Instagram is a magical, time-sucking wonderland filled with accounts dedicated to foodie puppies, cats rolling in cash and Kanye West well, doing Kanye things. But here at Red Tricycle, our new Instagram obsession makes us smile from ear to ear. It also makes us super envious of this LA mom’s quick thinking creativity. Meet uber talented local photographer, Laura Izumikawa, and her adorably costumed baby, Joey. Kiss the rest of your day buh-bye, folks…you’ll be browsing here a while, and come away super inspired for Halloween.
photo: Eleven from Netflix’s Stranger Things by Laura Izumikawa
Laura Izumikawa has been working as a successful lifestyle and portrait photographer in LA for the last 10 years. But it wasn’t until she started posting her adorable daughter, Joey, (now 5 months old) on Instagram that people would really come to embrace her unforgettable work. Like so many parents out there, Izumikawa simply decided to use Instagram as a means of keeping her own parents and in-laws up to date on Joey’s growing adventures.
photo: Vogue’s Anna Wintour by Laura Izumikawa
Her family wasn’t able to visit Joey as often as they’d like so to cheer them up, she found the perfect way to send them new pics of Joey while also making them laugh. Joey is, by nature, a super deep sleeper and Izumikawa felt like she was taking the same old photos of her slumbering daughter over and over. To liven things up, she came up with the genius idea of dressing Joey in various silly costumes while she napped.
Photo: Slash from Guns N’ Roses by Laura Izumikawa
From the popular characters on Netflix’s hit Stranger Things to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour to Princess Leia and Slash from Guns n Roses, there’s pretty much no costume on earth Izumikawa can’t master. She says, “The costumes are literally just things I have already at home. They are mostly my clothes and leftover felt from craft projects in the past. I’ve used weird things like clam shells from a clam dinner the night before or leftover gift wrapping tissue paper. I even used a pizza box to make a shield for her. It’s been fun for me to see what I could use to make the costume work from just things I have at home. For this recent post of Princess Jasmine, I was at Goodwill dropping off some things and I found the perfect kids’ dress for a buck. I just cut the top off and used the rest of the fabric to tuck in to make the pants. It’s actually not that hard to do.”
photo: Princess Jasmine by Laura Izumikawa
The fact that Joey sleeps so soundly is enough on its own to make any new parent envious, but we truly love that Izumikawa uses the opportunity to access her passion and creativity and just have fun with her sweet daughter. Parenthood can be hard enough so it’s always good to find a way to laugh—especially in those first challenging months home with a baby. So how does Izumikawa pull it off?
She says, “When I do the costumed shot, I usually do it during her first morning nap. We usually play for about 5 minutes and then I turn on the ocean sounds and wait for her to fall asleep which usually takes around 5-10 minutes. I do the arm-flinch test and if she passes that, I start adding props on her. That takes around 10-20 minutes because sometimes I have to cut up material and make something on the fly. All the photos and videos have been shot and edited on my iPhone 6 so it hasn’t been that hard to put together. Honestly, anyone can do it!”
photo: Goku from Dragon Ball Z by Laura Izumikawa
The overwhelming response to her photos on Instagram has shocked Izumikawa more than anyone. She had no idea her daughter’s silly pics would garner attention from really anyone who wasn’t family. She says, “So many news agencies wanted to interview me and all I could think of was how not-newsworthy we were and how there were so many other worthy people and events to cover in the news. There was also a moment of mama-bear type panic and I wanted to shut everything down, but I began to receive countless messages from people from all over the world telling me that these photos and videos were the highlight of their day and that it made them so happy. To this day, I cannot keep up with all the fan mail and I wish I could thank them all in person. I’ve been making new friends through Instagram and connecting with other mothers so it’s just been amazing.”
photo: Garth from Wayne’s World by Laura Izumikawa
With Halloween just around the corner, we can’t wait to see what Izumikawa has planned next for baby Joey. (And you can browse her Insta account to get some fabulous “only in LA” ideas for your own baby costume!) There were rumblings about her favorite Jack Black character, Nacho Libre. One can only hope.
What’s your favorite photo of baby Joey? With so many great ones, it’s hard to choose. Let us know in the comments below!