This is my second post in a series of Valentine’s Day DIY ideas for kids.
(See the first post here!)
I really do love this one, it’s simple and sweet. Just photograph your child or yourself “blowing” paper heart kisses! This would be a great card to send out to friends and family. Or you can get extra fancy like I did and bring it to life!

First off, I cannot tell you how excited I was that my son actually listened to my directions. ALL of them. And had fun doing it. Are there Valentine’s Day miracles? If so, this was it!

I’ll start with the GIF and video because as soon as I found this idea, I knew I wanted to create a quick stop motion. This is so easy, trust me, any of you can do this. Because there are so few frames, it’s a bit of a “cheat” for stop motion… Back in college I often built stop motion animations. They are always lots of fun but can be very time consuming. This is definitely the quickest one I’ve ever created!

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy rva family photographer gif

Read about how I did it below if you would like to create your own version!

Setup and Supplies:
– Nikon D750 with 50mm Lens
(Yes, you can do this with an iPhone!)
– Tripod
Nikon Wireless Remote Trigger
(I’m linking to this because it is one of my absolute favorite photography tools to have on hand)
– Scrapbook Paper for the Hearts
– Scotch Tape & Scissors
– Plain Wall with Window Light
– Good Video Maker LED Light Panel
– Willing Participant

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy rva family photographer

I didn’t take behind the scenes photos or video this time, and I wont get into too much detail of how I did everything in post, but here are the basic steps that I took.

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy rva family photographer

To make the hearts, I used two pieces of red scrapbook paper. It’s basically a nice cardstock from Michaels. I kept folding it in half and cutting out heart shapes until I had enough. There was no specific number, I just used up the sheets.

I then placed my camera on the tripod, set the viewfinder to “Live” and measured out my shooting area. Since I don’t want the tripod to move and was starting with a blank wall, I had to make sure that I wouldn’t end up going off camera.

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy rva family photographer

In the Shooting Menu on my camera, there is a “Remote Control Mode”. I set that to “Quick-Response Remote” so that as soon as I hit that remote button, it takes a photo. I could have pressed the shutter button, but there is too much risk in shaking the camera and then having to go back and align everything in post. No one has time for that!

Then I took a photo, added a heart, took a photo, added a heart and so on until it made a nice “cloud” of hearts.

And THEN I brought in my kid. Because I’m no fool. No way would he stand still while I shot each frame, so I figured it would be easy enough to composite him in afterwards, and it was. So I stood him by the heart cloud and again, used the remote trigger to snap a bunch of him blowing kisses. Like I mentioned earlier, I was surprised he actually listened so well to my direction. And luckily he had fun with it, he thought it was funny that I taped things to the wall.

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy rva family photographer

And without getting into the nitty gritty, I chose the images I wanted and did a quick levels adjustment in Photoshop. They didn’t need much else. Because I used the remote trigger and tripod, I did not have to realign everything so it worked out very smoothly. Virtual high fives for that!

Then I imported into Adobe After Effects. Starting with the heart cloud. I think I did about 20 frames for each image. I masked out the left side with Harrison so I could place him where he needed to be because remember, in his frames, all of the hearts were already on the wall.

Oh, and for the GIF, that is all done in Photoshop with the timeline editor. They made it so easy to make a frame animation from your layers that you then export as a GIF.

Part of me wants to do a full out After Effects and Photoshop tutorial but I’m not sure of the interest level in that… I’d love to know if you think it’s something I should start doing. I’m happy to share my knowledge and techniques with you!

valentine's day blowing paper heart kisses diy

I hope you enjoyed this Paper Heart Kisses Valentine’s Day Photo & Video DIY and the adorable images that I got out of it!


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Tina Thomas is an award-winning Professional Family and Personal Branding Photographer & filmmaker in Chesterfield, Virginia. RVA. With a passion for capturing real, intimate and joyful moments, my experience allows me to take a laid-back approach where I can guide, observe and record genuine connection and celebrate individuality.