Cake Smash In The Park

 

 

After a 2-month Corona virus lock down in Calgary, I had my first regular photography session last Friday. It was also my first outdoor cake smash session. Little McKenzie just turned 1 and her family wanted to celebrate this big milestone with a fun cake-smash. Since it is the most beautiful season of all, with the weather warmed up and trees turned to green, I wanted to give it a try and use the nature as my backdrop instead of paper or fabric backdrop and the sun as my main light instead of studio strobes. I was so excited. I started working with the color scheme based on the outfit mom wanted to use for cake smash. I prepared matching banners and made a whole new flower hoop which would go perfect with spring theme. I put together some other settings for different looks during the session. Even though it is a photo shoot with a focus on baby smashing and eating cake, to make it more versatile I always add different props to the scene before introducing the cake to the baby. In a park setting it is easier to change background by simply moving from one place to another. For an outdoor birthday session, I chose Edworthy Park and set up my studio at the meeting place before the clients arrive, so we could start as soon as they come. Babies at this age don’t stay up too long and get tired easily, so I don’t want to waste any of this valuable awake time.

I brought different outfits for each different settings.

First a fairy dress with a matching headband to go with the flower hoop. I used a big wooden bowl and some fluffy layer in it for baby to sit.

Second outfit was pink jumper to use with the pink-yellow decorated balloon basket. Third one was baby’s own cake smash outfit with a fluffy pink tutu skirt and a onesie that to be used with birthday garlands and cake.

I even prepared a fourth setting as a bonus if baby endures all three stages and still doing good, McKenzie succeeded to reach this bonus stage. Main prop for this setting was a white toddler size rocking chair with blue wool layer staged with some white/blue flowers in the back and a mini white lace umbrella attached to the chair.

Since this is a photo shoot conducted with Covid safety measures it was a touchless photo session, wearing a face mask.

As communicated with before, mom was going to be the main person to pose the child. So she followed my directions on where and how to place the baby, which way she should be looking, propping the feet so this cutest part of the baby can be seen in the photos.

The cake was made by grandma and brought to the site. As always, we started with non-cake poses. After the flower hoop and the balloon basket we switched to the most exciting stage of the session: Smashing the cake. 3 year old brother helped a lot at this stage, showing his sister how to smash the cake and letting her feed him cake and make her laugh so hard! After some rather serious looks, we finally were getting some big smiles and laughs. Cake’s sweet taste may have helped too.

At the end, we did some family poses and the bonus setting. Baby McKenzie did great throughout the session.

It was a very fun photoshoot for everyone. . Instead of sitting in the studio, we were enjoying outdoors in a picnic mood. Those cute 1 year old hands covered with cake icing will always be remembered with these photographs.

I loved this outdoor cake smash idea soo much that I want to do all my summer time cake smashes in the park as long as mom wants it too.

 

Here is some shots from this session. Click on images to view higher resolution.

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Preschool Portraits

This week I was at the University Heights Preschool  to take 2019 student portraits. It was amazing to see how such young kids (3 & 4 year old) can follow posing instructions and surprise you! Some were shy, some were like a rockstar, but results for all of them are beautiful. I am not a traditional school portrait photographer. As soon as I get the “school” type of look, I switch to “free style” and try different poses and let them lead the way. When you leave posing to them, they can be really creative and unbelievably cute!! I’ll post some of them here when I get model release from parents.

As promised, I’m sharing some photos from the preschool picture day. Click on the images to view full resolution.

A day in the fall

It’s Calgary, as everybody knows we don’t have lengthy falls and winter can show it’s face any time with a surprise snow storm. Before this happens, I wanted to capture the beautiful colors of the fall and chose this Saturday as our photo shoot day.

I had a dress from my 20’s. I thought it would be a wonderful photo prop for fall photos. It was big for my 7-year-old but worked fine. She was going to be my model for the day. My son was my assistant holding the diffuser and pulling my equipment wagon. He was very happy with his job unlike his sister who was whining non-stop and refusing to look pretty. I promised them to pay for their work at the end of the day, and she cooperated. The timing was just perfect, we arrived at the park late afternoon and stayed until the sunset. I didn’t know the Nose Hill Park would make a prefect place for fall photos as there are lots of bright yellow trees which are human height so you can easily get beautiful bright fall colors in your portraits. I brought a children size guitar, a wooden stool, some flowers, books and an umbrella. I just loved how all these props worked with the dress. Little country girl in the fall wilderness. I think we can call Nose Hill Park “wilderness” as you can see cayotes and deer wondering around, lucky us, we didn’t encounter any cayotes.  When we got to the top of the hill, I started taking as many pictures as possible in the time limit my daughter was giving me. We emerged into a beautiful meadow which was covered with high grass and unfortunately lots of thorns. I enjoyed the golden hour through my daughter’s occasional whining and took some more sunset photos.

The moment I said, “thank you guys, we’re done” they jumped in the air and  started enjoying themselves/ one is riding the wagon, the other one is pushing it down the hill, screaming and laughing. And I? of course I was running behind them with my camera taking their pictures. Photography is like an uncurable disease and What I love the most is capturing candid photos of people living that very moment in all its reality and emotion. I am sharing here some of the couple hundred photos I took that day. When I asked my kids as we drove back home what was their favourite part of the photo shoot, they said “the wagon ride of course” LOL, I knew it. I paid $10 each for modeling and assisting. What a slave driver! :))

Click on images to view in high resolution.

Balloon Voyage

I always found hot air balloons fascinating. The big deep baskets that Home Sense sells just gave me a great idea and I decided to make a hot air balloon photo prop. I sew sand bags from canvas and filled them with styrofoam beans and attach them to the basket. The yellow flowers were a great addition to the balloon basket. After infilating a huge balloon, I hauled everything to car and head to Confederation park. I thought it would be a perfect place to launch a hot air balloon 😊 I arrived earlier than my clients to get the basket ready. Tying the balloon to the basket was a little stressful as the balloon was big and wanted to rocket into the sky so badly. Thankfully, I could keep it under control and didn’t let it fly. When the kids saw the hot air balloon, they got excited. They thought it was a real one and a little afraid to go in it as they didn’t want to part with their moms, lol. I guaranteed that it will not go up even an inch from the ground hahaha! But it would be cool to make it look like it’s flying. So I used a little portable table for that. I placed the basket on it and took a photo from below. Making the balloon size a little bigger made it look even more awesome. Heart shaped black board came in handy to put each child’s age on it when taking single photos.

It was a beautiful sunny day. Everybody had a great time and enjoyed their session in the park.

Click on each picture to view in high resolution.