Business

Bring a mini studio to your client

November 2016 issue

Bring a mini studio to your client

Lollipop Props system is a small-scale charmer

It can be challenging to talk new parents into leaving the comfort of their home right after having a baby, but that’s the best time for adorable newborn photography. With the Little Studio System from Lollipop Props by Westcott, you can take the studio to them. This 42-inch setup ensures studio-quality portraits—including stylish backdrops and faux wood floors—wherever you are.

The foundation of the setup is a 12-piece aluminum frame system, which holds three double-walled diffusion panels taut. Laid flat, the framework resembles a three-paneled V, which you fold up to create a three-dimensional corner studio. It uses Velcro-style fasteners extensively to secure the framework and mount backdrops. Though this works great for speed and efficiency, the ripping sound of those fasteners may disturb sleeping babies.

It took me about 15 minutes to assemble the system on my first try. Once assembled, you can fold the three squares down on top of each other for flat storage or collapse the frame system entirely for storage in an included drawstring bag. The most fun, or perhaps challenging, part is choosing your backdrops from the hundreds offered. I selected the photorealistic brick wall, modern damask (mist color), and old wood floor (white).

Bring a mini studio to your client, portrait photography by Betsy Finn
© Betsy Finn
Instead of wanting to run all around in the studio, children were drawn to the Little Studio space. This is the modern damask backdrop.

 

Any of the 42-inch backdrops can be ordered in one of three materials: art canvas backdrop, matte vinyl backdrop, or padded floor mat. Both art canvas and matte vinyl options include a border of hook and loop fastener material on the backside for easy mounting and came packaged in durable cardboard storage tubes to prevent wrinkling. I wondered if glare would be an issue for the brick wall vinyl backdrop, but, true to its name, the matte vinyl does a nice job of photographing shine-free. The most important thing I discovered is the material needs to be installed taut enough to prevent rippling. If you look closely at my review photos, you may see slight rippling in the backdrop. With practice, I’m confident I would get more efficient at hanging the backdrops sans wrinkles.

Bring a mini studio to your client, portrait photography by Betsy Finn
© Betsy Finn
The backdrop is brick wall in matte vinyl; there’s no glare, but you can see I didn’t get the material quite taut enough and there is a slight ripple.

 

The padded floor mat has no fasteners, and it keeps the chill of the floor away from baby. What’s really nice about the floor mat is the easy cleanup. When a baby relieved herself on it, I had no issues cleaning up my white floor. As you can see all three materials photograph beautifully.

I used the system as a single wall backdrop with the other panel acting as a light diffuser, but you can set up the second panel with another backdrop, and use two pieces of baseboard connected by a corner piece to create a cozy little corner for additional depth in your portraits. If you do use just a single baseboard, use a clamp to keep it from tipping over or lean it slightly toward the upright panel. The corner setup easily stays upright on its own.

I discovered another benefit to the Little Studio System: It scaled things down to pint size and made my open studio space feel more cozy for little kids. Instead of wanting to run all around the studio, they simply wanted to go and sit in my “little studio.”

The system is ingenious, especially since it doubles as a 42-inch softbox. If you want to explore different backdrops but don’t have a large budget for it, you’ll appreciate the small scale and relatively budget-friendly price. It’s also easy to incorporate elements you already own.

I enjoyed using the Little Studio System, and the setup is simple if you want to provide a studio experience for clients within the comfort of their home. The system retails for $69.99. Padded floor drops and art canvas backdrops are $49.99 each; matte vinyl backdrops are $29.99. Baseboards are $19.99 each; two baseboards can be connected with a $4.99 corner piece. lollipopprops.com

Betsy Finn is a portrait photographer in Michigan.

Pros

  • Miniature size is perfect for little subjects
  • Takes up little space when disassembled
  • Panels do double duty as diffusers
  • Scalable system with many add-on options

Cons

  • Complete setup/teardown can take 10-15 minutes
  • Sound from changing hook and loop-fastened panels could disturb newborn
  • Slight learning curve for backdrop installation

Tags: babieschildrennewbornsportraitstudiowestcott

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