Creating a Photoshoot at Home

My father once said that Henry will be the most photographed baby ever born.  Since we live in the day of digital photography, cell phone cameras, mini point and shoot cameras, and SLR cameras, that statement is definitely coming true.  We take pictures of our little guy pretty much every day – usually it’s just a snapshot to send to daddy at work or to say hi to his auntie and his grandmas who live far away.

But I like to have nice photos too.  I am not, however, a professional photographer (I’d like to be one day, but that’s another story) and I can’t afford to hire a professional every time I want some good shots.  So I decided early on that we would create our own photoshoots right in our own home.

It started when Henry was two weeks old.  Now I did hire my friend Melissa to take these photos since I was still out of it after giving birth just 16 days before.

It’s funny because at the time I still looked like I was pregnant  and nothing fit and the last thing I wanted was to be included in photos for the whole world to see.

But Melissa assured me that they would be fine and they are now some of my favorite pictures ever taken.

Fast forward a few weeks to when Henry was two months old.  I was on my own this time and  since I didn’t have any fancy props or drop cloths, I headed to JoAnn’s fabric store.  There I purchased five or six yards of cloth in basic colors: brown, white, gray, black, etc.

Then I chose the same spot in my bedroom where we had had the previous photos taken. Again, nothing fancy, just a spot by the window so that there was plenty of light.  A couple of pillows placed under the fabric to prop up the baby, and we were good to go.

We did the same thing at five months.

And then again at six months when cousin Drew was visiting.  Same bed, same window, same fabric drop cloth.

My point is, it was relatively easy to create my own photoshoots with these simple tools.   Admittedly Photoshop helps a bit after the pictures are taken, but I’m still able to get some good shots with a few basic items.

For Henry’s seven month photoshoot, however, I decided to spice things up a bit.  So we headed to Old Town in Alexandria, VA and went to the Potomac River Waterfront.  It was a beautiful day which made the lighting ideal, the temperature was nice, and Henry was in a decent mood (definitely key).  I sat him on a blanket and started snapping.

I found that the most important tool was the lighting.  As long as there was enough light, I was able to use my auto settings on the camera and then concentrate on getting Henry to smile.  Easier said than done, of course.

For our eight month session two weeks ago, Henry was able to sit up which gave us more options as to the location.  So we headed downtown to the U.S. Botanic Gardens and met up with daddy during his lunch break.

Again, nothing fancy… no props other than the park benches and the surrounding flowers.

And since the CPA was there, I even got to be in a shot or two.

Granted, by then Henry was pretty much done with the whole photoshoot concept so getting a good picture was almost impossible.  But hey – beggars can’t be choosers and I’ll take what I can get!

Do you create “photoshoots” at home?  What props do you use?  What’s your technique?


The Wife of Odie - October 18, 2010 - 5:39 am

aren’t you the cutest mom ever? i love those last two photos of you. and i can’t wait for our next photo shoot at thanksgiving :)

megan @ whatmegansmaking - October 18, 2010 - 6:07 am

Great post! And I think you’re pictures are awesome (and your son is cute) :) This is such a good reminder to make sure to get some good pictures, not just random snapshots.
.-= megan @ whatmegansmaking´s last blog ..Apple and Cheddar Scones =-.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor - October 18, 2010 - 7:44 am

Okay, I can get light and I can get fabric but Tabitha? You have an artistic eye that I just can’t purchase anywhere!
.-= Mindee@ourfrontdoor´s last blog ..I Finally Found A Use For These! =-.

admin - October 18, 2010 - 7:50 am

awww… Mindee – you’re so sweet! Especially considering that I look at other people’s photos and think “man, I wish I had thought of that pose”!

Sara - October 18, 2010 - 7:55 am

What a great idea to get fabric for backdrops! Simple but I never would’ve thought of that one. You are so talented–your photos are just beautiful.
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Butternut squash puree =-.

Kristina P. - October 18, 2010 - 8:28 am

You did a great job! He sure is beautiful.
.-= Kristina P.´s last blog ..Every Night Has Been a Dark Knight =-.

Casper - October 18, 2010 - 8:54 am

What a great idea. This is also my plan once my little girl comes along. I love great looking photos but won’t be hiring someone each time I want some. Nor am I a fan of the “Sears Studio” type photos. Great idea with the big piece of fabric!
.-= Casper´s last blog ..A Fear of Waffles =-.

admin - October 18, 2010 - 8:59 am

Casper – I should mention that if you get some fabric, you may want to get 1 1/2 – 2 yards of each color/kind. I only got a yard each and found that especially as he got bigger, I needed more fabric. :)

Mariya - October 18, 2010 - 9:42 am

I’ve been using throws and those velour blankets as my backdrops. I like your color selection, I should look out for a pink one on sale.

Blessing Oshin - October 18, 2010 - 10:56 am

Did you use photoshop? Your son is precious!

Erin - October 18, 2010 - 11:14 am

I just recently started reading your blog (love it, by the way) and had a question. What is the CPA?

Heather (Heather's Dish) - October 18, 2010 - 11:25 am

for kiddos it’s all about the soft, fuzzy blankets – they’re amazing!

admin - October 18, 2010 - 12:00 pm

Blessing Oshin – I do, although mostly just to “boost” and “lighten” the color a bit. Some of my pictures I completely change but most of the ones in this post I didn’t. I did use photoshop to put all the pictures into a collage.

Erin – CPA is my husband and it just stands for ‘certified public accountant.’ :)

Mom of 5 - October 18, 2010 - 1:51 pm

You can’t fool your Mom – you are such a great photographer!!! You are so inventive with your props and everything looks so great. Can’t wait to see those where you add big items like: pumpkins, chairs, Christmas trees, etc.

Love the shots with you and your little guy, both of you look wonderful. The CPA always looks so cute too. Just the cutest family. Can’t wait for the next photo shot…..Thanksgiving and all the shots that will be coming from having so many photo ops.

LOL xoxoxox to the little guy!!!

erin - October 18, 2010 - 3:21 pm

I do the same thing, or at least I did – Hannah doesn’t sit still enough for a photoshoot anymore. :) I used blankets (draped over the dresser by a window) and “props” like baskets and blankets and seasonal things like mini pumpkins and unbreakable ornaments for her to play with. You look GREAT in your photos – it is so difficult to take “self” photos with a baby, and you are lucky you had the CPA with you. :)
.-= erin´s last blog ..busy like a bee =-.

erin - October 18, 2010 - 3:22 pm

PS, I’m making an ornament wreath from your 2008 tutorial, and I am so excited about it!
.-= erin´s last blog ..busy like a bee =-.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor - October 19, 2010 - 4:34 am

I don’t know if you’ve seen Sarah’s site. She is my favorite photo blogger. The thing I like best about her pics is her lighting. It’s amazing. She did a post on it here:
.-= Mindee@ourfrontdoor´s last blog ..I Finally Found A Use For These! =-.

John von Cannon - October 19, 2010 - 5:36 am

You are selling yourself short–these photos are of professional quality!!!! And I repeat myself, Henry will be the most photographed ever!!! Keep up the great work so I can continue to add the photos you take to Henry’s folder. Love you!! Dad

blythe - October 19, 2010 - 5:55 am

cute pictures of henry! what a good idea to buy fabric to use as a background.

i’ve really enjoyed reading through your site especially the engagement stories.

Tabitha Blue - October 19, 2010 - 7:28 am

Aww, these are great!! So sweet. I love taking pics of my kids… and yes there are tons. But it’s funny because most photographers will say it’s harder to take good pics of your own kids… it’s seems like when it’s someone other than mom telling them to sit and look this way, they will do it. :) But, alas, our kids will not grow up camera shy! We’ll be clicking away the whole time!
.-= Tabitha Blue´s last blog ..Eight Months =-.

Nicole - October 19, 2010 - 11:01 am

Your photos are always so great! I’m just having a harder time with photo shoots as they get older….they don’t want to pose for me. It’s also harder to find things to scrapbook for my boys. This year I did a page of my oldest boy shaving for the first time and a couple of weeks ago I was able to get some shots of him at his first job! Enjoy Henry…it goes by too fast!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..MY BABYS GROWING UP!!! =-.

admin - October 19, 2010 - 11:10 am

Thanks you guys – you always know how to make me feel good!

I think Henry does a pretty good job posing now, but I can see how having him sit still in the near future might be impossible. :) I’ll keep trying though!

meeyeehere aka Rachel Crisman - October 19, 2010 - 3:21 pm

He has the face of the sweetest angel

Erin M - October 21, 2010 - 5:11 am

All of the pictures you’ve posted are fantastic but those eight month shots are gorgeous!! Such a sweet boy, the vivid outdoor colours and your obvious talent combine to produce great photos!!! Seeing Henry’s growth in such a short time makes me realize I need to take pictures often when my husband and I have our babies in a few years time…even though ours will be photographed with only my novice ablities!

Heidi - October 26, 2010 - 8:53 pm

You’re getting so stinkin GOOOOOOOD at photography, Tab!
.-= Heidi´s last blog ..Flight 10.10.10 =-.

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