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Geek Out: Spots and Props Edition

October 13, 2010

I am loving the creativity I’ve been seeing all week in engagement, wedding, love and anniversary shoots. Really, I’ve been blown away. Aside from hiring a creative photographer (note: I didn’t say expensive, I said creative) there are several things you can do to make sure your photos really shine your personalities through: Location (spots) and props.

One thing the lovely Sarah of My San Francisco Budget Wedding told me while we were trying to figure out what we wanted for props and locations for our engagement shoot was, and I’m paraphrasing here, you have to be sure the props suit you as a couple…if Tony and I were holding up accordions in our engagement shoot like some of these newer shoots, we’d have a lot of explaining to do later. (Sorry if I butchered that, Sarah, but I couldn’t find the comment…hopefully I didn’t just dream that up).

Anyway, the Geek Out installment for the week.

wedding props, photo props, engagement photos, wedding photos

I’m a huge fan of photo booths at weddings. Especially ones without a photographer, just a button, because I think people let out their crazy-photo-taking-side without someone spectating. Once that curtain closes – it’s snap, snap, snap…and you’ll uncover photos of your grandma dancing with Mardi Gras beads. At least that’s what I hope happens.

Anyway, we had a great time picking out props for our engagement shoot. I’m sure you’re oh-so-over our engagement photos. The props we chose were, for the most part, so personal. We eat ice cream as often as we can get our hands on some. We used a picnic basket I found from my dad’s childhood when we moved. My great-grandma made the quilt for me when I was in high school. We painted a few letters together to equal “LOVE” and used our own sunglasses and some print-off graphics we made.

I love this alternative to regular old painted or patterned letter cutouts for an engagement shoot. Crazy how much they can add! Found this gem on 100 Layer Cake.

This freaking fabulous sign deserves as many props as its ego can handle. But I also love the giant flower prop for the photo, which is also either the same or very similar as the centerpieces! So cute! From 100 Layer Cake.

Now for the semi-smilebooth-specific inspiration.

Isaiah and I both chuckled out loud at these fantastic smiley props as a hilarious alternative to mustaches (which, for the record, I’m not sick of yet) when we saw them on Rock’n Roll Bride.

wedding props, photo props

I am a sucker for a good-crazy-colored background. This one, found on Amazing Days Events, is actually from a whole post about cheap and rad smilebooth ideas.

One thing I especially love is when you use the cheapest, delightfully-tackiest props (sombreros, giant sunglasses, an inflatable palm tree) for the smilebooth and then have the photos in black and white. I’m sure you can imagine this rad set of photobooth shots from Luminaire Foto would just look like pure chaos in color. Black and white…and voila! Just a fun, classy time.

Even a plain white background would look f-r-e-s-h with these way colorful lips and mustaches. I found the right on Wise Oysters and the left on Thoughtfully Simple.

There are a ton of great ideas out there to use for inspiration for your props. As beautiful as every prop that every stylish couple uses, I can only speak from personal experience, but our props that were meaningful and natural to us were our favorites. If you’re not sure what that means or don’t have anything you can think of that’s particularly special prop-wise, take a look around at what the web has to offer and then try to personalize it to your tastes together. I was initially all about some lace doilies, Isaiah in a bow-tie and vest…but a quick “Whatchu talkin ’bout Lizzie?” set me straight. He almost had to slap me out of it. Kidding.

After browsing through my share (ahem: Days/Weeks…) of wedding porn, I ended up with the perfect location for our engagement shoot: Atop the Eiffel Tower, both of us in berets, a bright blue expanse of sky behind us while we clung to the tower without those unphotogenic harnesses from just one hand and one foot, our other hands clasped together. We would have died.

We ended up deciding to have our shoot done only in places we frequent. Recycled Books is a favorite of ours, lucky for us it looks like a dusty old antique bookstore…There’s an old-fashioned ice cream parlor on the Square that we stop in every chance we get and we happened upon some bright teal doors on the way home.

I love the location for this engagement shoot. The creek, the giant rockbed, their outfits (so dressy for a day at the creek) all make for a way-romantic shoot. Found this one on Rustic Romantic.

This engagement shoot is marvelous. The photography is stunning, it was shot in an abandoned prison and featured on Rock’n Roll Bride. Three things that make it extra awesome.

Engagement shoots done at home are, by far, my absolute favorite. If the sardine-sized box the management company so sweetly calls “an apartment” was even a tiny bit photogenic, we would have done ours here. And who doesn’t lose it a little every time they see some Feather Love Photography?

These mini-mobile-trailer shoots are among my favorites as well. They are just the cutest! (I know, I’ll calm down). I found this one on Love My Dress.

And the icing on the cake…if you just happen to have an old, badass looking airplane somewhere nearby…you know…just laying around…this is from Wedding Salon.

Sorry for the unusually long Geek Out, but there’s a lot to geek out about. If you haven’t already done the engagement-shoot-thang, there’s so much more inspiration out there for you creative folks that you can do for almost no money. Again, can’t stress enough, try to go somewhere you are comfortable and, preferably, have been before. If Isaiah and I were in a field of yellow flowers, we wouldn’t have known what to do with ourselves. Instead, we just sat down, ordered a delicious sundae…and let our fab photographer do the rest of the work moving us every which way.

Best of luck! We’re pumped about Template Thursdays tomorrow, getting a Halloween note together today! Do something badass this week, will ya?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 7:39 am

    that fighter jet is quite the prop! haha!

    i think biggie and tupac would make great props as well.

    • October 13, 2010 1:47 pm

      haha for sure…i’m not sure where you find one…tricky…green screen?

  2. October 13, 2010 9:05 am

    Dearest Lizzie, i am loving this post and its so inspiring! Loving the props and such wonderful tips!! Thanks so much for sharing this. Have a lovelymerry happy day and love to yoU!

  3. LemonBride permalink
    October 13, 2010 10:13 am

    Loving all of these!! Such great advice coming from a bride and a photographer 😉 Those props are so cute–I hadn’t seen those giant smiley-mouth pieces but I LOVE them! What a great find!

  4. October 13, 2010 10:58 am

    You got close enough. We scrapped the engagement shoot for budget reasons, but I’m tempted to stick it back in to give Tony, Bean and Bug a little bit of practice smiling instead of mugging for the camera. Holy bejeezers, those three cannot take a natural looking photo to save my life.

    My favorites of all of these are still the one of you and Isiah in the record/book store and the Feather Love photo of the couple sitting on their sofa reading a book (also I really, really want that braided rag rug). It must be all that time I spent studying the Northern European painters that makes me want to see props and surroundings that really tell me something about the couple instead of trying to make sense out of a random sofa in a field.

    • October 13, 2010 1:50 pm

      haha for sure…as cute as indoor furniture looks outside…i have to think that some of those couples are going to look back and be all: Why….was this bright orange dresser and mid-century desk outside…….in the first place?

  5. October 13, 2010 2:04 pm

    The giant flower is killer – will be using that in the future with clients!

  6. October 13, 2010 7:24 pm

    never apologize for geeking out! definitely do a photo booth at the wedding! they are some of my favorite photos from the day. I rewcommedn asking around to see what people have before investing in anything too crazy. costume stores are ridiculously expensive for some reason. also, I think your engagement shots are some of the sweetest most down to earth ones I’ve seen. also, they are totally adorable.

    • October 13, 2010 10:44 pm

      DEFINITELY agreed. my family’s weird trinkets will be all over that photobooth.
      thanks so much, lisa, that means a lot.

  7. October 14, 2010 1:36 am

    This is an awesome post! Love the photo booth idea and all those props are crazy fun – like you guys, I’m sure. The caravan shot is my favorite – lovely cozy setting. Now, if only the state recognizes my union. When they do, I’ll be coming to you for ideas – For now, I’ll oooh and ahhh from my laptop!

  8. October 14, 2010 9:31 am

    Very cute ideas for all of those wedding and engagement photos. Cristy and I didn’t invest much time planning or arranging any particular photographs and thankfully our photographer was able to capture some nice images my chance. But we did plan for 1 prop: a little wood framed slate chalkboard. We wrote Just Married across the chalkboard and posed for a picture right after the wedding was finished. The best photo with this prop came via one of our wedding guests.

  9. October 14, 2010 10:38 am

    wow! U sure put in a lot of effort in creating this post! Love the photo booth finds! I’m having one for my wedding too, gonna make use of my venue’s backdrop and probably hang a self-designed poster on it or something and then get a friend to man it for me… I hpe it works out fine!

  10. October 14, 2010 10:43 am

    Love this round up! Great ideas!! Love how creative engagement sessions are getting!

  11. October 14, 2010 12:31 pm

    Sigh. Seeing images of happy and enthusiastic people makes me want to take pictures with the mister. I think anniversary shoots or even just taking pictures once a year is great way to document the growth of a relationship.

    Now, I must convince my husband of doing this before the end of this year.

    Lovely picks!

  12. October 17, 2010 3:26 pm

    Hi again!! Beautiful post. I went to a bridal fayre today with my cousin, who’s getting married in the summer and is also working to a small budget – I had a ridiculous amount of fun. Can’t wait to show her your smilebooth ideas 😀 x


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