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To prop or not to prop- styling your engagement shoot. Fine art film photography.


The email arrived the day before the shoot. It read quite panicked, stressed and anxious. It read… ” I just realised we need some props. What should we bring? We don’t have any signs with our wedding day on, or photo frames with quotes in, we don’t have any vintage tea cups and saucers or love heart cushions. Is this ok? What else could we bring. Can you help?”

One of my couples had been looking through engagement shoots on google and had suddenly worried they needed to style their engagement shoot with lots of props and details and with less than 24 hours to go they were getting very anxious. Would it be a shoot without props? Would it look styled and pretty? Did they need props to show their personality?

My advice was that props are not needed. Not one. They didn’t have to rush off and find something funky to add to their shoot. There are other ways of personalising a shoot and if props were not them, then there was no need to add them.

Engagement shoots are about many things. For my clients it’s designed to help them relax, get used to the camera, being photographed, get to know me, build their trust in me. For me it’s about finding out about the couple, helping them look as fabulous as possible and keeping them relaxed and happy. We don’t need props to do that.

Of course some people love props and have things important and special to them, and we can weave those into a shoot if that’s wanted.

But so often the location can be our detail. The florals, the textures, the light.






For me, clothing is more important than props.

I would always encourage couples to really think about how they are going to look in their shoot. What are you going to wear? Do the colours compliment each other, do you feel happy and comfortable in the outfit, are you confident about the outfit. We discuss colours and tones, we might add beautiful details such as the floral crown in these shots, or perhaps a beautiful jacket or fabulous floor skimming gown. For the chaps style is just as important, so again we might discuss colours and patterns, making sure the overall look blends nicely.

You might have some pretty items of jewellery or favourite flowers you’d like to bring. Perhaps some favourite shoes, or a jacket which goes with everything and you adore. You might like to bring some of your wedding stationery, or little pieces running through your day, anything which connects with you, resonates with you both can be a lovely touch.

Having your hair and make up done before the shoot can always really help boost your confidence and help you feel fabulous. So it’s worth investing in that too.



There can be so many details to capture on a shoot without you even realising it. The surroundings can often be so inspiring and beautiful, full of details and memories of the day. The scent of the roses in the garden, the beautiful bird which lands on the lawn as you walk by, the leaves falling from the trees, the scent of lavender as you brush past…..all these can be connected to an image and a memory of an amazing day.

Of course props maybe a hugely important part of the shoot for you. Your house maybe filled with vintage styling and you may really want to show that in your shoot, or you may both love vintage records or artwork, whatever is true to you both can be added. The key is that the props are significant and help tell your story. That they are not just there for the sake of adding some detail. Let them tell more of your love story and add, not detract from the shoot. I can put you in touch with some wonderful stylists to help too, just ask.

The real key to a wonderful engagement shoot, full of happiness, stylish and chic is to be true to who you are. Let the shoot reflect you, your location, and if props don’t fit that at all, that’s ok. You honestly do not need to add props.



If you’d like to book an engagement shoot with me complete with a styling advice session, drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you. cat@cathepplephotography.com




Fuji 400H.

All images scanned and processed at Richard photo lab.