Using a simple prop in your photos can make it fun and interesting

Using a simple prop in your photos can make it fun and interesting

“The Glasses” – A start of a new portrait series

Since I had a couple of days free this past weekend I decided to have some fun and goof around at home by taking some silly portraits using an old pair of vintage eyeglasses I found at a local goodwill for $1. ย I bought the glasses with the purpose of using them for goofy portraits. When I saw the glasses and had my son’s friend put them on he looked quite a lunatic. It seemed to change his personality which I found interesting. I snapped his pic and of course we all laughed. Yep, a simple “prop” could not only make a fun photo but maybe, possibly a new series of photos that can give you something creative to think about and create. It sparked a silly idea in my head and gave me something fun to try.

I told my son to put them on and I saw the same thing so I bought them and brought them home. I mean, where else can you get fun like this for $1? Later that night I snapped a photo of my son wearing them while outside at 10PM. I used the light by the door to illuminate his face and set the camera to ISO 1600. With those huge frames he kind of resembles a young Bill Gates, or a geeky inventor.

I then had my buddy put them on and he took a knife and made a menacing face..almost Serial Killer like, so I said “you look like a serial killer”! Then Katie, my soon to be stepdaughter put them on and she became the “pyromaniac”.

After these three shots I decided to keep going with these glasses for the next year and when I meet someone or find someone willing I am going to tell them to put them on for a portrait while they tell me what they feel the glasses make them look and feel like. Should be fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Could an old pair of glasses bring out a personality we never knew existed? Probably not, but possibly. Either way it should be interesting and I look forward to seeing what I can get over the next year ๐Ÿ™‚ The images below were shot with the Leica Monochrom but I am not limiting myself to using that camera. Future images may be taken with the M, Sony RX1 or even a Fuji or Olympus but I will keep them all B&W.

If you ever get bored and have nothing to shoot try using a simple prop and see what you can drum up!

For those who are wondering, the 1st two shots were with the 50 Lux ASPH and the 3rd was with the Zeiss Sonnar 1.5 at 1.5 and you can see the differences for sure, at least I can. I am loving both lenses but that Sonnar… is rockin’.

The Inventor


The Serial Killer


The Pyromaniac



  1. oh no!
    the glasses!
    they look like the glasses every single creeper on americas most wanted use to wear!
    my friends n family refer to them as “pedo glasses”
    and always say “that guys van has no windows”

    • The school bully used to “pop the lenses” out of my glasses with his boots. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use the frames for anything once he had finished with them, The only “glare” he got was the angry one I gave him, LOL!

  2. I wonder if you remove the titles of each photo will you be able to determine what you’re trying to convey?

    And to that note, without the knife the “The Serial Killer” will just be “The Frustated Inventor”. Also without the lighter, it’s just a girl leaning against the wall with glasses too big for her.

    • If you remove the titles of his photos, they still carry a lot more meaning and are much nicer than your comment.

      • @jacques: Yes, please don’t misconstrude my statement. The question is valid and so are my points. Remember the saying “picture paints a thousand words”. Even without the title the photos should still hold their own.

        • Did you miss the title of the article “Using simple props..”?
          The whole point of this piece is using props!

          And yet you complain about Steve using props…

          And then you complain about titles..

          Why do books have titles? Why do paintings have titles? Why did Michelangelo call the painting of that subdued looking woman Mona Lisa? Shouldn’t he have just not named it, as if it was any good it would have stood on it’s own merit! What was he thinking?!

          And that hack Ansel Adams! Why did he name that photo of his “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”? Didn’t he know it didn’t need a title?

          By the way, the phrase is not “A picture paints a thousand words’, but “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

          • @Huss: Are you comparing these photos to the Mona Lisa and Ansel Adams? If so, then I can think of one person who needs glasses.

            My mistake about the phrase. It wasn’t a saying, but rather the opening lyrics of the song ‘If’ by Bread.

    • “And to that note”… without the glasses, the photos would just be of people, and without the people, the photos would just be of the background….

  3. Hi Steve

    It was exciting images. I looked briefly at the first email I got, without reading the text. Something with the pictures caught my eye but I could not see that they had the same glasses. I did not even see the knife or lighter. Maybe I looked a little too hastily. But there was something exciting.

    Only now I read the text and I think that your idea is fun. Sure, the portraits have a different focus when “all the same”.

    By the way. The same kind of eyewear is big fashion in Europe. Especially on girls as your stepdaughter. She had melted into Milan, Barcelona, โ€‹โ€‹Stockholm, Paris or Copenhagen ๐Ÿ™‚

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