Spotlight on… Our Circus Experience

01 June 2020

If you’d like more information, or wanted to purchase a voucher for this incredible experience then please give us a call on 01332 650076.

How we choose a new theme

01 June 2020

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!

Behind The Scenes: Building Our Stotfold Studio

01 June 2020

You might have seen snippets our Facebook and Instagram - but we have had a great time creating the sets in our new Stotfold studio.

We really have gone all out and we have rooms, yes FULL rooms dedicated to each theme: Superheroes and Fairies.

Our fairy themed shoots are inspired by the 1920’s flower fairy paintings and take place in our beautiful enchanted garden. Complete with giant toadstools, a magical lake and trees cloaked in huge leaves and sparkling lights, this is a place that your little ones will truly lose themselves in.

One of our favourite aspects of the garden is the magic mirror lake. A popular (and gorgeous) feature of our fairy set in Derby, the lake allows us to create stunning reflection shots. To create our lake, we laid down a large pond image and then used resin to add depth and that lovely reflective shine that you get on the surface of calm water.

Behind the Scenes: Creating our Enchanted Fairy Garden
Behind the Scenes: Creating our Enchanted Fairy Garden

Next door we have our mighty superhero studio! We have gone to town with making this any kids dream and we absolutely LOVE the rock wall.

The wall started as lumps of polystyrene which were then coated in layers of plaster to create a rough, stone-like texture. Once painted, the ‘stone’ slabs were stuck to the studio wall, again being built up to create that layered 3D look. Of course all unused ‘rocks’ have been kept as props (for all those super strong heroes who need to rescue the world!).

Behind the Scenes: Building the Rock Wall
Behind the Scenes: Building the Rock Wall

We absolutely loved the challenge of opening the new studio - a perfect excuse to get creative and work with some amazing set and props experts. We believe that having a realistic, exciting set makes the whole experience even more special. There is nothing better than seeing jaws drop as you invite people into the room for the first time (and then again all the times after that!).

For a proper look at the new studios - check out our studio tour video, here.

Introducing… Our New Stotfold Studio

01 June 2020

Over the past few months we have been very busy running around and getting everything ready for our new studio in Stotfold!

Due to the popularity of our Derby studio, we have been wanting to expand for a while and are absolutely buzzing that this week we are officially launching our first POP! franchise…. eeek! We are SO excited to bring our unique photo experiences to a totally different part of the country.

So much love and care has been put into the studio – we can’t wait to share it with you all (and we hope you love it as much as we do!)

We have created fully themed rooms for our fairy and superhero shoots. Outside of the specialty studios we have also gone to town with decorating the rest of the venue – think artwork plastered on every wall and bright coloured paint to match our bold, crazy and imaginative photos! Stay tuned for a full studio tour and behind the scenes blog of how we did it coming soon.

Behind the Scenes at Stotfold
Behind the Scenes at Stotfold

We have also been busy hiring and training brand new team members for the Stotfold studio. They are such a friendly bunch and they can’t wait to meet everyone - we shall introduce them soon!

Pop! by and say hello sometime if you are in the area - our Stotfold studio is at Bury Farm right next to the Stotfold Watermill and Nature Reserve.

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest info!

Spotlight on…Our Space Experience

01 June 2020


Spotlight on…Wizards

01 June 2020

“Wingardium Leviosa”

The magic begins as your walk through the doors of our Studio for your Harry Potter inspired photo experience. We will transform your little ones into budding witches and wizards, with our photographers capturing stunning shots that you can treasure forever.

If your children are potty for Harry, then join us for our incredible photo experience where they can immerse themselves in Harry’s world. We’ll capture portraits of your child as they progress through our Wizard training school, practicing spells in The Great Hall, learning to ride a broomstick for their Quiddich debut and preparing to battle Dementors in the Forbidden Forest.

Dumbledore once said, “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be” and this experience is the perfect opportunity to capture a timeless image of your child. Our photographers may be mere Muggles but working alongside our team of editors they will produce some truly magical images of your little Potterhead.

All the Mackney family worked together to ensure everything about this shoot was perfect, we’ve got bespoke handmade props, unique digitally created backgrounds and an interactive photoshoot (which may involve a crash mat if you’re feeling brave!) We capture a variety of shots during the experience, from some fine-art inspired portraits, to some
mystical landscape shots.

When you arrive for your photo experience, private changing rooms will be available for your child to change into their school uniform. One of our award-winning photographers will then discuss the type of photos you’re wanting to capture – whether it’s an atmospheric, fine art inspired piece or a montage which features a combination of all your favourite
images.

After spending an hour in our beautiful studio, we’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your day (we’re a stone throw away from Darley Park if you fancy having a picnic and making a day of it) and let our expert editors start working their magic on your photos.

We’ve used our studio dog Trigger and our very own family to ensure that we have the perfect lighting and editing tools, and our digital editors do an incredible job at making the finished images look truly magical. Simon and the team spent several months refining this theme, and we honestly can’t wait to show off the finished product!

We’ll then invite you back for a cinematic viewing experience, where the finished portraits are shown to you in a poignant slideshow. This portrait ordering session is your opportunity to invest in a masterpiece to treasure forever. We offer a wide range of products, from prints to frames and digital packages too, so we hope you manage to find something to suit your tastes.

If you’d like more information, or wanted to purchase a voucher for this incredible experience then please give us a call on 01332 650076.

Spotlight on… Our Superhero Experience

10 March 2020

I’ve noticed that our superhero shoot has become really popular recently. It’s always been a favourite, but lately little heroes have literally taken over the studio!

It’s been the same for our new Stotfold studio - we are booking up faster than we expected (which is amazing!) plus we have a brand new set there as well. It’s always nice to see something you’ve been working on for a while being used and loved!

I’ve noticed lots of girls loving our hero shoots recently as well which I’m so so pleased about - there’s nothing like a bit of girl power is there? Plus it’s always funny seeing your daughter lift her big brother above her head (don’t worry that part is edited in!)

I guess that all the new Marvel films coming out have really inspired little ones - there are so many superheroes now that I just can’t keep count! I saw the animated Spiderman one recently and thought it was really well done. We love adding all the special effects into our photos - I can’t imagine how much fun (and hard work) it would be to do a whole film’s worth!

My favourite thing about our superhero shoots has to be the sets we have created. We were definitely inspired by those huge Hollywood sets that you’d see in places like Universal Studios. I wanted to make them as 3D and immersive as possible so that kids could physically climb on rocks and lift those heavy chunks of falling buildings to rescue people (don’t worry - these are props that are actually light as feather!). I’m really proud of what we have achieved and the kids always love it which is even better!

One of my fondest memories of the superhero shoot has to be the time that Taylor came in for his session. At only 8 months old he was diagnosed with meningococcal septicemia (meningitis type W). He has had both legs, fingers and thumbs amputated, yet he is still our little fighter!

We are so proud to present Taylor’s story to you in our video. We hope it makes you smile, because we haven’t stopped!

Spotlight on… Our Magical Fairy Experience

10 March 2020

The fairy shoot remains one of my absolute favourite shoots that we have at POP! Studios.

It was one of our first shoots, alongside Alice, and it will always have a special place because of that. One of the things that I love about our fairy shoots is that they are timeless and classic - a beautiful fairy will never go out of fashion!

Inspired by Cicely Mary Barker’s flower fairy paintings from the 1920’s, our fairy themed photo shoots are based in our secret garden – complete with magical lake, toadstools and sparkling lights.

The images from the fairy shoot that we did with our daughter, Matilda, still have pride of place in our home. I’ve popped it at the top of the blog for you to have a look! 😊 I was really keen that the fairy theme took centre-stage at our new Stotfold studio, alongside the Superhero shoots. We have done it so that the fairy set is a whole room of enchanted garden, it’s like walking into a magical forest. Seeing the look on people’s faces when they first walk in still makes me beam!

It’s lovely to watch the fairy experience being shot as well. I often pop my head in and see little ones completely absorbed in the moment. We get them making wishes with fairy dust and chasing fairies - it’s crazy what the imagination can do at that age! That immersive, interactive aspect of our shoots is definitely something that we thrive off, and it really makes it an experience rather than just a photoshoot.

I remember Matilda came away raving about how she saw the Queen of the Fairies… I struggled getting her out of the wings! Don’t you love it when they are so into something that they just won’t stop talking about it? 😊

If you want to have a browse of our fairy experience, you can find it here. Or just give us a call on 01332 650 076 - we are always more than happy to chat things through in more depth 😊

Everything You Need To Know Before A Shoot

10 March 2020

People often ask me what they can expect when they come into POP! for a shoot, so I thought I’d write a little bit about how an experience typically runs - hopefully it’s helpful! 😊

So once you are all booked in, your personal photographer will give you a call to find out a little bit more about your son or daughter and give you some advice on what to bring to your shoot. Simon and I have made sure that we have an incredible team of award-winning photographers - they are all lovely and will make you feel right at home!

On the day of the shoot you’ll be greeted by your photographer, offered a cuppa (or squash!) and taken through to the dressing rooms. Children always love their transformation into the character that they’ll become for the next hour or so (or forever once printed and on your wall!)

I have spent hours and hours sourcing and styling costumes, accessories and props so there is plenty of choice at the studio and I can assure you they’ll look top notch! 😉

When your kids have got their costumes on, we’ll get started with the shoot. Our photographers love to get imaginations running wild - so be prepared for fairy hunts, magical stories and more!

After the shoot you are free to enjoy the rest of the day. Both studios have lots going on nearby - perfect if you want to make a day of it. We are based primarily at the Derby studio and love to take Matilda and Trigger (our daughter and our dog!) to the park nearby for playtime. I’d definitely recommend the wine bar next door for a cheeky tipple if you’re not driving! There is also a cafe around the corner, so we have all bases covered 😊

Next, our expert team of digital artists will start work on your images! This really is where the magic happens - they’ll be busy editing in special effects and background details to give your photos that gorgeous finish that makes POP! so unique. I work in their office and I’m constantly getting sooo distracted watching them work!

Approximately 1 - 3 weeks after your shoot, we’ll invite you back for a viewing where you’ll get to see around 30 shots that the team have edited to perfection. I love viewings - it’s so nice to see people’s reactions, definitely a highlight of the job.

If you decide to order some artwork, all that is left to do is collect your beautiful new pieces and decorate that blank wall at home! I love to see pics of our masterpieces hanging on your walls so feel free to tag us in your snaps on social media!

Happy World Book Day!

05 March 2020

Today is World Book Day! I absolutely love reading – my favourite book of all time is Mary Poppins by PL Travers!! World Book Day gives us all an excuse to dress up as our favourite characters.

We’ve had Star Wars, Matilda and of course Harry Potter being a popular one, all turning up at school – I wonder what the trend will be this year for schools?

My little girl, Matilda (how appropriate!), has been photographed as pretty much every character you can think of. As you can imagine, she always gets roped into our test shoots and ends up having a whale of a time! We have been really busy setting up our brand new studio recently so instead of making her costume this year, I ordered her a Red Riding Hood outfit which she looked cute as a button in this morning!

Alice in Wonderland themed shoot
Alice in Wonderland themed shoot

One of our team members has a little girl called Alice (can you see a pattern occurring?!) - who very aptly had one of our Alice in Wonderland shoots and loved it so much she’s still borrowing the costume for World Book Day years later! It makes me smile that her absolute favourite shoot was the superhero shoot though, seeing her little face light up at the thought of saving the day and whooshing around the studio in her cape.

Are Wizard shoots are popular with Harry Potter fans
Our Wizard shoots are popular with Harry Potter fans

I guess every child is different and each have their own favourite character or fantasy world that they dream about. We’ve ended up creating several different themes as part of POP! and it’s really interesting to see spikes in popularity with certain ones - it usually revolves around a new book or film coming out!

I wonder what the next big books or films will be over the next few years? And what characters we’ll be dressing our kids up as next World Book Day! I am loving all the live-action Disney remakes at the moment and I am sure we’ll be inspired by them for future shoots.

Our Woodland theme is ideal for Robin Hood and The Hunger Games shoots
Our Woodland theme is ideal for Robin Hood and The Hunger Games shoots

Have you got a favourite book that you’d like to see us turn into a POP! Shoot? Let us know!

In the meantime, Happy World Book Day!

If you’d like to find out more, you can browse our full range of themes here.
*Please note that our Stotfold Studio currently only offers fairy and superhero shoots.

Our beautiful personalised art pieces

23 May 2019

Welcome welcome, so you’ve come across our page - first of all a big “hello” to you! Your probably wondering what the heck we do here?! (or maybe just curious as to what Pop! Studios is all about)....I can tell you right now, we’re all about crafting artwork and imagery 😊 We’re different to other studios in the sense that we start at the very beginning of the experience….the amazing backdrop and photoshoot session. Yes - you read that part right - photoshoot session….we’re a portraiture studio creating imaginary art-pieces of our little customers. But it’s not all about a “click” of a button, its a much MUCH more involved process then just snapping images on a camera.

We opened in 2014, myself with my 6 month old baby on my hip - in a pop up shop in the Intu shopping centre Derby. It was a fantastic few months and et voila…we realised quite quickly that there was a fabulous appreciation for our imagery creations. Fast forward to 2019 and we’re now based in Darley Abbey, Derby our family portrait studio where we’re able to enhance the photoshoot experience for our little customers, and have introduced new experiences like “circus” and “wizard”. The bottom line of what we do is to create jaw-dropping, amazing, everlasting portraits to hang on the wall loud and proud.

Our customers who return to us time and time again, thankyou for believing in the magic we create….to those who are due to visit - a big welcome and you won’t be disappointed in the images we’ll especially work on for you! It starts from the first initial phone call, to our styling, then photography, then the magical digital editing department, then finally our cinematic reveal where we can go through the best products to display your beautiful art-work.

We’re a fun bunch, but most important - we’re a family business who understands the importance of capturing the essence of your children in their childhood years. Our little girl is now 4.5years old, and she’s been an ethereal baby fairy, moving to a superhero toddler and more recently she had a walk through our winter woodlands. There’s a scene to capture every age - but each one I cherish more and more as our walls are filled with these wonderful art-pieces.

Thankyou for taking the time to read our blog, for more about us - just read our customer reviews

Lots of love, Wendy xxx

Life at Pop! Studios

23 May 2019

Welcome to our new blog page, where we’ll be bringing you into the world of Pop! Studios. We are artists, image creators, magicians if you will…but most importantly - we create personalised artwork using your little ones…..we’re a family business who pride ourselves on the art-work we craft, to find out more keep following our blog….