Cake Smash | Everything you need to know | Cake Smash Photographer | Children's Photographer | Willenhall | Wolverhampton | West Midlands | UK

What is a cake smash session?

It's one of those things that have migrated over from the US! It's pretty self explanatory, you give a toddler a cake and let them go to town on it. Some eat it, some beat at it until it's mush, others wouldn’t touch it even if you told them they could watch their favourite shows all day.

What happens first?

I usually spend the first 5-10 minutes of the session talking to the parent's. I find that with the little ones growing up (usually coming up to their 1st birthday), they're a lot more aware of the world and being thrown into a new situation can make them a little uneasy. I want the session to go well, so I allow them time to take a look at their surroundings and settle in before they're thrown in front of the camera.

Pre cake smash portraits

I start the session with normal portraits. Sometimes clients bring their own clothes or I can supply them with something to wear depending on size. I usually like to use a neutral backdrop for these picture, keeping props to a minimum and focus on capturing their facial expressions and personality.

Cake smash

I start this section of the session by taking some images of the background and cake alone before introducing your little one. I find it's nice to be able to compare the before and after to see how much mess they've made (as that's definitely the whole idea!)

Your little one is then changed into their smash outfit and introduced to the cake.

Every little person is unique, but I find that during those first few minutes with just them and the cake there is always the same response. As you can imagine they've spent their life so far being told no, that they're not allowed to play with their food or make a mess, so the first few minutes are usually filled with confusion. What? You're saying I can actually touch that massive pretty cake? I don't believe you, it must be a trick. I always see their brain working and imagine what's happing in there. You see them looking at it, then looking at their parents as if to say 'why aren't you telling me I can't mess with it?’ Pure confusion!

Usually if they haven't attempted to touch it themselves within the first few minutes of exploring, I tell parent's to put a little bit of butter cream to their mouth so they can taste it. Or even put their hand to the cake so they know it's ok to touch it.

Some kids love the mess, some love to smash, some hate having things on their hands and are happy for it to be fed to them by someone else! I generally find you won't find out how your little one will be until they're in that situation.

Post cake smash splash

Once we've got enough images of your little one with their cake, I usually bring in a tub and fill it full of warm water with bubbles for them to sit in. There is nothing worse than having to wipe down a child covered in butter cream with baby wipes so the tub is a god send! Plus it gives us another opportunity to get a few more gorgeous pictures for your gallery.

I usually add a little bubble bath, so please feel free to bring your own if your little one has sensitive skin. I will also happily supply a towel, but wont at all be offended if you want to supply your own.

Who supplies the cake?

I offer two options, I can supply the cake for £25 or you can bring one with you. I usually find that, out of ease, most people choose to have their cake supplied so it's one less thing to worry about on that day. I always have my cakes made to colour match the decorations for the sessions so everything is cohesive.

Allergens

Please let me know if I'm supplying the cake if your child has any allergies or suspected allergies.

What happens to the cake after the session?

That's completely up to you! If I've supplied the cake then it will come with a box so if it's salvageable then you're more than welcome to take the rest home to eat! If you don't want to then don't worry, I will happily dispose of it.

Outfits

I do have a selection of outfits that can be used for your session, depending on sizing. If you want to bring something specific to wear that's ok. Just keep in mind that for a session like this colour coordination is important for all of your images to look like the ones advertised on my website.

Colour scheme of the session

I have quite a few different setups for cake smashes, some for girls, boys and natural set ups. If you have a colour scheme in mind then please let me know on booking - I will try to tailor to your needs as much as I can.

J & C Wedding | Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford | 27/07/18 | Wedding Photographer | Wolverhampton

A few weeks ago I shot a gorgeous wedding at Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford, this was the first time I'd photographed a wedding at this venue. 

Before a wedding at a new venue me and my second shooter Kat usually visit the venue to determine how long it takes to get there and to  have a look around the grounds and device a plan of where we are going to shoot the group and couple shots. 

When we did our prep visit to  Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford it was during the evening, even though we were losing light you could still see the beauty of the building and the surrounding grounds. Not only does it give you more of an idea of the wedding day to come but it also makes you excited to think of the beautiful pictures you're going to be able to create with the gorgeous surroundings. 

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Usually before a wedding we have a face to face consultation with the bride and groom so we can meet before the big day and go over the plans. On this occasion a meeting didn't take place so we first got to meet the bride in person the morning of the wedding. Jamielee was radiant, her and her bridesmaids had just finished their breakfast when we arrived and were having their make up and hair done in one of the Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford's rooms. 

Once everyones hair and make up was finished we relocated into the bridal suite. The room was stunning, huge 4 poster bed, amazing bathroom with a freestanding bath. Perfect view out the window where the bride and bridesmaids stood spotting their guests arriving for the wedding. 

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My favourite part of any wedding is the moments between the bride putting on her wedding dress and waiting to go down to meet the groom. Throughout the bridal prep you see so many mixed emotions and it just reminds you of what love feels like, uncertainty, fear, excitement, nervousness and happiness all in one. 

You can see their minds racing and the build up from the last few hours of getting ready, the last few weeks, months, years of preparation have come down to these final few moments before they're about to meet their groom at the end of the isle. The last few moments before they will become one, before they'll take someone elses name and be married. 

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During the ceremony one of the bridesmaids read one of the most hilarious, heartwarming poems before the rest of the guests. It seemed the most perfect thing to hear just before they said their vows. Emotions running high, it made everyone smile, laugh and relax and it was delivered with such confidence I can only imagine how proud the family must of been. 

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I've attended many weddings, both as a photographer and as a guest and I have never heard a speech so heart warming as the brides brother gave at Jamielee and Ciaran's wedding. There literally wasn't a dry eye in sight. I'm not usually one to cry easily and yet here I was happily covering my face with my camera as my eyes filled up and I don't know these people. It was truly special and it showed how close they all are as a family and how much they love each other. 

It wasn't without it's funny moments too, Jaimelee is known for her love for Disney and Alton Towers and she was made fun of a lot during the speeches, a perfect balance of laughter and sadness to show that this family has been through a lot and yet they still manage to smile and appreciate each other. 

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I feel honoured as a photographer that I got to capture the day of a truly amazing couple, it was one of the best weddings I have ever attended and I wish the happy couple a lifetme of happiness because even after knowing them for a short amount of time I can see that they deserve it. 

What to expect from your newborn session | Newborn Photography | Wolverhampton | West Midlands

When to book

It is important to book your newborn session early on in your pregnancy, I would usually recommend between your 12-20 week scan. Although I will always try and accommodate last minute bookings if I can, booking early ensures that I have space to fit you in once your little one arrives.

When does the session happen

Upon booking I will use your due date as a provisional booking date for the session, then once your little one arrives another date will be arranged. It is important that I am informed as soon as possible when your baby arrives to arrange a date within the first 2 weeks of their arrival. This is the perfect time for a photo session with a newborn as there won't be a limitation with regards to posing. The more your baby grows, the less likely they will happily squish into those curled up poses everyone loves as they open out and their tummies grow bigger. If the only option is to do the session over 2 weeks of age, do not panic! There is still plenty that we can cover and you will still end up with a gorgeous gallery of images of your little one.

Length of session

Some people will be surprised to find out that for newborn sessions I allow 2-4 hours for the session. Every newborn session is different; some babies snooze angelically from start to finish and we can whiz through the poses, others decide they are going to test how long they can stay awake and feed for. Newborn sessions are completely baby led, everything is done at babies pace to make sure they are as happy as possible. Patience is a must for a good newborn session as the safety and happiness of your little one is very important.

Let your other half know what to expect too and inform them it's ok to take some time for themselves. If a break is needed, that's perfectly fine as long as your partner is back for the end when they need to have their parent pictures taken.

Payment of session

To book a newborn session I take a £50 retainer which is to hold the session date and to cover my time in the event of a no show. I require the remainder of the balance of your chosen collection to be paid by the day of the session. If you aren’t sure of which collection you would like to choose before you’ve seen your gallery, I always suggest choosing the bronze collection with the option of upgrading once you’ve seen your images.

Do I have a say on styling of the session?

Of course you do! Once your deposit has been paid and your collection has been chosen we can discuss colour schemes. These images are going to last forever so I want them to reflect you and your family in the best possible way. If you’re purchasing wall art then colours are extremely important as you want them to fit within your home. If you’ve seen my newborn gallery, I tend to sway towards the neutral colours as for me I feel they are going to be timeless and are more likely to go with everything. If you have something specific in mind please let me know and we can work together to create something thats unique for you.

Preparing for the session

Here are a few pointers to help the session go as smooth as possible -

  • On the day of the session I suggest that you try and keep your little one awake as much as possible before the session, even if it’s just for the journey.

  • Dress your little one in a sleep suit, please avoid putting socks on as they leave marks on the skin. The little we have to take off when you arrive the less we are going to disturb them.

  • If they’re due a feed when you are ready to leave to make the journey or just beforehand, please wait until you are here. I allow time within my sessions for feeding if needed. Sleepy, full babies are happier to be posed.

What do I wear?

I usually suggest wearing something quite neutral in colour and design. Just keep in mind that trends never last long and these images are going to be on your walls hopefully forever! White, black, cream’s and browns are perfect.

Just keep in mind that if you’re having sibling/parent shots taken then you ideally want everyone’s outfits to work well together.

Please read the ‘heat‘ section to give you more information about what to wear.

Do I need to bring anything with me for the session?

I would suggest bringing the following things with you -

  • Something to drink Something to snack on, especially if you’re breast feeding.

  • Plenty of milk for your little one, or just yourself if you’re breast feeding.

  • A pacifier if your baby has one.

  • A change of clothes for yourself, as accidents definitely happen.

You don’t need to bring anything else with you. All outfits and props will be provided.

Parent shots

All of my newborn collections include parent shots.

I find that most parents, especially moms are quite reluctant to have their picture taken at newborn sessions. I completely get it, you’ve just had a baby, you’re tired, you aren’t feeling your best etc. That’s fine, I would never push anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do but I definitely recommend it!

In 4 weeks time your baby wont be that tiny, you don’t get those precious days back and if you’re anything like me you’re generally the one that takes pictures of your little one and 99% of those don’t include you.

I say do it, what have you got to lose? Nobody ever needs to see them other than you. Trust me when I say that in 20 years time when your baby is no longer that tiny you’ll be glad that you did. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for them as I 100% guarantee that they will never look at those images and see your flaws the way that you do.

Sibling shots

All of my newborn collections include sibling shots. Depending on the age of the siblings I will do the sibling shots at the beginning or the end of the session, as due to lack of space and the length of the session I feel it’s cruel to keep other children sat waiting as it gets quite warm and they get easily bored.

I usually suggest that once the sibling shots are done a member of the family take them elsewhere throughout the rest of the session as newborns are quite perceptive and a calm and happy setting is always best! We can discuss what is easiest for you when booking your session.

Extended family isn’t included within my newborn collections, but can be added on for an extra fee. If this is something you’re interested in then please discuss this with me prior to your session.

My workflow

If siblings are present I will do the sibling shots first, then parent shots, then beanbag poses and props. If baby is settled up on arrival and there aren’t any siblings, I’ll start with beanbag poses, props, then parent shots.

During the session I will work through poses on the beanbag. If your little one isn’t happy within a certain pose, I will move on to another. There is plenty to cover and if at any point you have any questions then please feel free to ask.

Heat

Newborn babies struggle to regulate their own body temperature, because of this I make sure that the studio is nice and toasty so that when they are being posed, usually nude, they are still warm, snug and happy.

Please keep this in mind when you attend the session, it’s important for your babies wellbeing so although it might be a little bit warm for you, it’s best for them. It’s perfectly ok to ask to step outside to get some fresh air if you need a break.

I would also suggest when deciding what to wear for the session, keep the heat in mind so that you can easily remove layers if you get a little warm.

Accidents

During most of your newborn session your little one is without a nappy, so don’t be surprised when accidents happen! This is why I would always suggest bringing a change of clothes for yourself, as although I’ll be doing most of the handling, I always pass the little one back for feeding.

There also isn’t any need to apologise, it’s a hazard of the job.

After your newborn session

Once your session is complete I will go through your images and produce a gallery for you to choose your final images from. Each of my collections come with a different amount of images. If you decide you would like more images than you originally planned for after seeing your gallery then you can choose to upgrade your collection.

I usually allow 3-4 weeks after a session to produce a gallery. Once you have chosen your images for your collection I will then send your digital images to you. If your collection includes prints or products then those will be either be collected, hand delivered or sent through the post depending on location.

If you have a newborn session booked in with me then I look forward to seeing you and meeting your new arrival! 

If there is anything that hasn't been covered here and you have further questions then please don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always happy to help. 

Referral Scheme | Newborn Photography | Cake Smash Photography | Children's photographer | Wolverhampton | West Midlands

I have something special for you! 

I'm noticing that a lot of my new bookings are coming from being recommended by previous clients and that definitely hasn't gone unnoticed and I'm truly grateful to each and every one of you!

So to show you how thankful I am I'm currently putting together a referral scheme!

Here is how its going to work works:  

If you recommend me to one of your family or friends and they mention your name while booking with me, they will receive £20 off their session. You will also receive a £20 Amazon voucher once their booking has been paid in full as a thank you!
 

 

T&C’s

  1. Only bookings on full price sessions qualify for the referral scheme.

  2. The referral scheme can’t be used in conjunction with any other offer or deal

  3. Vouchers will be sent to you once the referral booking has been paid in full.

  4. If the balance for the session isn’t paid or the session is canceled then the referral scheme is no longer valid.

  5. There is no limit on how many vouchers you can earn with the referral scheme.

  6. The referral scheme isn’t valid for bookings that have already been made, it’s for new bookings only.

  7. You can’t refer yourself.

  8. The referral scheme is only valid on bookings that make it through to payment of final balance - so before you receive your £20 voucher there will need to be a deposit, session and then final payment for images.

Choosing a newborn photographer | Newborn Photography | Baby Photography | Wolverhampton | West Midlands | UK

When expectant parents are looking for a newborn photographer, there are so many options that it can be confusing to know who to choose. All photographers offer something different and it’s best to shop around for a style that fits what you are looking for, rather than choosing a photographer and hoping they can achieve the look you desire.

First things first - you need to pick what type of session you want, lifestyle or posed?

Lifestyle is a more natural type of session, capturing your newborn as they are, capturing your family sometimes playing, hugging, being within that moment. No posing necessary.

Posed sessions are structured in a completely different way. They generally start with either beanbag or parent shots depending how settled baby is on arrival. You’ve probably seen them, you know those cute little curled up shots of newborns posed in tiny little outfits or inside buckets or bowls? The photographer generally works through their workflow of poses on a beanbag, then potentially props and parent poses depending on the order they like to do things.

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Studio or home visit

Some photographers offer home visits, which can be more convenient for some parents. Things to consider when deciding is space within your home. As you can imagine there is quite a bit of equipment used when setting up a posed session. Lighting, backdrop, props etc. So as it might be more convenient with a newborn for someone to come to you, you may not want to limit your session if you are short on space.  If you’re attending a studio for a newborn session, when you arrive everything should be set up and ready to go. Props and outfits should be more widely available for your session and you wont have the stress of clearing space or having to tidy up before someone comes!

Safety training

Choosing someone who has undergone safety training is incredibly important, more so with posed sessions. Knowing how to pose safely is paramount to your babies wellbeing. Their tiny little necks and limbs are very delicate and when undergoing posing training you are taught how to keep them supported and safe at all times. Sometimes composites of two images are used together to make one image, making you unaware that someone was there supporting them.

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When to book your session

Last minute bookings are hard to come by so the earlier you book the better. Newborn sessions are best booked around your 12-20 week scan for most reputable photographers. Depending on the photographer your session may be temporarily booked using your due date or 2 weeks after your due date. Obviously babies are quite unpredictable and unless you have a C section date, they arrive when they feel like it, so a little bit of wiggle room is always left when it comes to booking a newborn session.

To achieve the curled up newborn poses your session is best done around 3 -14 day after birth so it’s important to keep in contact with your photographer to let them know your baby has been born to finalise your session date.