I recently bought one of my favorite props - a vintage wooden crate. It cost about $20 (£10) on eBay (and about the same again in shipping but don't tell my husband that!) but if you had more time and a love of scouring old markets you could probably pick one up for just a few dollars. (I just like to do my shopping from the comfort of my living-room!) My one is actually a old wooden apple crate and it has some lovely faded writing on it which I love.
I think it must be the most versatile prop you can own for photographing children as you can do so many things with it, plus it's fitting for children of a variety of ages - from newborn to teenage. Just some of the things you can use it for:
- As a seat for your subject to sit on
- For your subject to stand on / jump off
- Fill with a blanket for newborn photography
- Older babies to sit in
- For you to stand on to get height over your subject
- Filled as a visual prop to be next to your subject
As for the last one, you can fill it with anything but some examples would be apples for a vintage apple crate, empty soda bottles for an pepsi crate....you get the idea.
For me personally I use it for Callum a lot to get some height off the ground, which helps me get level with him much more easily, and is especially useful for a close up. Also, it allows me to control seating in relation to where the sun is - kind of like creating your own outdoor studio! I find that children won't tend to stay in one place very long, but having some kind of fixture there for them to sit or stand on buys you a few minutes of them staying in one place. You can either include the box in your frame or just crop it out when framing in camera or afterwards in editing.
Here's a couple of examples when I've used it - in some you can't even see the box is there but I've used it to get good positioning in relation to the light at the time)
I've gathered a few other examples of a box used as a prop by other (more talented!) individuals than me to show you it in action with different age groups - just go to my Pinterest page and find the board Photography Props to have a look and be inspired!