Before we introduce any new theme to the public, there is a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work happening to ensure that the images will be up to the same high standard as the rest of our work. Once a new idea has been suggested, the entire team will go home and research it (don’t check our search histories, it’s a bit weird!) – this includes everything from props to poses, backgrounds and costumes too.

Wendy’s background in the fashion industry means that our costumes often have the ‘edge’ against our competitors, with quality fabrics and designs being used rather than cheap and cheerful outfits. Our skilled photography team love to get stuck in too, and you’ll often find them getting inspired and creating some stunning homemade accessories.

Our beautiful fairy props and set
Our beautiful fairy props and set

We’ll all bring our individual ideas to the table, and collectively decide which direction we’d like the theme to go in. For example, if I asked you to think of a Circus, some of you may be thinking of clowns in wigs with striped trousers, whereas others will imagine trapeze artists and acrobatics. Our team meetings mean that we consider each theme from every possible angle, even if a few of our ideas may seem a little strange, or ‘outside the box’.

Next up is the best stage, where we begin to purchase some accessories and outfits ready for our test shoots. We usually ‘practice’ shooting new themes on our own children and pets, with plenty of snacks and toys as bribery! Simon tends to lead these test shoots, as his years of experience allow him to really explore the theme and consider which poses may work with any specific outfit or background. There could be up to 30 poses to practice, and fortunately our little models are patient and love the attention.

Testing our superhero set
Testing our superhero set

Our Lead Digital Artist then begins the meticulous process of creating bespoke backgrounds to compliment the selected poses and outfits. These are often hand drawn by our in-house art department, meaning the backgrounds you see are completely unique, and exclusive to POP! Studios. Our team of editors will then add additional layers and adjust the
colours to ensure that the overall ‘feel’ of the background suits the theme.

Once the photos have been fully edited and are ‘finished’ we all attend a fake portrait ordering session where we view the images in a gorgeous slide slow, complete with atmospheric music and dimmed lighting. This is where we critique the images and discuss whether there are any improvements that can be made before we introduce our new theme to the world! The process will then repeat until we’re 100% happy with the whole concept and finished products, and then we wait with our fingers crossed and
hope that you all enjoy the new theme just as much as we do!

We often receive requests for specific themed photo experiences, from The Gruffalo to Aladdin and everything in between and have to explain that we can’t offer these as a ‘standard’ POP! Studio’s shoot. We thought we’d take a few minutes to explain why we can’t always say yes - so we hope this has been helpful and that you enjoyed reading about our process of creating a new theme!