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Time Out With Tanya

How to Take Professional Baby Portraits at Home With the Lollipop Props Little Studio System

By Tanya Goodall Smith on February 20th 2015

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

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In my recent article, 5 Tips for Effortless On-Location Baby Portraits, I mention how quick and easy it was to set up a backdrop on-location for baby portraits using the Lollipop Props Little Studio System. I think this innovative and affordable solution is so cool that it deserved a full article. Not only is the Little Studio perfect for baby and kid portraits, it would also work for small to medium product photography or even as a pop-up, stand alone diffuser for off camera lighting. Let’s take a closer look at how to take professional baby portraits at home with the Lollipop Props Little Studio system.

One of my favorite features of the Little Studio at first glance, is the handy storage and carrying case it comes in. It’s a heavy duty, black canvas case with a full zipper and carrying handle. The whole thing is very lightweight and easy to carry. It also doesn’t take up much space at all. I could easily store it in a closet or behind the couch. It un-zips totally flat for easy storing of your entire Little Studio System, including extra backdrops.

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I was able to set up the Little Studio in less than 5 minutes, without reading any instructions or anything. It’s totally self explanatory. Just pop up the two sides and velcro them together.

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After doing so, I realized it might be easier to velcro the vinyl backdrop in place while the studio is lying flat, so I just set it all back down and applied the backdrop. The vinyl backdrop is heavy duty, lightweight and didn’t have a glare or anything. It’s also resistant to stains and moisture, which is important when working with kids.

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I was also surprised by how affordable they are. At under $30 each, you could afford to have a variety of backdrop options at your fingertips.

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At first, I was a little skeptical of the foam faux-wood floor drop, but the fact that it’s nice and soft for the baby and much better than a cold, hard wood floor is a plus. It’s also free of shine or glare and very lightweight and portable.

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The flooring had been rolled up in a box so the corners tended to roll up a bit. I solved that problem by clamping them down on the corners with some binder clips. After storing the floor drop flat for several days, this is no longer an issue.

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The baseboard that came with my Little Studio Bundle really completes the look. It’s lightweight and stores nicely in the carrying case with the entire system. Technically, you can just prop it up against the wall of the Little Studio, but I used a simple spring clamp to hold it in place. You can get these clamps for a couple dollars at a hardware store or on Amazon.

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I used all natural light while testing out the Little Studio. My living room is very well lit, and I always keep sheer white curtains on the windows which allows me to diffuse the light as needed. I just set up my Little Studio near the window and exposed for the skin of the baby. I found that using an extra silver reflector (this one is just a piece of styrofoam insulation with a silver side from Home Depot, but you could also use a 5-in-1 reflector) helped fill in the shadows on the side of her face.

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Straight Out of Camera

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Edited with the SLR Lounge Newborn Photography Lightroom Presets

The exposure settings for this image are ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/200 of a second at 70mm. I used my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens. I don’t mind bumping my ISO up so high when shooting with natural light. This camera and lens combo allow me to create sharp images at 1000 ISO with no problem. I used the SLR Lounge Newborn Lightroom Preset System to process the image in a just a few clicks. I know you’ve heard me rave about this system so much in the past, but it honestly has saved me so much time and the recipes specifically formulated for Newborns come in handy for baby and kid portraits, too.

If you don’t have the preset system, you can achieve this soft look by taking the clarity down and adjusting the shadow and highlight sliders in the develop module. Take a look at my settings here:

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I should also mention the adorable tutu and headband came from Lollipop Props as well. They have tons of props for newborns and babies, making them a one-stop shop for newborn and baby photography. For more ideas and instructions on how to get started photographing newborns, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.

CREDITS: Photographs by Tanya Smith are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

20 Comments

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  1. Alex John

    Completely shocked by the results of this site! I cannot find any difficulty using it. Works perfectly and very easy to execute as well! 5 stars for Blooming Pods!
    Blooming Pods

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  2. Gracie Iona

    Just take a look at the new counter tops I got installed in my kitchen but the whole credit to one and only http://www.rendonremodeling.com/. They gave the results I wanted for my house. I would consider them every time! And you should too!

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  3. Batista Sh

    Just take a look at the new countertops I got installed in my kitchen but the whole credit to one and only rendonremodeling. They gave the results I wanted for my house. I would consider them every time! And you should too!
    rendon remodeling

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  4. Graham Curran

    Oops, the base price is $49.99 which still isn’t bad.

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  5. Graham Curran

    But $30 is a great price for something like this.

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  6. Graham Curran

    The faux wood floor is just the same as the floor.

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  7. Vince Arredondo

    very convenient

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  8. Kristy Brown

    Thank You for this idea Tanya. I’m placing my order this week.

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  9. Danny Thomas

    really cool that, love how easy it is. if only i lived in the us…

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  10. Andre Queree

    Looks great. Shame it’s not available outside the USA.

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    • Tanya Goodall Smith

      This is a relatively new product. Email them and express your interest. I’m hoping they will eventually sell them through B&H. The more I use it, the more I just love it.

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  11. Stephen Jennings

    My circle of friends and family experienced a population boom this year. I’m not a newborn photographer, but I am the only photographer they know … so .. now I’m a newborn photographer. =/ So with 11 (that’s right, 11) newborns to shoot this year (gosh that sounds mean) I’ve been rummaging around for good props and such. I used a beanbag (posey pillow I think it’s called) for the first shoot and turned out great. It was a pain to squish that thing in my Subaru though.. then came the studio backdrop gear and rolls of backdrops.. real pain to be mobile with. Of course the cost of just one backdrop I could have purchased the little studio and a few backdrops.

    I saw this little studio in your other post a few days ago and thought man, that looks simple and utterly perfect. So thank you for sharing where you got it, I’ll have to go on a little shopping spree from this site. ;)

    By the way for those wondering about the floor backdrops.. the floor looks about the same quality as the ones I’ve used and to the naked eye they look obviously fake. For whatever reason in a photograph they look real enough .. probably because you don’t see a real floor to compare it too. Also because the depth of field will more than likely leave the floor slightly blurred anyways. Not to mention you’ll probably be softening the image. I shoot with a d800 and 24-70 and 50 1.4 and didn’t have a problem, I wouldn’t expect an issue with these backdrops either.

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  12. Steve Enoch

    I would love to see an finish image taken with the baby where you can see the floor as part of the image. Like you, I am a little skeptical of how this will look as part of an actual portrait. The concept is awesome, but the floor is where I get a little nervous about buying this. Do you have any you could share? Thanks!

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  13. Steve Madden

    Not available in the UK though.
    Not badly priced either.
    May have a go at making my own!
    Steve…. :)

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    • Steve Madden

      So heres stage 1(of???) of my attempt at a home made version of this. http://www.maddenphoto.co.uk/test
      The flooring is lino based, not as soft as the one in the article, but still rolls up and is softer than a normal wooden floor. (Also it was a £5 off-cut from a flooring store!)
      They had different ones, but i liked this one.
      It’s a white wash finish, doesn’t look it in the pics though.
      The hardwood skirting (technically it’s architrave) was £3 from B&Q(in the reduced section!!!) I choose hardwood, because it was finished quite well. I didn’t need to prep/paint it!!
      The white foam board, I already had.
      Just need to add some detail to the back drop and i think it looks pretty good!

      Steve…. :)

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    • Tanya Goodall Smith

      Nice job! I love the fact that you clamped the backdrop to your radiator.

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  14. Kyle Stauffer

    I ordered one of their packages yesterday! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’m excited to try it out!

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