Monday, April 23, 2018

Behind the Scenes - Cake Smash Part II

This past weekend I had a blast shooting a Cake Smash session with Aaron. Mom and Dad love baseball and wanted to have a baseball theme to their session. Since Mom is an Angel's fan and Dad is a Dodger's fan we didn't have a specific team we were representing, it was just an overall baseball theme...  I guess he can figure out his team allegiance when he gets a little older! :-)

In my last blog post, I went over a general outline of a cake smash, what to expect and a few pointers... this time I'm just going to show a few images from my most recent session and a couple behind the scenes images of me doing my thing, courtesy of Aaron's mom!

As you can see below, the first part of the session is all about baseball. Aaron was such a rockstar and did a great job "posing" for the camera.

The second part of the session was more "formal." Aaron looked so stinkin' cute with his little hat, tie and suspenders... even though he's not much of a hat guy. We compromised and shot some with hat on, some with hat off. Since Aaron is only 12 months old he's not super balanced, so I made sure that Dad was within grabbing distance (you can see Dad's feet on the right in the behind the scenes image) in case Aaron got a little wobbly or tried to lean forward.

We eventually moved from the chair to the ground for some additional shots...

And last, but not least, we moved to the cake part of the session. I gotta say, this little man loved his cake! It was a lot of fun watching him get into it and really make a mess. Although the cake is too demolished in the image below to see what it was,  it did start out as a cute little baseball cake...

As you can see, there is potential for a big mess, so I'm going to recommend for future Cake Smash sessions that mom or dad bring a t-shirt or something they can put on over their regular clothes so they don't get messy also as they are cleaning up all the cake from their little one... especially if they have somewhere to go after the session! :-)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Behind The Scenes - Cake Smash

This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Miss Sophia for her 12- month cake smash. I first met Sophia about eight months ago when her mom brought her to my studio for a session at four months old.  She was a little cutie then and she’s even more of a cutie now! I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about what happens before and during a cake smash, show a “behind the scenes” (BTS) image (thanks hubby!!), and provide a couple suggestions on what can be done ahead of time to get the most out of your cake smash session.

So, first off all… what the heck is a cake smash? Well, as the name implies, it’s an opportunity to photograph a 12-month old baby smashing cake, hopefully into their face, and photograph them making as much of a mess as possible. What’s not to love about that?!

But, a cake smash session is more than that. As it occurs at the 12-month point, it’s considered a “milestone” session.  At 12 months, babies can generally stand, either on their own or by holding onto something, and some babies are even walking so it’s a great opportunity to capture those “milestone” moments.

Prior to the session, we will talk about clothing and color options. I actually have quite a few dresses/lace jumpers for girls and some cute hats/ties and pants for boys, so if you didn’t want to go buy anything special, you don’t need to. I can send you pictures of what I have and you can see if there is anything that interests you. If you decide to bring your own outfits, I just ask that you text me a picture so I have an idea of what background/props to use.  It’s also helpful for me to know in advance if your child is shy or uncomfortable around strangers so I can try to ease them into the session.  A six inch cake or even a large cupcake works great for the session. I’d prefer if you brought your own as you are aware of any allergy concerns pertaining to your baby, however, if you are unable to I will provide a small  cake for an additional fee of $10.00 as long as you let me know in advance of any food allergies. Buttercream frosting or any frosting that is smooth and creamy works best.

The session will start out as a “regular” session, meaning we will do two different set ups/different outfits/props first, and then the final set up will be the cake smash.  For the session I had this past weekend, mom brought the first two outfits and I provided the cake smash outfit. Below is a BTS picture of Sophia posing for me in her princess dress…. isn’t she a doll? Also, posted is an “after” picture in the princess dress. As you can see in the BTS image, mom is near Sophia while I’m snapping away. Although safety wasn’t a huge concern for this pose, she did sit in chairs and other props for other images... safety is always a priority!

Sophia was feeling great for the first two setups, but when the cake arrives, she just wasn’t into it… and that happens sometimes.

Here are a few suggestions that you can do prior to the session that may help your cake smash go smoothly:

1)            Please be sure your baby has a nap. Unlike a newborn session, we want our 12 month olds awake, alert and ready to rock and roll.
2)            Bring cheerios. Sometimes, especially with shy babies, I need to build trust with them and feeding them treats is a good way to do this. Cheerios are great because they are small, don’t make a mess, and are quick and easy for them to chew and swallow.
3)            Have a trial run… give them cake or a cupcake a week prior to the session. If your baby has never seen a cake before, they don’t really know what to do with it and can be hesitant to dig in and enjoy. If you let them and eat a cake or cupcake prior to your session, they will understand what to do once the time comes.
4)            Do not bring a cake with red frosting. The frosting looks like blood… enough said. 
5)            Keep in mind that babies can get very messy during the cake eating so you don’t want them in their best clothes or even a lot of clothes. It’s best to just have them in a cute diaper cover or a frilly skirt.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a cake smash session of your own (well, for your baby … although I have heard of adult cake smash sessions and if your willing then so am I!) please contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

Karen Ontiveros
K.Onti Photography

Monday, March 12, 2018

What to expect before, during and after your maternity session…

Pregnancy is full of aches and pains, morning sickness, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, and multiple trips to the bathroom at all times of the day and night… it’s a challenge during this time to see yourself as the goddess that you truly are. Bringing new life into the world is probably the most amazing thing you will ever do and, like all amazing experiences, it is so important to capture this moment in time.

I have a friend who is pregnant and a couple weeks ago we were talking about her upcoming maternity session and what she told me just about broke my heart. She is having second thoughts about having a maternity session because she says when she looks in the mirror she doesn’t feel good about the way she looks.  My fondest wish is that she could quiet that negative voice in her head and  see herself through my eyes, or the eyes of her husband, or her mother’s eyes and see how truly beautiful she is at this moment in time.

I’m imagining that some of you probably feel the same way as my friend and that’s where I come in… to photograph you at this somewhat ungainly, uncomfortable time in your life and capture the beauty, glow, and grace that all the rest of us see when we look at you. It’s also important to remember that the images taken aren’t just about you.  They are of you, naturally, but they are about so much more. When your child grows older they are going to cherish these images of you while they were growing in your tummy, as will your grandchildren and their children and so on.

So, what happens during a maternity session you ask? Well, let’s start at the beginning… when you schedule the session we will discuss whether you would prefer to have the session in studio or some place more public, like a park. I'll also ask questions to get an idea of what you want your images to look like, for example, we will talk about what colors you would like to wear; whether you are comfortable showing your belly (don’t worry about a few stretch marks, I have a magic wand to help with those!); if are you wanting to be photographed in your own clothes (I have quite a few beautiful maternity dresses and fabrics so you don’t need to bring anything if you don’t want to); if the baby’s father or siblings going to join you for the session;  whether you are wanting something a little more risqué in your session,  or perhaps you’d like some images in silhouette. If you choose to bring some of your own clothes I can send you a cheat sheet to give you some “do’s and don’ts.” Ultimately, my goal is to have you as comfortable and relaxed during the session as possible so we will want to discuss anything you have questions or concerns about beforehand and get them out of the way.

The most important thing I can recommend bringing is underwear (thong or bikini underwear if possible) and a strapless bra that match the colors we are photographing you in. For example, if you are wearing black for the session it would be helpful when post processing the images if your undergarments were also black. If you don’t have a strapless bra and underwear that match the colors we are photographing, or if we are shooting a variety of colors, then please bring beige/skin tone undergarments with no patterns or designs.

Believe it or not, maternity sessions can be fun… yes, I said fun! I can put on some music to get you in a playful or relaxed mood during your session and you will be photographed in three outfits or looks with different poses, different lighting, perhaps a tiara or flowers in your hair, and heck, we may even use a fan to give the appearance of hair blowing in the wind. I will verbally guide you into the different poses, although occasionally I may fuss with your hair to keep it out of your eyes or from covering your face. If you don’t feel comfortable with any poses, for example lying down, just let me know.  I will also capture images of you with your baby’s father or your baby's siblings if they are present at the session. Maternity sessions typically last between 60-90 minutes.

Once the session is over I will review your images, choose and edit the best of the best and upload them to my website.  I ask that you give me a week, but generally I can have the images ready for you to review within 72 hours. I will also post a “sneak peek” of your session on my Facebook and/or Instagram page within 24 hours. Once your images are uploaded on my website, I will send you the link and password so you can access your images and then you begin the fun process of selecting the ones you want to purchase in print or digital format. There are many different printed sizes and types to choose from so if you need any assistance or recommendations during this process please let me know.

A few last words… celebrate your pregnancy, whether it’s your first, second or sixth, with professional images. A few pictures taken with someone’s cell phone at your baby shower isn’t going to capture you at your best and most flattering. It may feel like you are pregnant FOREVER while you are going through the experience, but really it’s just a blip of time.  Before you know it you will be cheering on the sidelines at soccer games, watching them walk across the stage during graduation, having children of their own, and this time of your life will be a distant memory. Just remember, once it’s over, it’s over. I’ve never known anyone regret having maternity images taken, but I do know women who have regretted NOT having them taken. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Welcome to K. Onti Photography's Blog!!

I've never done a blog and honestly, up until a couple days ago, I don't even know if I've ever read a blog before... so here I am, giving it a go! I'm looking forward to the opportunity of presenting information about me, my experiences during photography sessions, and information about my photography business to potential clients in this type of format... hopefully on a weekly basis.

What has ultimately enticed me to starting a blog is this... it seems like no one wants to communicate by phone anymore, everything is texting or email. And while those mediums can be useful to send and receive information, it seems like I'm writing the same thing over and over again to different people... and when I'm trying to text out information my clients need to know to prepare for their session or answer their questions about scheduling a session, it makes it difficult via text... and my fingers get sore... so I can't be as complete in my communications as I'd like.

But now, I can write out everything I'd like to share, in just one easy to find location, and it can be read by thousands of people... all at the same time even! Isn't technology amazing?

With that being said, I'd still love to speak with you on the phone and engage in a back and forth sharing of ideas for the session, answer any and all questions you may have and, of course, schedule your session so please don't hesitate to call... unless it's midnight, I won't answer if it's midnight. And if it isn't midnight and you call and I still don't answer, please leave a voicemail message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ta-Ta for now... I'm off to make a list of things to blog about in the future. I believe my next blog will  be about what to expect during a maternity session. Can't wait!

Karen Ontiveros
K.Onti Photography

Here's a picture from a past maternity session to get you all in a maternity session kinda mood for next week!