Staying Stylish in Suburbia

DIY Valentine's Day Photo Shoot

Monday, February 10, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to do a super fun Valentine's Day photo shoot with the girls and Leah Marsh Photography. The idea was to demonstrate how easy it can be to set up a photo shoot at home. Anyone can do it. Leah should know, she started her photography business out of her home and on a budget too. Here are some of the behind the scene photos from our session with her.

BEHIND THE SCENES


The kitty wanted in on some of the pictures

 Leah was given this old chest and decided to put it to good use as a background prop.


We used a simple table with a faux fur rug and a homemade banner for most of our other shots. 

For our main props we had pink and red candy from the dollar store. The jars were bought on amazon. Simple and cheap!

 You can also use a simple blanket as a backdrop.  

We took advantage of the great natural light from her living room window. 


At Home Photo Shoot Advice From Leah Marsh Photography

What are the main elements you need to pull off a great V-Day photo shoot at home?
Good light, a simple set, a camera, and your kids

What about lighting? 
Look around your house and try to figure out what rooms get the most natural light. Put your “set” as close as you can to the window. If you have harsh shadows, you can put a shear curtain over the window to diffuse the light. Stay away from flash if you can, they can cast harsh shadows too.

What else do you think about when you’re setting up a shot?
I try to keep everything simple. If you add to much, it can distract from the picture.

Are there particular angles that work best?
I think any angle can work, it’s really boils down to personal preference. Give yourself 5 minutes at shoot away. Try overhead, front, side, and get down on their level. 

What about the background?
Make sure your background is clear of clutter. Take a few minutes and clean up the area BEFORE you ask your kids to come in the room. You only have a small “window” of time to work with when it comes to kids.

Where do you get your props, background and rugs/ground covers?
I find items at a number of places. I have ordered some from Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay. I have also picked up a lot of antique finds at local antique and consignment stores. 

Do you have any tips for simple ways to get a similar look using materials found around the house?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve a “professional” look. Use what you have. A sheet or curtain would work great as a backdrop. You can also find inexpensive items at your local dollar store. If you’re lucky enough to have a few friends that have some cool antique items, you can always ask if you can borrow them. 

How do I get my kids to be still for the shoot? Any specific tips or tricks you can give us when taking pictures of babies and toddlers? 
Let’s face it, babies and toddlers are not going to sit still for you. When you are photographing them, try to have everything ready before you begin. Do not force them to sit still or they will rebel, start crying, and everyone will end up unhappy. Instead, be playful with them. Play peak-a-boo, make silly noises, anything to get their attention. Also, set a time limit. When you reach it, put your camera away. If you keep going after the “breaking point” they will be less likely to let your photograph them in the future. 

Do I need a fancy camera for this kind of shoot?
No, any camera will work. You can even use an iPhone. If you are using an iPhone and have exposure issues, double tap on the face before you take the picture. This will tell your iPhone to expose on the face and will lighten your picture.

What do you think about when you’re setting up a shot?
My mind is always going a thousand miles a minute. I’m thinking about what angle will look best and how the shadows are going to fall on my subject. I’m am also thinking about my next shot. The faster I go, the happier the kids.

Are there particular angles that work best with kids?
I like to get down on their level. Another good trick is to have your kids sit down near a window and look up at you. Their eyes will usually catch the sun and they’ll sparkle.

Any other general words of advice or suggestions?
Practice, practice, practice. The more you shoot, the better you will get. Remember, you don’t have to pose your kids in every shot, a lot of times, the candid ones turn out the best.

The Final Photos








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The Lady behind the biz

Leah Marsh is a photographer based in Northern, VA. She enjoys taking unique photographs, capturing the personality and spirit of her clients. She specializes in children and families. 


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