I was going through some old projects and photos recently and stumbled across one of my favorite ideas that I actually followed through with, my daughters 1st birthday photo shoot. My wife and I decided to throw our daughter, Aly, an Alice in Wonderland themed party. We had it all planned out; we would call it: Aly in “One”derland!
I knew I wanted this to be something special to commemorate my daughters big day and we came up with the idea of a photo shoot with Aly in her cute, handmade, Alice dress. We took some initial photos at home, but something was missing. I mean she was cute and all, of course, but I knew I had to step it up to make this memory top notch. The first year of parenting is such a mix of joy and struggle, the occasion truly deserved a solid effort. This was for us as much as it was for her, and she was just getting to that age where we could really have fun with her. So what else was I to do but lean on the experience I gained from my time designing sets for the stage. I declared to my wife that we were going to build a set for this all important photo shoot. She encouraged my madness, as she always does (almost) and I started designing right then and there. As I thought about how I would pull it off, I realized that the easiest way to communicate the magical “Alice” feel, was to play off of the “eat me” “drink me” moments. I went to work furiously cutting, gluing, painting, cursing and putting everything I had into this epic backdrop. Once the set was complete, I set the lighting just so, to have as much natural effect in the pictures before finishing off the images in Photoshop. I honestly wasn’t that great with digital editing at the time, so I very much relied on the magic made in “reality”.
The finished product turned out awesomely!
I used a foam tri-fold presentation board for the walls with felt paper glued on as decorative wallpaper. I then added the dollhouse door and some other small wooden accessories for perspective. The finishing touch was simply a checkered table cloth we just happen to have laying around… Perfect!
The back light coming through the door cast a very natural highlight into the room really adding to magic.
Another trick I learned, from Redbeard actually, was to add wooden edging to really make things pop, giving models and sets an air of elegance.
All we had to do when it was done, was just let Aly… do her thing.
After showing the “big” side of Aly’s personality, I decided I wanted to do a second shoot showing her tiny little self in the big crazy world of “Wonderland”.
This turned out fantastic as well!
The digital editing consisted of playing with a lot of different hue’s, saturation’s and overlays. We then pieced together some cards and sent them out, not only as invites, but for keepsakes as well.
Then we had another kid and for his birthday, we put plastic trucks on cupcakes and blew up yellow and black balloons. Because… I guess that’s just what happens with the second kid.