Baby Starr | A Llama Cake Smash for Grayson

Jeff and I have shared an inside joke about llamas for as long as I can remember. I think it was one of the very first weekends that we were dating when we were walking around downtown Saratoga Springs, and we saw a llama standing on the sidewalk poking its head into the windows of a bar and leaning over a table inside of the restaurant. Ever since we have spent years worth of scavenger hunts with a bonus llama category that would give us extra points.

Our family knew the llama story, so Grayson received a few gifts this year that were llama related. He has a llama for his crib, and his favorite books are the Llama Llama series — he gets so animated every time we open these books and he puts his hand down to stop turning the page so that he can really enjoy what he sees, pointing and babbling to the llamas in front of him.

So it was only natural that we did a llama cake smash with our little guy! (Who, by the way, I still can’t believe is ONE!! Where did this year disappear to?!?!)

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

This adorable llama cake lasted all of 25 seconds because our son is in a fun new stage of “I must knock everything over!!” The cake fell upside down off the cake stand TWICE within the first 3 minutes of his cake smash. He’s a talented little smasher!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

There he is contemplating the very best way to get the cake off of the cake stand!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

I will never grow tired of photographing little baby feet! His feet are already turning into muscular and lean toddler feet, and he’s losing the squishy padding that he used to have beneath his toes. Stop growing up so fast, baby boy!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday
llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

The sad face was when I took away his wooden spoon! This boy loves to feed himself and he is obsessed with spoons!

Of course we finished up with a bathtub splash, and Grayson LOVED tubby time! His favorite song for bath time is “Splish Splash (I was taking a bath)”, so once it came on he was giggling and splashing all over the place.

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday
llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

My sweet boy! I love you so much, and I can’t believe that we just finished your first birthday cake smash! Where did this year go?!?!

Happy Birthday Barratt! A Simple Studio Session

Family portraits during our first birthday sessions are always some of my FAVORITE portraits to take in a baby’s first year. This is when parents have just gotten through their first year of parenthood. There have been so many new and exciting moments, a lot of ups and downs, and plenty of victories as they get to know this tiny human they created.

These sessions are always filled with laughter and awe as they look at their little one’s budding personality, and when Barratt’s parents joined me in the studio for his first birthday session it was no different. They were so in love with their little guy, and these cuddly portraits are some of my favorites this winter!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

The cream sofa in the studio is one of my favorite spots for timeless images that really let your family and their personalities shine. I always love placing a one year old on the sofa by himself and letting him sit, laugh, crawl, stand, and explore. These make for the cutest portraits of your baby right on the brink of becoming a toddler!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

We did a simple white and rustic cake smash for Barratt, and his mama requested that the only decor be our shiplap backdrop and bottle brush trees on the cake. Done!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

Barratt, of course, wanted to make the trees go “timberrrrrr” right away!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

A Pastel Woodland Birthday Session for Karsyn

Karsyn joined me at our Saratoga Springs portrait studio for a magical first birthday session. Her mama asked me to create a floral and rustic woodland scene for the birthday girl, so we used the Lavender Fields backdrop by Heidi Hope Backdrops, along with some birch trees, hanging flowers, and twinkle lights for the perfect scene.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

Like most one-year olds, Karsyn was very interested in playing with the pearl beads that we keep in the studio to keep tiny hands busy!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

We finished with a bathtub splash, and this sweet birthday girl loved the water! She started splishing and splashing all over the place, and she was especially fascinated in the soap bubbles.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

Thinking of a birthday session for your baby? Let’s chat!

Boho Cake Smash with Floral Hoops | Saratoga Springs, NY Cake Smash Photographer

Luiza traveled to our Attleboro studio all the way from Cape Cod to celebrate her first birthday with a cake smash session, and I had so much fun with this happy, smiley birthday girl and her sweet family!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

She enjoyed lots of cuddles with her brother, mom, and dad in the studio, and she didn't stop smiling and laughing the entire time!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

For her cake smash, we used a new backdrop of floral hoops for a boho feel, with pops of light pink per mom's request.  I absolutely love how this backdrop came together for Luiza's session -- check out a DIY tutorial to make your own on the blog!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

We have SO MANY BIRTHDAY BABIES on the calendar for this summer.  Have you booked your cake smash session yet?  Be sure to reach out with at least one month before your baby's birthday to ensure a spot on the calendar for your little one's birthday session!
 

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

A Donut Smash for Dylan's First Birthday with Union Square Donuts | Boston Baby Photographer

Who said cake smashes can only include cake?  Dylan celebrated her first birthday with donuts from Union Square Donuts in Somerville, and I'm in love!!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

This donut smash was such a fun way to celebrate Dylan's first birthday, and I love that her mom came to me with a totally unique idea, inspired to try something new and give her daughter a birthday experience that was extra special to their family -- they are regular Sunday morning customers at their local donut shop, of course!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

Of course, dad couldn't resist jumping in for a bite!  I always love it when babies get to happy to share their birthday smash food with family, and this is definitely a favorite moment captured from Dylan's session!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

All of our birthday sessions include family portraits, and one-year olds are so much fun to play with!  Dylan's mom and dad enjoyed cuddles, tickles, and so many sweet little giggles from their birthday girl!  She was just learning to walk at the time of her session, and I am obsessed with the images of her walking with her daddy.  Her expressions are priceless!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

Did you love this session?  Looking for inspiration for your cake smash?  Check out our blog post with 70+ theme ideas (including food alternatives!) for your baby's cake smash session.

The One with ALL OF THE CAKES! | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer

Cake smash sessions are one of my favorite ways to celebrate your baby's first birthday.  I love welcoming families to our Saratoga Springs studio (and our Attleboro studio!) for a very sweet portrait session.  You have survived 365 days of parenthood, so let's celebrate!

saratoga springs cake smash baby photographer, boston cake smash baby photographer

One of the things that I love the most about our cake smash sessions is unleashing my creativity on our custom-designed backdrops and sets.  Each session is unique, so I plan a custom backdrop for every baby based on the theme that their parents give me.  

This year we saw everything from superheroes & construction trucks, to Lilly Pulitzer & Cookie Monster.  Some parents use favorite books for inspiration (The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake smash, by Eric Carle), while others come to me with a favorite quote to incorporate into their session ("Love you to the moon and back").  

Just look at how CREATIVE parents were this year in coming up with themes for their little ones' birthdays!  I absolutely adore pulling their theme inspiration into a whimsical cake smash just for your baby.  I can't wait to take our backdrop creation to a whole new level in 2017!  Just wait until you see what we have in store for you this year!

saratoga springs cake smash baby photographer, boston cake smash baby photographer

One of the challenges that I enjoy in designing these creative sessions is that every single one is unique.  Even if a family comes to me months later requesting the same theme that another family used, I make sure to plan an entirely new set up for them so that their baby can shine in his or her own way.

This year there were some tears...   (Actually, a lot more tears than just these twins!  But this is my favorite image!)

saratoga springs cake smash baby photographer, boston cake smash baby photographer

And some helpers...  I think mom & dad always enjoy the cake as much as the baby, sometimes even more so!  

And there were a whole lot of cute babies (almost toddlers!).  Seriously, I can't believe I get to spend my days with babies, cake, and craft projects.  I must have the best job ever!

Need some inspiration for your baby's first birthday photo shoot?  Here’s a list of all of our favorite cake smash themes this year!

Lilly Pulitzer cake smash

Construction Trucks cake smash

Boho Chic cake smash

Cookie Monster cake smash

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star cake smash

Floral cake smash

Make Way for Ducklings cake smash

Where the Wild Things Are cake smash

Love You to the Moon and Back cake smash

Oh the Places You’ll Go cake smash

The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake smash

Cookies & Milk cake smash

And here are cake smash themes we'd love to do in the studio in 2017 to celebrate your baby's first birthday cake smash photo shoot!  Plus, any other ideas you have for your session!

Rocket Ship cake smash

Day at the Beach cake smash

Hot Air Balloon (Oh the Places You'll Go) cake smash

Rustic Woods cake smash

Winter Wonderland cake smash

Pirate cake smash

Unicorn cake smash

Jungle cake smash

Baseball cake smash

Glitter & Gold cake smash

Boho Chic cake smash

Airplane/Aviation cake smash

Under the Sea cake smash

Floral crowns with a "naked cake" (minimal frosting) cake smash

Nautical cake smash

And a few alternate foods/items we'd love to do for your session, because remember that not every baby is all about the cake!

Spaghetti smash

Watermelon smash

Pumpkin Pie smash

Finger painting smash

Muffin smash

One thing we added as an option to our sessions this year was a little SPLASH!  Our "smash & splash" sessions are becoming increasingly popular, and who doesn't love a little tub bath at the end of their portrait session?  

 

saratoga springs cake smash photographer, boston cake smash photographer

A Cake Smash & Splash Session at our Saratoga Springs Portrait Studio

For Ryan's birthday session, we tried something a little different for his cake smash... by following it up with a SPLASH!  This little boy absolutely loves the water, so it was only natural to have a smash & splash, with a bubble bath after his session to capture a few more adorable photos of him as he celebrates his first birthday.  I was thrilled to finally be able to use this vintage washing tub that I found at the Brimfield Flea Market last year, and to use our brand new wooden boards backdrop for the very first time in our new studio!

 

Ryan's family came to our Saratoga Springs studio to celebrate 365 days of parenthood.  365 days of smiles, 365 days of cuddles, and 365 days of an amazing little boy who has brought so much light to their world.  Seriously, this little boy is ALWAYS HAPPY.  He smiled the entire time we were together, and he never got fussy for even a moment.  That is a rarity when photographing little ones (check out some upcoming blog posts — we are going to show you ALL of the crying babies!), and I was thoroughly impressed.  I could photograph happy babies all day, every day!  

saratoga springs baby photography studio
saratoga springs baby portrait session
saratoga springs baby photography
saratoga springs baby photographer

Ryan LOVED his cake.  His mom told me before our session that he loves to eat, and she wasn’t kidding.  He ate more of his birthday cake than any other baby I’ve ever photographed.  Ryan set a record in our studio for being the very first baby to devour his entire cake.  And then, he was looking for more cake by leaning in to lick every crumb off of the cake stand.  What little bit wasn’t stuck between his toes and fingers was inside of his belly, and at the end of his session there was no solid cake left on our seamless paper!  We couldn’t stop laughing at his eagerness to devour his sweet little birthday cake, and we were so glad to capture that excitement on camera during his cake smash.  

 

If you loved Ryan’s cake smash, you should check out these other birthday babies:

A Superhero Cake Smash

A Where the Wild Things Are Cake Smash

Oh the Places You'll Go First Birthday Cake Smash

 

Is your baby turning one in the next few months? 

Email us at hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and let’s chat about planning the perfect birthday celebration for this milestone! 

Use the contact tab above to get in touch, and you can also browse more cake smash inspiration in the “Sessions” tab above!

Oh The Places You'll Go First Birthday Cake Smash | Happy Birthday, Mallika!

One of my favorite things about being a cake smash photographer is when I get to work with clients who are just as excited about planning their baby's birthday photo session as I am!  

When Mallika's mom first contacted me about her daughter's cake smash, I instantly knew that we would be a great fit.  She had so many beautiful ideas for her daughter's birthday session, and it was really important to her that we create just the right look & style for her cake smash set up.  After many conversations, we decided that what she really wanted was a simple, classic, and minimalist look with a focus on the baby.  That is just my style!  :o)  Bring on the pure white seamless paper!  She also wanted to incorporate the soft colors and a quote from her favorite book, Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go".  

pink birthday girl romper from the stag and the swan, Albany NY photographer nicole starr photography

After I saw a picture of her beautiful little romper from The Stag and the Swan, the whole set came together in my mind and I loved bringing it to life!  I've been dabbling in calligraphy ever since attending a hand-lettering workshop with Sip & Script Boston (check out their page for a fun ladies' night out, and a new alternative to a paint night!).  Creating this calligraphy backdrop was my largest project to date, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it all came together for this charming little girl's birthday.

oh the places you'll go birthday cake smash
oh the places you'll go birthday cake smash with Albany NY photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

The little birthday girl, Mals, sure looks like she loved it too, doesn't she?  

Soft pink birthday girl cake smash, Albany photographer Nicole Starr Photography

One of my tried & true tricks for engaging one year olds during their photo session is to hide puffs in the frosting or on my white flokati rug.  If you are around any babies at all, you know that puffs are everyone's favorite snack and they are always a huge hit with these little ones.  Plus, they blend into the carpet or frosting, are small enough to fit into their tiny hands, and they do not leave a trace of crumbs on their teeth.  They are the perfect photo shoot snack!  

Mallika loved her puffs, and they kept her quite entertained while sitting on my curved bench prop.  I just love that in this photo, she has everything she could ever need -- a helping hand from her mom, and a snack within reaching distance.  Full bellies make for happy babies!  

Mr. & Mrs. and Co. curved bench prop, Albany NY photographer Nicole Starr Photography

This is the face of a girl who LOVES her puffs:

Albany NY cake smash baby photographer

In typical one-year old fashion, it's not uncommon for our cake smash sessions to end with a couple of tears.  After all, if someone gave you an entire cake and let you go to town on it, and then took it away from you just when it was starting to get really fun, wouldn't  you want to cry, too?  I think that these moments are just as cute & frame-worthy as the happy clapping, the bubbly laughter, and the sparkling eyes.  I always make sure to keep shooting when the tears start to come out, and it definitely makes for some fun memories!

Finally, a couple of family photos to celebrate surviving (and thriving in!) their first year of parenthood.  Congratulations, P. family!  Your family is absolutely beautiful, and I am so thankful that you invited me into your lives to capture this milestone for you to enjoy.