If you have kids or have ever attempted to photograph a child you will understand when I tell you, this would have to be the most time consuming, exhausting experience but at the same time the most rewarding. Taking these photos is a massive passion of mine, albeit exhausting. Flicking through the end result, taking the photos and even planning the calendar has me on some sort of excitement level that is unimaginable, photographs and party planning alike. Yes I’m a little crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Neither would my kids I hope! It really could go one of two ways, they look back on this and think Im so glad we have these adorable photos of us as kids or Muuuum seriously our Husbands don’t want to be photographed with us in a lobster costume for the 2035 Calendar.
I have had heaps of messages from people asking how or where I get the photos and Calendars made, and the truth is like most things if you have patience and passion its really quite achievable. First things first, you will 110% need a handy helper who is willing to jump around pull silly faces and plonk your kids in all sorts of positions to utilise your props and set. (For me, my Mum goes over and beyond to get these girls to smile or act however we need them to). Next you will need to plan months ahead (to allow time to prepare, buy and make props). I usually start by keeping a pad in my car and by my bed (actually I take it everywhere) and when an idea pops into my head I jot it down, then plan what I would need for each photo and decide which 13 would work best. I always use the spare one, because one of the photos either won’t turn out well or a prop doesn’t arrive on time or something.
Once I have decided on my themes for each photo, I then draw out a detailed picture with description of how each, set and costume should look. You need to write everything you can think of, down to the colour of the hair tie or the glue you need to buy to stick the prop together, otherwise you will forget something last minute (time is of the essence) or something just want look right. Now you need to start accumulating props (I will detail what I used for each photo bellow). This can become seriously expensive very quickly so ideally you can make things or borrow things where you can. I borrowed even the camera to achieve my Calendar!
The key to taking these photos is the first 30 seconds. As you may know kids do not sit still, like ever! I try and hide the set from them until I’m about to take the photo so that the reactions are caught on camera, usually resulting in an excited or happy expression. This is where you have to hype the shit out of everything (For me this comes extremely easily and is my favourite part of the whole shaaabang). “Oh my goodness never have i ever seen a cuter lobster claw than this!! Do you want to put it on? Do you? Wow you are so lucky Kiara this is the most amazing thing in the world wooooow Mila look at this Lobster claw, would you like to try on this amazing mermaid costume. Lots of exaggerated laughing, clapping and oohing also is essential but you get the idea. Act although you have won a room full of the most amazing things and time or reaction by ten. This part is the most important, if you don’t get the shot within the first ten seconds, I can Almost guarantee you will have to retake the same photo when 3 times or the shoot will take 30minutes + (feels like 3 hours when you are working with young children).
Here are the end results! Everything is taken in front of a plain white wall with a duvet for hight to prop it up over the skirting and white sheet underneath.
Safari shoot, Mila is wearing a zoo keepers outfit which I found online along with a safari hat (would highly recommend finding somewhere local as this ended up costing me about $40 to ship from my PO Box overseas because of its size.) and Kiara wears a baby Lion costume which I also found online. On the ground I have placed a cheap party table cloth.
This one is my favourite! My mini Earhart girls, The matching tops are basic grey tops from Gap, and navy leggings from Country Road and Cotton on kids, the adorable hats I found after hours of searching online (sadly can’t remember where from!) Mila has one of my Mums scarfs on, the Plane is borrowed from my little brother but i actually brought it as a gift and I found it at a little shop in the Tannery, the blue is just two strips of crepe paper and the clouds are ripped up pillow. we also had a fan blowing wind to create the look of flying.
Little Mermaid inspired, Mila is wearing a mermaid costume which I found online and she also has pearl beads chucked somewhere in the background which I found at a $2 like shop, Kiara is wearing a lobster costume I brought from Ebay. The sand is the party table cloth again and the blue is the crepe paper with twisted streamers for seaweed.
Another of my favourites! We have our Hape wooden kitchen in the background, Mila wears an absolutely gorgeous apron our friend Chantal made for her lucky girl! She also wears a white top from Seed Heritage, and a custom Chefs hat I ordered online, and mini tongs from The Warehouse. Kara is in the same lobster costume again.
Both of the girl are lucky enough to have these adorable dresses that our friend Maddie brought back from Croatia which are the cutest little things, the boat I made from a cardboard display board cut and painted. This isn’t actually the set I intended, its the result of what was left of the aftermath from a busy little girl pulling at the crepe paper. I had blue crepe paper n the wall again and a yellow crepe paper circle for a sun, and another party tablecloth this time in blue for the sea. Also I had a telescope which I found at Cotton on Kids.
Candy shop, my Mums famous idea! This was Kiki’s first time eating candy and probably the funniest ten minutes of her life. She taste tested every lolly in her bowl then spat them out on the ground, giggling away. The base is something I made as a lemonade stand for Mimi’s part but is just two box bed side tabels from The Warehouse ($10 each) ad two painted sticks up the side (to hold bunting for other stands). The boxes are from a $2 shop and the other glassware we had already. Mila is wearing a jumpsuit from Cotton on Kids, Kiara is Wearing a Country Road dress and their head bands are from Seed Heritage. Also found the candy necklaces and bracelets from Kmart.
This one was a last minute scramble as the Ballerina costumes didn’t arrive on time, a fairy Tea Party. The Table and chairs were an amazing find from Kmart (under $100 for the whole set!) and the Tea set was something we had already along with the wand. The tutus are from Cotton on Kids and so are the shoes, which were perfect Ballerina shoes. Mila is also wearing an adorable pom pom hair clip which you can’t see and Kiara pulled hers out from Cotton on Kids also.
Snow day. The sled I brought off Trade me, which is going to be a winner this winter! The snow is a ripped up pillow again. Kiara wears a Country Road jacket and matching hat. Mila wears beautiful knitting made by my wonderful Nana!
Christmas, this one took 4 attempts and a few hours. The ears are from Seed Heritage and so were the adorable stripy socks with reindeer which didn’t make the shot, after figuring they were the reason behind the distraction. A ripped up pillow again for snow and red tinsel.
This was supposed to be the famous Lady in the Tramp send until we realised the pasta didn’t reach over the table and the kids had no idea what we were going for there. So it ended up being a food fight which was actually a lot more fun than a spaghetti kiss attempt anyway. The Table cloth was one I made for Mimi’s Party and the lights are from Mocka. Kiara wears a dress from Pumpkin Patch and Milas, is ten sizes too small but from Cotton on Kids.
Kissing booth, we actually have an adorable shot of the girls kissing but Kiara is licking rather than kissing. The board, I just cut a sheet of thin ply wood and painted with black board paint for Mila’s party. The stand is one I used before and the hearts are cut out from paper. Kiara is wearing a playsuit from Gap. I put lipstick on the girls and to try and let them get the shot I let them go wild with the lipstick, which would have been amazing but I was laughing so much the camera was all shaky.
This is supposed to look like a summer swing. The stand is what I used earlier and the daisy chains, I made for Mila’s party. Kiara wears the Pumpkin Patch dress and Mila is wearing one that actually fits her now from Gap.
I was so pleased with the way these turned out and have just printed them all myself. Good luck if you ever take on the mammoth task of a kids calendar. Trust me its easy with one, but when you have two kids to capture it is an absolute mission to say the least.
We can’t wait to see what 2017 has to offer, happy New Year!