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  • Desiree A. Neville

How to create a themed photo

I have talked about themes before. The Tattle Tales are theme based. Having a theme gives the photo you are going to create a frame. It usually sets a time period. Is it an old school vintage story? or a modern fresh an pastel-ish looking feel? Is it a clean look on white background, Is it outdoors, or in an elaborate decor?

Get your inspiration

Start by getting your inspiration. Is there a photo you have in your head you've wanted to create? Is it something you saw on TV or would you like to re-create something from your childhood? For this example, I will choose a lemonade stand.


Now that you know what you are trying to create, you need to plan.


What props do you need. Which ones to buy and which ones to make. Do you already have some of them or maybe you can borrow from a friend.

Styling Clothes and hair

How are you going to style the clothes. What sizes and how many shirts, pants, skirts, dresses etc... What colours, How are you going to style the hair?


Is this going to happen outdoors or at your house? Are you creating a background? or are you using your backyard or a local park?


So for my lemonade stand example, I wanted it to look a bit vintage.

Clothes and Hair

So I chose old-ish looking clothes. say 60s to 80s clothing. I would like to girl's hair in braids and boys in newspaper boy cap. (I know this is older than the 80s).


I did this at the studio. So I had a background i wanted to use. (But you can do this outdoors) if you do it outdoors, pick a shady spot where you can see trees in the



I had this massive table built for me specifically for this theme. In hind site, it was a tad too big. I use a smaller table with a table cloth now. So can you. If you don't have the traditional lemonade stand, you can use a regular small table and cover it with a table cloth. But Check out my Pinterest board for some inspiration.

More Props

Pitcher, lemons, limes, even strawberries will add interest. If you don't have a clear pitcher, maybe use a vase or preserve jars. Use your imagination. Too many props can kill the shot. keep it simple but interesting.

My tips for a successful photo.

Background. It is always important to have as clean a background as your can. If you are shooting outdoor,s try to stay in the shade and have big trees n the background. If you are shooting indoors, you can setup against a window and use a flash,You could dress up the window with drapes so all looks clean or you could position everything against a plain wall. You can always put together a bunch of foam core boards by masking taping them together ( you can buy foam core at the dollar store)

Flash: If you are using flash, be careful it is not directed at the shiny objects in the photo. If you can rotate your flash or bounce it off of the ceiling or a wall behind you, you will get better results. If your flash is built into your camera, you can put a little piece of invisible scotch tape over the flash. It will help diffuse the light a bit. If you are shooting indoor and against a window, You can use large white boards or a large white sheet positioned behind you to reflect light back into the scene.

Get the kids to actually make lemonade and take photos as they are doing it.


Do you want tips for better portraits?

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