Posted by: Michelle Stella Riordan | April 27, 2011

What’s Cooking, Good Looking?

What’s Cooking, Good Looking?


Anthony…Prince Spaghetti Day.   

Do you remember that commercial?  I obviously do so it tells you a little about my age. 

A few weeks ago, I was at a networking meeting when I ran into Jeanna.  I asked about her kids and she showed me tons of photos on her cell phone.  One image in particular gave me an idea.  She had a photo of her son in his high chair eating pasta.  It was too cute!  In the space of 5 seconds, I visualized a scene to photograph and asked if we could use her son.  We went back and forth between our schedules.  I was able to verbally paint a scene for her; my scene of how this should go.  Can I just mention here that I love it when a mom allows me to create?  It’s photographic nirvana.  All I could think about was Prince Spaghetti.  It’s been over 30 years and that commercial was still stuck in my head. 


 Props are the key to playing in my studio not because they are the scene but they enhance the scene.  Kids, parents, and grandparents all feel more comfortable holding or doing something.  I used primary colored bowls, brightly colored peppers, cooked spaghetti and a chef’s hat. 


The right color also adds to the scene yet is not the focal point.  I tend to use muslin backgrounds most of the time.  I picked rich brown & earth tones.


Creates the mood.  Simple.  I had to turn off my fill light because our star was distracted by it and it seemed to upset him.



Adaptation, flexibility and a sense of humor.

So, baby Matthew likes to eat.  He likes to eat pasta.  I timed and cooked the pasta to be ready when mother and son walked in.  We talked and let him acclimate to his surroundings.  He saw the bowls, the spoons and the peppers.  He touched them.  We sat him in the photo area and then mommy undressed him.  While she did that, I put the spaghetti in a bowl and we were off…

It’s important to remember that children do not conform to what we want.  They will do exactly the opposite of what is required so my theory is this:  Pray for the best.  Expect the worst and we’ll meet in between!

Above all else;  Don’t forget to play.  Come play with me in the studio.

Baby Matthew Come play with me in the Studio

What’s cooking, good looking?   We allowed Matthew time to touch and explore.



Family and Children's Portraiture

 Then I sat him in a bowl, gave him a pepper and the chef’s hat. 



Family and Children's Portraiture

After he fell out of the bowl because he was too big, we fed him spaghetti.



Family and Children's Portraiture

He ate strained sweet potatoes, crackers and more spaghetti. 

Then all good things come to an end and children do get tired.  But I got what I wanted.  He wouldn’t smile but that was what I wanted. 



Family and Children's Portraiture

This is what mom wanted.  A smile that can light up your day.


What do you prefer: a smiling or a serious photograph?


 Find the business management behind this picture:


Follow Jamie Gorman on Twitter:



Michelle Stella Riordan

Photography By Exposure


Special Events Photographer

Corporate, Portfolios, Aerial and Family Photography

Studio and Location Services: New Jersey to Virginia

Family Beach Portraits – Jersey Shore

Special Events Photographer  Family Beach Portraits: Jersey Shore






  1. Love it, love you this was fabulous and fun!!

  2. Love the setup and some great pictures – Thanks.

  3. These are outstanding. So cute!

  4. I think this is so neat! What a great idea. That last one is to die for!

  5. Cute!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: