the turkey shoot (no actual turkeys were harmed in this shoot)

Sometimes in the early morning as my child is just beginning to stir, or in the evening (as I fall asleep on the couch, covered in spit-up) I catch a glimpse of what life was like before Willa.  I don’t mean before I was pregnant,  just before she was born.  A faint memory tickles the back of my mind of what it was like to have extravagant free-time.

Back then I spent more time surfing the web in a single afternoon than I do in a month these days.  I could leisurely click through untold pages for hours at a time.  Now I’m happy if I can grab 5 minutes to check weekly diaper ads on my mobile during a visit to the loo…all while hoping Willa hasn’t found a dog bone to teethe on.  Not that I would go back, not for one second.  I wouldn’t know what to do that much time anyway…shower, maybe?

But my words get away from me (as per usual).  During one of those luxurious surfing sessions I came across an entire website devoted to baby hats.  YES – BABY HATS!

Photos of babies are cute, but put them in hats, and you can spend hours scrolling through (at least I did).  Needless to say, I validated the baby-hat-website-business-concept with the purchase of several gender neutral gems.  I found this crazy cute turkey number:


I took dozens of pictures at different angles and in different lighting, but the hat never really showed up.  I called for reinforcements.  My Dad and I discussed (and giggled) about layout options, and we put the plan in action when he next came for a visit.

First, we ran to Target and Home Goods to get just the right props.  Then, we set the table while Willa was asleep, prepping the scene to minimize issues.  In the pre-dawn morning we snuggled her onto a blanket on the platter before she was completely awake  – capturing her playful morning disposition.


We had two things in our favor:

  1. On impulse I grabbed some tiny wire lights in the 10 mile long checkout line of Home Goods (they made the shot)
  2. We had swagger – we went into “the shoot” thinking we might get a great shot and not caring if we didn’t – it was about having fun photographing my newborn daughter, not getting the perfect photo

horizontal turkey

Willa was 3 and a half months old at the time, and as you can see from the pictures, her emotions ranged from blissfully content to  highly energetic and amused.

holiday card

We used the photo for our holiday card this year and received more holiday cards in return (and overall buzz) than any year prior!!  The turkey shoot kicked off a tradition of fun baby photo shoots with my Dad.  You can see them here – Willa’s Spring shoot and Gotta Make the Donuts.

If you take anything from this, I hope you believe that it isn’t that hard to take a fun and buzz-worthy photo.  All you need is a wacky idea and a little prep work.  I used a basic point and shoot camera (no need for anything fancy or any great knowledge of photography).  Just make sure you take a TON of pictures – the more you take, the more likely you’ll get one or two gems.

I hope this inspires you to do your own photo shoots.  Trust me, your friends and family will LOVE them (and love sharing them) AND you can embarrass your child with them throughout their teenage years!  I would love to see the pictures YOU come up with – please send them to me here.

Happy Shootin’,