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What Expect & Preparing for your Session

First things first…

Let’s talk for a moment about our session. My goal is to create an authentic experience for you full of emotion and fun. My goal IS NOT to recreate someone else’s session or a Pinterest board. I often work with families and young children and while I as a mother understand the goal of having nice family photos of everyone smiling perfectly at the camera, with little ones nothing is ever guaranteed. My goal is to deliver a session that is full of emotion and interaction and love. I want you to look back at these photos years from now and remember your children as they are in all of their glory in this moment. I have created some tips and I hope they help you prepare for our upcoming session…

Cake Smash/First Birthday Sessions

Please note*** If you want cake smash pictures for your baby’s 1st birthday invitations, contact us by the time your baby is 10 months because the session needs to take place when your baby is actually 11 months.  Contact us NOW to get on our calendar…

There are two outfits allowed: A cute first birthday outfit, and the cake smash “attire” (usually a diaper/cover…see below). The first few shots we get will be portraits of your baby dressed in a cute outfit for a couple traditional first birthday portraits. Then take a few minutes to change your baby into their cake smash “attire”.

It is great to incorporate some decorations from the first birthday party (such as a crafty banner). We have discovered that most of our clients follow the “less is more” philosophy…they tend to like simple/clean/uncluttered look. Don’t worry, even if this describes YOUR STYLE, a DIY banner is usually a PERFECT look to dress up a cake smash.

Please let me know ahead of time what color you prefer so we can make sure we can style the session ahead of time. I provide basic props and balloons for the session but not the cake. I have many suggestions including Publix for an adorable cake.

Most babies simply wear a diaper cover (like bloomers), a tutu or cloth diaper for the cake smash. A gDiaper or other color or pattern-coordinating cloth or designer diaper is fine. Some parents prefer to do the cake smash with the baby fully clothed instead of in a diaper, and this is totally fine with us. Just be aware that the clothes and diaper cover MAY be ruined by the icing coloring.

Have some puffs, Cheerios or your baby’s favorite dry finger food on hand to stuff into the cake in case they need help being a little more interested in it.

If you prefer to provide a home-baked cake yourself instead of from the bakery, please make sure that no toothpicks or other structural items are placed inside the cake. Also for home-baked cakes, please avoid lining the base plate with tin foil.

There is a $5 extra fee added if your baby doesn’t share the cake with me. (just kidding!!) Happy Cake Smashing! -Darlene


Congratulations on your new addition!  This is such an exciting time.  Please review the notes below before your upcoming newborn session.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  You may call, text, email, or reach me by Facebook at anytime.

Newborns are best photographed between 5-14 days old.  Have baby full and sleepy.  Feed baby 15-30 before your session is to begin.  Full babies sleep better and sleeping babies are easier to position and can handle the session for longer. In preparation for my arrival, please take baby down to just a diaper.  Loosen the diaper and wrap baby in a blanket for warmth and comfort.  I will have a space heater to keep the room very warm for baby.  I will bring props and wraps so you don’t have to worry about what to dress the baby in. You are welcome to set out something that is special to you that you would like for me to include in your session. I provide a plain white comforter if needed to provide a neutral bedding. I recommend that any supporting family members who will be in the photographs wear neutral clothing (beiges, ivory, white, light grey, or pastels). Allow up to 3 hours for your newborn session.  Some may take longer. Most of all know that I love babies.  I have a son myself.  I have lots of patience and I’m very caring.  I take my time and stay calm.  There is nothing your baby can do that will upset me.  I will hold, comfort and love on your baby throughout the session.  Safety always comes first.

Maternity Preparation

Book your session to be held around 32-37 weeks of your pregnancy.

Choose 1-2 gowns or outfits. Please no flip flops as they do not photograph well. Closed toe shoes, boots, going barefoot, or neutral colored sandals are preferred and photograph the best. You may consider gown rental and here are some sites:

Mama Bump Rentals

Mine for Nine

Borrow for Your Bump

Please wear your hair to your liking. I prefer hair down either straight or curly.


Please keep makeup as simple as possible. Dark/heavy makeup do not mix well for outdoor portraits as you will be moving around and will probably sweat a little.

Please bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated.

I include immediate family (if you have other children) and the father in the beginning of your session so please plan your outfit accordingly.  Towards the end, I will ask you to change and do some formal shots with the father and then the formals of yourself.

Children’s Sessions

Trust me, I know how kids can be. I have one myself. Check for any boogers.  I know it’s gross yes, but editing out boogers is no fun either.

Please think of shoes , preferably, white, silver, gold, black or neutrals as they can go with anything.

Makeup, I do not recommended makeup on any child as I like them to be children.

I want your child to have a fun experience.

Please bring some water and snacks so that we can take breaks throughout the session and your child can take a few moments for themselves.

Family Sessions

Attention to detail is everything, including socks! Especially for men, we can see your socks in certain posing placements. Also, please keep phones out of pockets and hair bands off of wrists.  I will also do a quick check before we start our session.

Wear neutral colors, pastels or jeweled tones. Prints are okay, but nothing too loud.

Textures film well. So if you have silks, chiffons, feathers, tulle, these are great choices to wear on camera!

Wardrobe selection,  as well as light, are the two most important roles in your photographs.  Believe it or not, location plays the third role, not first. Please trust me on locations that I provide.

FYI, You will probably think I am showing up like a bum to your session. I normally wear tights, boots and either a blouse or sweater. You will see me mostly rolling around in  the dirt (yes, I am very dirty after each session) or you will be seeing me trampling through mud. I take this job very seriously for my clients! Please don’t judge me.

All sessions will take place about an hour to an hour and a half prior to sunset or sunrise. On particular beaches, we may start about a half hour prior to sunset and work with the light when it has set. No exceptions. I am very strict when I shoot because I like to provide my clients with the best!

I rarely double book days.  I only do one session per day, which is why it is very important to pay your retainer and lock in the date you want. Weekend dates book up quickly, even weekdays.

In the case of inclement weather, we will reschedule and if we are unable to reschedule, you will receive your retainer back.