DIY Newborn Platform Project Pt 1

I have studio envy. Well, at least when it comes to my newborn sessions. I don’t have the ability at the moment to stock up on those wonderful backdrops. I just can’t justify spending well over $100 on a set up like that. Right now my stance is: if I can make something cheaper and better to suite me then that’s what I need to do. Plus it needs to be mobile.

With that said I stumbled across a photo on Oh Love Photography’s Facebook page. See the photo here. I was inspired.

We made a trip to Lowes to check out lumber. I popped a squat right in the middle of the aisle and laid everything out. I wanted to go with the cheaper shorter boards but my dear bf wouldn’t let me settle for the smaller ones.

Here’s our supply list:

  • (12) 3/8″ x 6 x 36″ Select Pine boards – 6 across makes two platforms
  • (6) 1/2″ x 2 x 36″ Select Pine support boards – 3 for each platform
  • Minwax Polyshade Bombay Mahogany Stain
  • Bristle brush for both paint and stain (some say paint only so read the label)
  • Foam brush
  • Very fine sandpaper 150 & 220 grit
  • Old t-shirt
  • Various objects for distressing
  • Rit dye in black
  • 1″ finishing nails

This will be a multi-post project so items may be added or discarded throughout the process.

I started by lightly sanding the boards. I hate sanding so believe me when I say I didn’t go crazy.

Then we took the wood outside and distressed them. You can use any objects that will make an indention or mark. Here’s what we used.You can actually see directly to the left of the nail leaning on the wire brush there’s the indention he made by hammering the side of the nail into the board. I’m so glad he thought to distress it because it looks amazing!!!

Next use the foam brush and paint the Rit dye over the entire board then wipe with the old shirt. You’ll find the Rit dye in the detergent aisle. I guess I should tell you that my ultimate goal was to have a dark rich floor look for my setup. The dye soaks into the indentions from all the hammering and whatnot and gives it a more aged look.

The board on the left has already had one coat of stain. The board on the right has been treated with the dye then lightly sanded with the 150 grit.

The far left board wasn’t sanded as much after the dye so it was darker after the first coat of stain. This is how I liked it. Depending on your preference either sand a lot or not so much.

Left to right – store bought wood, after 1 coat stain, after Rit dye.

Here’s another example of the difference sanding makes.

So far we’ve applied one coat of stain to about 8 of the boards. The other 4 will have to wait until this weekend. Here’s a tip while staining…wear latex gloves and ladies put your hair in a ponytail!! I just had to cut a little piece of my hair because somehow I got a clump of stain in it. Don’t ask!!!

Okay that’s all I have for now. Stay tuned for the next update!!



Newborn Kolsten | 8.8.12

Meet 11 day old baby Kolsten.

He decided he wanted to come into this world a few weeks early while I was still in Washington. He was born on a Saturday morning and I was due to fly home that following Wednesday and we did the photo shoot the next Wednesday. I was so excited, as was mom and dad, to take photos of this little boy!! I came to their house and did the entire shoot in their living room. They also have a almost 3 year old so it was easiest for me to come to them. 

Kolsten also happens to be my cousin’s little boy. His daddy is one of the head athletic trainers for Tarleton State University so to say he enjoys sports is a bit of an understatement 🙂

Right from the get go he told me he wanted a shot of Kolsten on a TSU football helmet.Cool right?! So I tried to plan as much as I could in my mind how it would go. Would I actually place him on the helmet or composite him onto it later in Photoshop? I tried that but couldn’t get the right curve that I felt would match the helmet’s so we scratched that and just went for it. Mom and dad both on either side of baby, NEVER….I repeat…NEVER was baby left alone on the helmet. Someone always had hands on him!! I can’t stress that enough.

So here’s my final image. Photoshop and I are more acquainted than ever!!! I originally placed a small piece of blanket underneath him and so this image is a combination of a clean shot of the helmet I did then I painted baby K on top without the blanket. The blanket didn’t bother me but it wasn’t the vision my cousin had so that’s why I took it out. Gotta make the clients happy! 🙂

I found this cute little bucket in WA at a Tuesday Morning for less than $20. His little stocking cap is a men’s sweater sleeve cut off and tied with a ribbon. I found the sweater for around $4 at my local Goodwill store. I never even made the connection that the bucket said “No. 2” and he is their second little one!! I almost did the shot with it turned around!

I can’t wait for the day when I get an actual Macro lens. Oh the fun I’ll have getting even closer to baby lips!!!

If you’re a photographer reading this I hope you know you don’t have to invest tons of $$$ up front to start newborn photography. This faux wood is actually not one of those expensive backdrops but a roll of bulletin board paper from Mardels. Super cheap! Just lay it on a piece of wood to save from creasing. Also, when baby has accidents you can just cut off the messed part and roll up the rest. That actually has happened more than once with this roll!!

The gray fabric is more of that Goodwill sweater cut up, and the wagon is my mother’s. I wish I had taken a pullback shot of the living room set up, but I got busy and totally forgot. We were set up near their northeast facing sliding glass door. It’s all natural light, no flash.

I love seeing the moms and dads getting super excited as I capture each shot. I often show them a few in camera and it’s so gratifying to see them fall in love with each image.

If you are expecting or know someone who is please contact me for booking inquiries at