Never underestimate the magic of a prop!
One thing that I cannot stand in the world of portraits are overly staged and posed photos. They don't look natural to me. Toddlers don't just sit pretty. I want to see their little personalities shining through in the photos. I also want to see a family interacting, smiling, kissing, or whatever it may be in a way that is real and genuine.
I usually avoid props because they feel fake. Big mistake. They are fun, playful, and sometimes just what you need to get a beautiful and real photo.
BRING ON THE PROPS!
Last night I brought out this starfish for another super secret project I am working on. I noticed my son's interest in it, and decided to let him play with it even if that meant it would get broken. Turns out, he didn't break it. Instead he happily frolicked towards the sunset with it in hand. MAGIC!
Don't be afraid to try out some props the next time you shoot a portrait. I can't wait to experiment with more items.... maybe even some out of place ones.
Let's see what happens!