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Beyond the Smash Cake - 3 Tips for how to do milestone photography that's fun instead of stressf

Don’t get me wrong…I’m absolutely enchanted by smash cake pictures.

First Birthday Smash Cake Photography Session in Lenexa

If you’re one of the lucky momma’s who has a little who loves cake and loves getting messy, a smash cake photography session is an amazing way to memorialize their first birthday. But, believe it or not, lots of kids aren’t into cake and don’t like to get messy. More importantly, the 1st birthday is not the only baby milestone you’ll want to capture.

There are plenty of smash cake tutorials out there, so I won’t spend any time here telling you how to get those great shots.

Sometimes as moms we get so caught up in wanting to do what we see on Pinterest and in what we “should” do. But we all know that with babies and toddlers, what you want and what actually happens are vastly different.

Sure, as a professional photographer, I do enough photography sessions that I do sometimes get the perfect Pinterest picture. But often times, babies just have their own agendas. That’s why I’ve developed a style of photography I call “let kids be kids”. The philosophy is remembering that the whole point of the milestone pictures is to forever remember what your sweet baby was like at that age. So instead of trying to duplicate the pictures you’ve seen elsewhere, ask yourself, when is my baby or toddler the happiest? What’s his favorite toy? What food makes her giggle every time you bring it out?

From there, we craft a beautiful image. And we’ve already bought our child’s willing participation by choosing something they love. My kiddos love pancakes—LOVE them. After deciding that pancakes were going to be my next photography conquest, the next key is getting the details right.

As a new mom it took me a while to figure out why my pictures didn’t look amazing even though my daughter was obviously the most gorgeous kid on the face on the planet (maybe I’m a bit biased?). I wasn’t thinking about the background. And that matters…it really matters. That doesn’t mean you have to have a photography studio with professional backdrops. It means finding a clean spot in your house (lol, there are no clean spots in my house). Look for a place where there is nothing between your baby and a solid colored wall. Bonus points if you find a place where you can sit your sweetie at least 3 ft from the wall and still have room to take their picture.

And finally, it’s about wardrobe. For everyday wear, I put my kids in crazy cute stuff. Patterns, pictures, characters, everything goes. For photography though, less is more. Scour your closet for solids or minimal patterns. Bonus points if you can match their solid clothes with another part of the subject.

6 month baby photographer had blueberry pancake milestone session in Lenexa

It doesn’t have to be food though! That’s not everyone’s thing. Your kid into splish-splashing in the bath? Water themed shoots are awesome.

Reflecting Pool Picture with Splashing Child on black backdrop in Lenexa

This shoot was so fun. See my blog about how I did this. But, a simple bath or backyard pool shoot can really capture the delight kids have with water.

Does your little one like helping you bake? Try this flour themed photo shoot. Yes, it was a mess to clean up. WORTH IT.

How about getting messy? You got a child who just doesn’t care if they’re covered in mud from head to toe? These spaghetti pictures might be for you.

Is your daughter a future book worm? Take her picture in her element. She doesn’t even have to smile to make these pictures great!

Children's Photographer had a book reading session in Overland Park

Kids Reading Photography

And, if all else fails, throw them into a giant bowl of cheerios. It’s a scientific fact that all kids like cheerios.

6 month baby in a bowl of cheerios

Got an idea you’d like to do with your kiddo? Or an idea you’d like to see me do with one of my clients? Drop me a line!

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