Props or No Props, That is One Question | Knoxville Family Photographer

Heeelllooo, Friends and Happy Tuesday!

My Family Portraits Tuesday’s Tip for this Week::  Keep the Use of Props Minimal and Realistic

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Minimal and Realistic

Keeping the use of props as minimal and realistic as possible helps keep the focus of the images on the connection between people.  And, connection is what every good image is made out of.  So let’s go over some quick basics of using props in family photos:

  • Consider Color.  Unless you are looking for a pop of color for your images, typically choosing props in the neutral color families is best.  Plan against the color of your clothing and surroundings.
  • Say Something.  Frames, Chalkboards, Signs, and Large Letters can create a fun and festive way to express a specific message.  For example- Spell Out Your Last Name, Share that You are Expecting a Baby, or that You Have Set a Wedding Date.
  • Meaning is a Must.  Incorporating items into your family photography session that have meaning to your family can really draw in the personalization of your images.  Does your family love to bike?  Maybe you would like to include your bikes?  Are you the get-away seekers?  Let’s stage in front of your remodeled Dutch Craft.  Whatever your hobbies, this is a great place to look for props that will highlight your personalities.
  • Let Kids be Kids.  Bring along your toddlers favorite toy or lovie.  And, I know this may seem against all parenting suggestions…but, allow your teen to bring their phone, earbuds, or favorite electronics.  Why?  Because while we will never use the selected items in every picture, creating images that are the essence of who each of you are right now is the memories you will have for tomorrow.

Photo Props Ideas for Family Photos

Featuring an object in your photos can add interest and personality to your pictures.  Let’s look at a few of my favorite family photo prop ideas.

  • Bouquet of Wildflowers
  • Balloons
  • Bubbles
  • Frames & Chalkboards
  • Blankets & Quilts
  • Fabulous Shoes
  • Hats, Scarves, or Flowers Crowns
  • Letters to Spell-Out Your Last Name
  • Bikes or Outside Play Gear
  • Sports Equipment
  • Musical Instruments
  • Books
  • Child’s Toy or Lovie
  • Hang a Hammock
  • Wagon
  • Photo Booth Props
  • Banner Sign
  • A-Frame Ladder

It Really Is About You

I do love props that give personality and a little spunk to images.  But, ultimately, these images are about you and your family.  Remember, the use of props is not necessary and should be kept to a few of your session’s pictures.  If your family decides to use props, pick one or two and let’s go with it.  Focusing on you, your family, and the connections between each of you and your surroundings is my goal.  No props needed for that ❤️

Happy Planning!

With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio, Knoxville


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meet sarah


I have an affinity to all things light and airy.  I love color, sunshine, romance, and laughter.  I love inspirational quotes, meeting new people, flowers, and the idea of finishing a great book.  My go-to drink is coffee.  My outlet is dance.  And, aallllll of my free time is spent with my crew, including our German Shepherd, Gaia.   

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Hi there!  I am Real Estate Photographer, Sarah Keenan.  Raised in East Tennessee and a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and all that offers runs deep for this gal.  Having worked in photography for over 14 years, I am excited to be back home and working along side folks like you.

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