I had the absolute pleasure this spring of photographing my son's best friend from preschool along with her mom and big sister. I loved spending time with all of them and getting to know the family better. Oliver was taken with Makenna the very first week of school and she has been special to him (and me) ever since.
When I decided to start offering the Special Smiles Sessions, I did some research online to see if there were any classes I could take to help me photograph kids with disabilities better. That's when I learned about Special Kids Photography of America. I started the process of becoming accredited with them and needed to submit images as part of my application. I thought of the Manning family right away. I knew Makenna would be a joy to photograph, and I was so right!
I completely and utterly adore this little girl. Do I say that about all of the kids I photograph? Well, I really mean it with this one! I photographed Miss M for her six month portraits and had the best conversation with her as she happily let me snap amazing shot after amazing shot. I'm so happy that her family came back for her one year portrait!
We started out the session with an idea that Mom had for outdoor portraits using a mirror. You would not have known it was spring by the weather that day, so I had a cute little coat ready for her to keep her warm. We still made it kinda quick and headed into the studio for the rest of the session.
As with all one year portraits, we wanted to showcase what milestones she had achieved. I set up a crate for her to hold on to for standing since she wasn't quite doing it on her own. She wasn't too sure about that one, but once Mom and Dad got into the picture, she became really excited to show me what she could do!
People often ask me "What is the difference between a regular cake smash and an Epic Cake Smash?" I figure it's just easier to show them.
HeartStrings Photography is the ONLY studio in Central New York offering the signature Epic Cake Smash Session. This exclusive session type was dreamed up by me for my son's first birthday portrait (see the story here). I spend many hours crafting every detail of the set by hand and work closely with one of the area's most talented cake designers to create one of a kind smash cakes (see behind the scenes here). Epic Cake Smash clients may choose one of the predesigned themes (many seen below) or I will happily create a theme unique to their child. Even the predesigned themes can be altered a little bit to fit the child's personality.
What I call a Basic Cake Smash is really just a standard Portrait Session with a little added treat. Half of the one hour session is a one year portrait in an outfit of the client's choosing, either in studio or outside. The second half of the session is when we get messy!
I use a white vinyl backdrop with some basic props and add a handmade banner across the back. The banner is customized to each family's color scheme. Clients are welcome to bring their own cake or they can choose to have the cake provided for a small fee. The cake I provide is a delicious and beautiful 6" round buttercream smash cake from my cake designer, Melanie, which is decorated with fondant accents in the chosen color scheme.
Here in Upstate New York, big blizzards that dump two feet of snow on our lawns within hours don't scare us a bit, and on this day a couple weeks ago, neither did the travel ban! We braved the roads for the very short drive to the park down the street for some fun in the snow. Oliver is four years old and SO over his mom taking photos of him, so I had to take advantage of the opportunity to get some shots of him smiling. Snow might scare other photographers (technically hard to get exposure and wet equipment are two major concerns), but I was in the mood for a challenge!
When I was contacted about a Halloween theme Epic Cake Smash session, I was just about as excited as I could be. I absolutely love Halloween decorations. I couldn't wait to get started!
I sat down with Isabella's parents for our pre-session consultation to talk about their ideas for the theme. Her mom, Jessy, explained that she was totally obsessed with Halloween. Their wedding was even a Nightmare Before Christmas theme! She wanted to include elements of the movie in the session, but didn't want the whole thing to be based on it. I was through the roof with glee! I absolutely love Tim Burton! I was overflowing with ideas even before the consultation was over. The hard part was keeping the set true to the themes without being too scary.
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger