Dance Photos and Fitness Photos: Working with Props

Working with props in a dance photo shoot or fitness photo shoot can be really effective or really cheesy…

It takes quite a bit of finessing to make props work well in dance and fitness photos.  Working with props is a fun choice for outdoor shoots as the weather gets warmer here in NYC, but they are more traditionally used in studio shoots.

Sarah Brower white chair dance photo

Sarah Brower

A variety of props, appropriate to your look and your objectives, work if you style them well, including fabric, leaves, flowers, strands.  A couple of weeks ago I pulled the bottom of a chair out of the recycling bin in our apartment building (yes, I troll for funky props for photoshoots, shhh).  We are starting to build up an eclectic mix  here at the studio, including a hand-less mannequin (that one was Anna’s find not mine, I’ll admit it!).

props for dance photo leaves
Jessica Cobb

To make the right choices so that props enhance, rather than distract or detract from your photos, remember these tips:

1) Pick lightweight props

The heavier the prop, the harder it is to make your body look good while working with it.

props for dance photo shoots
Turk Lewis, Complexions

2) If you are working with smoke make sure you disable the smoke alarm for the photo shoot

Smoke in a can, a smoke bomb, a smoke machine… anything of that nature, make sure to disable your smoke alarm first.  It’s not so fun to be in the middle of a really great shot and have to stop to grab the ladder to climb. Yup, happens all the time!

smoke props dance photos

Veronica Hernandez

Always remember to put the smoke alarm back in working order as soon as you are finished with the photo shoot.

3) It takes just as much time to get the props to look right as it does to get your body to look right

Think of adding a prop to a photo shoot  like adding a person… the more people in the shot the longer it takes to get a good one right?

props for dance photo shoots

Alexandra Adiel

Don’t leave the prop shot to the end of your shoot when you have only 5 minutes left.

4) Extra hands on the shoot are often necessary when working with props

You may need someone  on either side to throw the snow at your subject, not just one person.  OH, fake snow, by the way, super slippery.. beware of pointe shoes and snow!

white gossamer dance photo props

Courtney Lavine
5) Do not be afraid of your props!

I have saved an important prop photo tip for last.  Be careful of the expression on your face as you swing something around towards you, or throw it away from with all your energy.  This usually makes for the funniest faces before we focus on it for the shot.

hula hoop dance prop

Juliette Bosco

Are you working with props in dance and fitness photos?
Send me your prop photos for a photo contest… more details coming your way soon!
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