setting is one of the reasons photographers commonly use this prop during portrait sessions. Kids will often have a hard time standing still in one place, but I've found that offering them a chair to sit in makes it a lot easier. It's also a great way to encourage and control interactions between siblings. For the same reasons photographers like to use chairs outside, the prop is a great idea for parents trying to take more posed portraits of their kids in a natural setting.  

Here are some things to consider when selecting a chair for your session.

(1) The chair, clothing and setting you use should all look good together.
When you are trying to create a more purposeful, styled portrait of your kids you must consider elements of design, such as color and texture, and how the visual elements of your photograph will all work together. This means that the color, texture and type of chair you select should go with the clothing and surroundings you will use.

(2) Size matters.
Consider the size of the child who will use the chair. A large chair can swallow up a toddler and steal some attention away from the subject of the photograph. One way to avoid this is to ask small children to sit on the edge of the chair not against the very back of it.

(3) Anything can be a "chair."
The "chair" you select does not necessarily need to be a chair. Below are a couple examples of objects I used for past sessions.

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