Ask A Wedding Photographer // Props, and Why You Don't Need Them

Photo by Nicole Cross of  43rd Ave Photography

Photo by Nicole Cross of 43rd Ave Photography

This post was originally shared on the Forty-Third Ave Photography blog

We're about to get into a discussion about engagement photography, but first I’d like to get something out of the way. I don’t necessarily have anything against props, I just don’t think you need them to come away with images you will love. And I’m going to tell you why. And I’m also going to tell you that this is purely my opinion.

This post isn’t meant to diss people who are really into props and styling and have a whole story planned out in their head. This post is for people who think they’re supposed to have props because that’s what other people are doing and could use a little reassurance that they are not missing out.


But, regardless of how well the picture is taken, I always find myself wondering how that vintage wing-back chair arrived at the middle of that field...and how heavy it is...and whether it is now ruined and filled with bugs...and where can I score a chair like that for my living room? And all of this is really distracting. I would rather have the attention on the people I am photographing because I think they are infinitely more interesting than even the coolest old piano in the middle of an enchanted-looking forest.

Heavily stylized shoots are hugely popular right now, but trends end. If you want your photos to stand the test of time you might consider a location that speaks to you and your tastes and maybe a few small-scale items that set the scene, like a blanket to sit on or a couple glasses of your favorite wine, rather than going with a full-on theme. I understand the fun that can be had when playing a character, but I also want people to consider that it may be just as much fun to be themselves. All of this to say, simplicity allows the pictures to focus on you, which is a good thing. Especially if you ask me.

I hope this post is helpful to a few people who are on the fence about props, rather than offensive to those who are certain that they want them. As with most choices in life, I believe you should do whatever the hell you want, so go do that!

If you found this post helpful, please share it! If you are super pissed, let me know in the comments. But let's keep it clean, okay?

Nicole Cross of 43rd Ave Photography

I'm Nicole Cross, owner and photo taker of 43rd Ave Photography in San Francisco. My focus is taking candid pictures that will remind you of what your wedding day was like—because they actually show what your wedding day was like. It's my goal to photograph all the little moments as they happen. Because those moments—the smiles, laughs, reactions and relationships—are what will remind you of how that day felt. And that's what I'm after.