Tips And Tricks; Things I Wish I knew About A DIY Photo Shoot
With everything that was going on with her birthday: me feeling awful, and planning a trip to Disneyland (doesn’t take any planning), I managed to put together her two year old photo shoot. I have no idea how I pulled it off but I did and that’s all that matters. Well, my husband helped so that could be it. At first I was going to skip it this year, but I thought about it and I knew I would regret not doing it for her later on. I thought about taking her to get them done, but I’ve been photographing her since she was born, so I didn’t want to break tradition. I know I’m capable of taking decent photos. Plus, they can get expensive. Not to mention the posing can be a little weird and unnatural. And she’s not very receptive to strangers being in her space. Plus, I know if I did them myself, I would appreciate them more. I love photography and I would be disappointed in myself if I wasn’t hanging up my own work. I know it sounds weird.
I wanted to keep it simple and quick. She has a mind of her own at this point. I wasn’t sure how she would behave during the shoot so simplicity, I thought, would be best. What I used; Backdrop stand, Savage Seamless Background Paper, clamps to hold paper, tape to keep paper from moving, mylar balloons that spelled out “TWO”, thread to hold balloons, tutu, a birthday crown, and paper confetti. Camera I use is a Canon 6D Mark ii with the 35mm lens. Most of which you can order on Amazon, and you can always use cheaper alternatives. I didn’t always have this equipment. I’ve been slowly replacing it since she was born with the exception of my camera. It’s funny to think I used curtains and PVC pipes for my background when I first started taking her photos and this wrapping paper thing that looked like a wood floor. My equipment isn’t state of the art stuff but it’s been working out just fine, and it’s easier to setup and tear down.
I wanted soft contrasting colors for the theme of this shoot. I used light blue seamless paper, and I bought her this cute pink tutu that fit perfectly. The vision I had was her twirling like a ballerina while the confetti fell from above with the balloon letters in the background. I wanted this shoot to have more of a “big girl” feel. It was bright and fresh, not too much clutter with props. She does a great job of posing herself so props would’ve gotten in the way and distracted her. Having props was cute when she was smaller since all she could do was lay down or sit there, but now they just take up space in my house. I also wanted to keep her outfit simple. But of course, I made sure she had a crown. What kind of a photo shoot doesn’t involve a birthday crown? I think she’ll wear one for all of her birthday photos. At least until she tells me to stop making her wear them. But if she doesn’t tell me to stop, then I won’t. Even when she’s thirty I’ll still have her wear one.
So setup is the most exhausting part. It can be a hassle especially when you’re an unorganized person such as myself. But since I wasn’t doing too much, it wasn’t that bad this time (patting myself on the back). I would definitely recommend using an area that has lots of room with adequate lighting. If you’re adding props, a big space can help prevent bumping into things and give you room to move around easily when you’re shooting. Lighting is really important. I’m still trying to understand lighting. I know natural lighting is best. Knowing what time of day to shoot is key to optimizing natural light. This has been difficult for me to grasp, I think it may have something to do with the fact that I’d rather have a photo shoot in the morning but I don’t like to get up too early. I use to take photos when the sun was the harshest which then produces over exposed photos (not good). I was tempted to start at ten in the morning but the front of the house is in shade, meaning not a lot of light comes through and I would have to continuously change my settings. That takes time and I could potentially miss out on some really cute shots. I could’ve used my studio lights, but again, I didn’t want to do too much.
I am by no means a professional photographer, I’ve learned most of this stuff from watching Youtube videos or reading other photography blogs. It took awhile for me to figure out these hacks, I used the PVC pipes for over a year and I tried using a white sheet as a background once. That was awful, if you don’t have a steamer then be prepared to iron all the wrinkles by hand (me). This is why I’m writing this post. I’m hoping it would help another mama who is trying to take adorable photos of their kiddos.