I have come to a point in my career that I subconsciously keep an eye out for items that may be useful as a prop. The funny thing is I never know when or where I'll find them, or what, for that matter.
Recently I was at the supermarket and I happened to walk past a shelf loaded up with those classic mass produced Coca-Cola glasses. As they were on sale and I could always use glasses like these I decided to pick up a set of four... and here is where the sickness starts.
I picked up a couple and was ready to just place them into my basket when I noticed a defect on the lip of one of the glasses. It was just a little excess of glass that made a noticeable lump on the lip of the glass. "This is no good," I thought to myself. That'll never photograph well. Then I noticed the seam line on the other glass. A very hard and very obvious seam line where the two halves of the mold come together in manufacturing. While I could not avoid a seam I could find glasses with a minimized seam. That's when it started.
I went through every single glass on that shelf looking for a set of four "suitable for photography" drinking glasses. Out of about forty glasses I came away with the best four of the bunch. Anyone watching me would have thought I had some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder, picking up one glass after the other, comparing it with the next, dismissing them on forensic fashion.
Here are a few criteria to judge whether you should buy a prop, in no particular order;
- Will you use that prop, either immediately or in the near future? The more use you get out of a prop the higher the return on your investment. Simple math.
- Is it a rare item that is difficult to acquire? If you are in a position to ever use that prop but will find it hard to acquire later it makes sense to grab it when opportunity presents itself.
- Is the price to good to refuse? Sometimes even items that won't get too much use are worth getting if they are bought at a significant savings.
So what have been some of your most unusual prop purchases? Was it worth it? Share your crazy prop gathering sickness stories here.