Madison’s Valentine’s Day Photoshoot

During the fall gymboree semester there was one little girl Madison who I just fell in love with…  I always joked with her dad that she was like the poster child for gymboree – unlike Jasper who refuses to participate in any group activities, Madison did everything perfectly (roll the log, parachute time) and with total enthusiasm!

Not only does she have the sweetest demeanor, she is also one of the most beautiful little girl’s I’ve ever met so I was thrilled to get to photograph her last week.

I finally use my savage coral paper that has been waiting for a little girl, and my newish fake floor and the tutu that I bought for Peyton’s first birthday pictures. The stripped tights were a lucky accident – daddy had brought those without me even asking!   It was just one of those magical shoots when everything works together – colors, light and a cooperative subject:

(see bigger and better at

Dad has decided to surprise his wife for valentine’s with the photographs – Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever?

Here are the props I used:

Heart Lollipop from Target Dollar Spot
Barn Door Faux Floor (large size) from Bargain Outfitters
Savage Coral Seamless Paper from B&H
Tutu (in Sorbet Sweetie) from Trinity’s Tutus on Etsy
White Children’s Chair from Ikea

Now, any ideas for boy’s for valentine’s day? Red backdrop? I don’t’ really like bright red so not so excited by buying a paper I won’t use again much.. white?

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ariana says:

Ashley, the link is in the post…

Ashley says:

Hi there! I was wondering what your floor type was? I have some, but yours is way cuter! Thanks:)

Michelle says:

I agree with Rachel, you are a giver. Thank you for sharing your discoveries and talents to striving amateurs such as myself. Great work!

Aleya Bamdad says:

The pictures are so beautiful! His wife is going to love them.
I just read a funny article about how one woman’s husband was on Valentine’s Day before and after they got married. If anyone wants to see it go to

Annie says:

Thanks! Your photography posts are making me wish you were out in California so I could ask you to take pictures of my little man (Isaac, 5 months).

Annie says:

Hello! I’ve been a long time blog stalker but this shoot was too cute not to comment on! Can I ask where the tights are from? I would love to get a pair for my niece. Thank you!

ariana says:

Hi Annie, I’ll ask the dad next time I talk to him!

maureen wildauer says:

Hi Arianna, Thanks for sharing all your info with us. I went right away to order all things I need to capture this darling photo. My question is how do you hold up the floor molding? I have a backdrop stand for the paper but can’t figure out how you do the baseboard.
thanks for your time.

Christina says:

these are fabulous!!! I might be stealing some ideas!! how long did it take to get the flooring once you ordered it? I am impressed as that is some nice natural light!! Or did you set it to a higher ISO?

ariana says:

Mandy, next time I set up I will take a pull back!

Kristen, OMG that tie is adorable!!!

Kristen says:

I got the lollipops last night. (Figured I’d get two, one as a backup from my disaster child.) Thanks so much for letting us know where they’re from! I’ve decided I’m just going to do the lollipop, an oxford shirt, jeans, and converse, his normal photographing outfit. Next year when I hopefully won’t need the loli-prop to distract Jackson, I want to try to be on the ball enough to order this, in time. Might even be able to use it for both Christmas and Valentines!

jbhat says:

She’s precious. And what a wonderful husband to do arrange a kiddo oriented photo shoot for his wife. Love that idea.


mandy says:

ariana, these are so adorable! i keep coming back to look at them. would you mind showing a ‘behind the scenes’ shot of how you set all of this up? it’s perfect!

Stephanie says:

Adorable pictures and I love the prop you used for the floor.

Sarah says:

Gorgeous shots… and I LOVE that faux floor!

Anh says:

I’m in love! The composition and props for this shot are too adorable. Reminds me of those wonderful Valentine’s Day postcards from Julia Child.

Danielle says:

These are beautiful pics…the best Valentines shoot I have seen by far. Adorable!

One question…how old was this little girl? I tried to do some pictures with the sucker of my little by (11 months) and he was not cooperative at.all. Just thought she was so perfect in the pictures…mine was a huge fail.

BTW for my little boy I just used a white back drop and did some shots with the sucker and then Target also had some stuffed hearts in the dollar bins and I used a few of those…very simple. The boy ideas are much harder to come by.

I LOVE these, and I love the white chair with the pink background! Very, very nice work!

kari says:

love these!
did you see this idea on ilp’ers flicker?

its cute too… i think i have my friend heather (great photographer) talked into setting it up at her house to shoot liam and her cute kidd-os! i’ll share her pics if/when we do it!

Stephanie says:

beautiful, Ariana! just beautiful! :)

ariana says:

Nanette, of course they will be, because they will be YOUR baby! :)

Maddie, I know, crazy right? It’s the strangest material too, it’s like a GIANT mousepad!

Maddie says:

p.s and how amazing is that faux wood floor?!

Maddie says:

absolutely stunning.

nanette says:


We’re hoping to do a Valentine’s Day card for our friends/family since we didn’t do one for the holidays. I was thinking something along the lines of what you did in that shoot, but I know ours won’t be as nearly as CUTE!

ariana says:

Alicia, I love the storyboard idea!

Kristen, the tie idea sounds so cute..

Caroline, these were natural light. Were your bath pics underexposed? Maybe you need more flash power to get the bigger catchlights. Or it could also be the distance to the wall behind you, if it’s too far it could definitely make the catch lights smaller. And definitely play around with the settings, the 4.4.4 is just a starting point :)

caroline says:

did you use your speedlite on this? And how?

I tried angling mine and taking a pic of my kid in the bathtub just a you did in your former post. I couldn’t get quite as huge catchlights as you. Still need to fiddle around w/ the 4, 4, 4 thing. Thx for your tips

Kristen says:

Oh that is just the cutest!! If my husband surprised me with that for Valentine’s, I would just die, that is too sweet of him.

For Jackson, I think I’m going to have to scope out our Target now for that lollipop! I think he’s outgrown his little vest, so I’m thinking a red/pink striped tie. Or possibly giving him a cookie with conversation heart on it, then taking a closeup of the hearts and what they say for a card. Oh I just love Valentine’s Day.

Lisa says:

Beautiful! I’m so jealous of your setup!

michelle says:

okay I want to eat her up!!! So cute!


oh and your photos are pretty fantastic too! ;o

Alicia says:

I love all of these shots!!!!
I’ve seen that lollipop before – didn’t know it came from Target – I’ll have to see if mine has them!

I can’t wait to hear ideas for boys!

I saw this on flickr and thought it’d be cute for Jasper since he has sooooo many cute expressions and I can never decide which pic of him I like best – this cute idea requires 3 pics:

I’m thinking red brick wall for a background. Maybe Jasper in a red sweater or all dolled up with a red bow tie?!

I’m sure you’ll think up an AMAZING shoot for him!

Catharine says:

I’m still thinking I may use my pink paper for my boy, just put him in white or red.

Heather says:

Those are absolutely gorgeous. This is the nicest Valentine’s gift ever!

ariana says:

Thanks guys! Rachel – how are you liking your new toy??

Rachel says:


You know what I love so much about you? You don’t just discover how to do great things and keep the secrets to yourself. You share everything!

You are a giver, and have such a big heart. Thanks for all your help … to all of us! :)

Molly says:

So adorable! I wish I was this creative!