I know I am biased, but my niece is the cutest baby around.
Her parents brought her up from Abingdon to meet me at Rockfield Park in Bel Air, one of my favorite little spots for portraits, in celebration of her first birthday.
Turning one is a big deal. She’s grown and changed so much in the past year- mastering sitting, crawling, standing, walking, running. She’s going to learn even more in the next year and I can’t wait to watch her master communication (one of my favorite milestones) Look at how much she’s grown in 6 short months!
She clearly adores her Mom and Dad, and the feeling is mutual. I love to watch them play together, to see the way she melts into her Mom’s arms, the way she squeals in delight when Dad lifts her high in the air.
A word of caution to all the parents out there who are getting ready for a family portrait for their one year old: have patience.
Once baby can walk around, they are no longer wanting to sit in one place for the “perfect family photo.” They have places to go, things to explore, a life to live to the fullest. It’s very frustrating for your child to have to stay in one spot, or even be told where to play. Have patience. Your little one is learning that they have to power to exert control sometimes.
Much of our time together is spent re-setting. And that’s okay! That’s how it’s supposed to go. We give your child a chance to explore, and when it’s time to come back for the photo, we make it part of the game. We pick them up, swing them around until they are belly laughing, sit them down in the spot and I catch that beautiful millisecond while they are still laughing but haven’t yet run off. The entire portrait session is a game to the kids- and that’s the way it should be.
So- parents- don’t sweat it when your child is determined to constantly run away no matter where we try to go. That’s completely normal.
And yes- it may get more challenging as they grow into toddlers and preschoolers. But challenging isn’t bad. Challenging means more games, more fun, more playtime with your kids. It feels like controlled chaos for the parents but the kids are having a blast and the photos reflect that. The more you try to control and direct a 1 or 2 year old, the more they will push back and not want to cooperate. But make it fun, make it a game, and the magic will unfold. Trust in me, in my ability to make it fun, and we will get some beautiful portraits.
Also, when they turn 4, the four fairy magically comes down and photo sessions become a breeze.
But you know what? That unpredictability of the toddler years are my favorite. You never know what they will do, but they love hard and they play hard and it’s all magic. They haven’t learned the art of the “fake smile” so you know every grin is authentic.
Check out the full video of this sweetheart’s session here! I love incorporating video into your portraits. There is something so beautiful about actually seeing your toddler walk, or break into a grin, or snuggle into you, that is more than a still photograph can express. Video is included in Signature Sessions and is available as an optional add-on to any 60 minute Digital Session.
Also new this year are add-on sessions!
With any booked 60 minute Digital Session or Signature Session, you can add-on a shorter Milestone session. This is perfect for maternity portraits, gender reveal sessions, or in this case, a cake smash! Cake Smash portrait sessions include a beautiful custom cake from La Cakerie (as seen on Cake Wars, Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Wars and more!), decorated according to your birthday theme.
You can do your cake smash inside on a backdrop (with easy access to a tub when baby is coated head-to-toe in icing!) or outside at a location of your choice for a more organic feel.
These are all-inclusive, short-and-sweet sessions. They take approximately 15-20 minutes, and include 10 edited digital images for you have (no picking or choosing or ordering required- you get them all!). These add-on sessions are ideal for capturing a milestone.
Cake Smashes are especially fun. You never know how baby will react to having an entire cake to themselves! Some babies love the mess, others are more delicate. It’s an adorable way to celebrate a first birthday.
My niece was no exception. Look at that sweet messy face!
She took her cake very seriously. Not quite sure of what’s going on, she poked and prodded it, and spent more time finger painting with the icing than actually eating it.
She made a delightful mess, squishing cake between her toes. (and yes, she did eat a few bites)
And bonus- whatever part of the cake is salvageable is carefully placed back in the box for you to take home and enjoy. After all, these cakes are as delicious as they are pretty!
Interested in booking a first birthday portrait with a cake smash add on? Contact me today to schedule!