Look at my son. Sigh. This photo was taken almost nine million years ago at a photo shoot for my former employer who had a last minute need for a baby model.
Although I am usually opposed to studio photography, there is something about it that’s easy to look at. I guess that’s why our generation’s parents took us to Kmart for portraits all those years.
Well gone are the days of Sears Portrait Studios, or JC Penney, with their free 8×10 offer. I guess every one who owns a fancy camera has put them out of business.
Your assignment this week: Build your own temporary “portrait studio”.
Create a blank space in a corner of your home so that you can achieve the type of simple photo we got from department stores in the past. Cheesy or adorable – there is a fine line. And when it comes to your own baby, I’m guessing you’ll side with “adorable”.
Try taping a sheet to the wall so that it drapes down on the floor and placing your baby on it.
Here’s what the pros use, so you can get the idea of how a backdrop is created. This gives your eyes a rest from the clutter of your home. Oh, sorry, is that just my home?
Experiment with a prop or two, such as a single stuffed animal or a stool that your baby likes to pull up on. You can try for a more interesting background with textiles you may have around your house. Did you know that people who set up a lot of photos buy backgrounds like this vinyl photo of brick and wood? What the what?
On Amazon or Ebay, you’ll find all sorts of backgrounds that give the illusion of barn siding or brick walls or weathered shutters or decorative wall paper. But I warn you, if you don’t have the right lighting, your photos will not look like your fantasies. However, some of the backdrops are less then $10, so maybe it’s fun to try them out. (Browse a few options >)
My professional advice (and yes, having done casting for catalogs, I am actually qualified to give this) is to have your baby wear something timeless such as a solid colored onesie and jeans or overalls. The more skin you show, the better. Bare feet and bare arms make baby photography even more irresistible. Solid Cotton Leggings + Bare Feet = One Cute Picture.
No clean sheet? Just move some furniture out of the way and use a spot where the wall meets the floor.
And my final words of wisdom: Keep a bib on your baby until you are ready to snap that shutter to avoid drool marks on the shirt.
[Photo of baby in bib: Sharon Montrose]