Inspire: cake smash edition

Inspire: newborn edition
Inspire: maternity edition
Inspire: child edition




Cake smash sessions will be a fun mess!  There are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the time you are photographing these little mess makers.

  1. There are many things similar working with these specialized sessions as working with children in general - please refer to that as far as how to work with children in general.
  2. The cake. For this session I highly recommend working with an artistic baker, someone that makes custom cakes. Reason being, when you do this you can go above and beyond making the parent feel amazing by having a custom one-of-a-kind cake for their child's session. I like to ask the parent first what theme they have in mine, if it isn't a theme - at least color palette.
  3. Flavors. My number one, no questions asked is do.NOT.use.chocolate! No matter how much little Sally loves chocolate if you do a cake smash like that it will look like.......poo.....and that is not cute. You also want to have fun easy frosting - think butter cream icing, or at least make sure to rip open the fondant if the baker uses that with butter cream underneath so that it is easy to get messy and taste it.
  4. The scene. I prefer to work with cheap paper backdrops (bulletin board paper from my local teacher supply store) that cost me a whole $0.15/yard so that I can let the kids go crazy and just trash the mess after I'm all done. I also have begun to use paper streamers so that in case the little hands get on the background.
  5. Details. First and foremost you want to get a shot of the cake before it is demolished. While the little one is making a mess get in close and get shots of those little messy toes, fingers and messy face.
  6. Time. Know that it may take a few minutes for the little one to actually understand what you're trying to do, what you want them to do. Chances are Mom/Dad have spent the first year teaching them to not play with their food :)  So help them make the initial mess - or even better have Mom/Dad help make the mess (and get a few shots of that too).
  7. Wardrobe. Cloth diapers are the best thing to do! You can have Mom/Dad purchase or use a colorful one that matches with the theme you are going with OR if you can find or custom make a bloomer/bib set that is even better! Fun hats/bows are also a great addition to the outfit.
  8. Things to keep handy. Music! I know it may sound silly but kids tend to love music, especially fun upbeat music and it helps to keep the mood light and fun and keep Mom/Dad laughing while the mess is happening. Wipes, chances are that you, Mom, Dad and anyone else within slinging range will have some cake/icing on them - so keep a box of wipes handy to keep things clean. Sweet little candies, something sweet that is a favorite of the little one so that in case they aren't 'into' the whole cake smash thing push a little candy into the cake to help get them started and digging into the cake.
  9. Clean up. So it's over.....what now?! If at all possible do it at a place with a bathroom so that after it is all said and done you can easily shower the mess of the little one. Remind the parents to bring an extra set of clothes for their kiddo. If you used paper just bundle it up and trash it.

This Inspire edition was photographed by Morgan Kervin Photography as intended for educational purposes and to inspire other photographers to step out of the box and create wonderful memories for their child clients.


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Change it up

Today I posted this image in regards to a chair I recently found on the curb - awesome!  I crazy lady cleaned it (6 hours) and am contemplating painting the chair.  This spurred a tutorial request - now I have written one before, that can be found here - but this is a variation on that tutorial.


So you start with your image. Get a paint brush - I like to use it with the same color that the thing is I am changing it's color. Then you need to set that layer to color in the blend mode drop down menu (next to opacity by default it is set to normal). You will have to be meticulous and color with the brush everything that you want to change.

Then make a hue/sat adjustment layer and create a clipping mask. Set your hue/sat adjustment layer to the colorize option at the bottom and then start seeing it change!

*Keep in mind that you want it to look realistic so you will have to adjust the hue to set your color then the saturation and lightness to make it look real.
*With the darker colors (red) you will have to make a duplicate layer of your painted background and set it to blend mode multiply and lower the opacity in order to make it look realistic.


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Inspire: child edition

Inspire: newborn edition
Inspire: maternity edition
Inspire: cake smash edition




Child sessions should be tons of fun!  There are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the time you are photographing these pint sized subjects.

  1. Don't be a stranger! Parents tend to teach their children well - don't speak to strangers...so why would the little ones go along with you and be amazing in front of the camera when they've just met you? Chances are they won't.  Spend the first few minutes of the session with your camera put away while you get to know your little camera shy subjects.  Ask them their name and tell them yours, even let them know what your intentions are.
  2. Eye level. Don't you feel a little insecure when someone towers over you? Do you remember when you were a kid and you met a stranger - you thought they were giants, scary strange giants....let's not do this to them. Squat/sit down on their level when speaking to them so they know you mean no harm and are equal to them.
  3. Let them see you work.  Most of the kids you will work with will be very curious - make a game out of it. Tell them that if you can take a few pictures they can see on the back of your camera OR even more fun and bringing more smiles (if you can get Mom/Dad to play along), you can make a deal that if you can take their picture then THEY can take a picture of their parents!
  4. Silly Time! The smaller the kid, the sillier you will have to be - so practice your silly sounds and faces. When you act silly you will get those great smiles that the parents LOVE ♥ Also let the kid know it's OK to be silly! They will be nervous that their parents won't approve - but make sure you are all in agreement that silly time is a great thing.
  5. Location. This is so important for the session. If your location has tall grass the kid may have 'itchies' and it can be impossible for the session to continue. If it's outside in the Spring chances are there will be bugs - so you will need a back up in case that happens, either location or a way to make bugs fun. You also don't want a distracting location since most likely whatever distractions there are will indubitably be more intruiging then you.
  6. Bribery. Yes it is acceptable in this case. You have to ask beforehand to make sure it is OK with the parents but most likely they do it too ;)  Depending on the age find out what they love - it can be small toys, book, candy or other snacks. The bribe will come in handy for getting the final product.
  7. Wardrobe. Kids will move, and play....heck they will probably be all over the ground to be honest. Make sure that Mom/Dad know this and choose the wardrobe accordingly. So if you plan to hold the session outside - white or other light colors will not be ideal. Patterns and bright colors are great for fun child sessions.
  8. Relax. Both you and the parents should be relaxed during the session, just as with newborns children can sense anxiety and will behave as such. You also want to let the parents know to stand aside during the session or you will get lots of 'off camera' looks from the kids.
  9. Lens excitement. No it's not just a thing photographers have! Make your lens interesting for the small crowd - think lens friend. I have a crab with googley eyes and it works wonders! If you aren't a lens pet type of person have the child look into the lens and tell you when it winks at them - this always gets great inquisitive looks and giggles.

This Inspire edition was photographed by Morgan Kervin Photography as intended for educational purposes and to inspire other photographers to step out of the box and create wonderful memories for their child clients.

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Inspire: newborn edition



Inspire: maternity edition
Inpsire: child edition
Inspire: cake smash edition



Newborn sessions can be very stressful if you aren't prepared for all the possibilities!  There are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the time you are preparing for and photographing your tiniest clients.


  1. Age. Now most clients consider newborns to be anywhere between birth and 2-3 months in age, in photographer speak it means just a few days old. There is a reason for this - new babies (less than 10 days old) sleep and sleep HARD. They are also easy to pose and are still very bendable, since they are fresh out of Momma's cozy belly where they were cramped in a tiny space. This time is also before the baby acne shows up, as well as colic trouble and other digestive issues that would keep bub awake and grumpy.
  2. Hot. Knowing what I just mentioned - baby was in Momma's belly for 9 whole months where it is toasty! Once baby comes out they can't regulate their body temperature so keep it warm wherever you are holding the session. If YOU aren't too hot - it isn't hot enough ;)
  3. Accidents happen. Be prepared - bring an extra set of clothes in case it does. Keep wipes handy, as you will most likely need to clean up some sort of mess throughout the session (and some can be quite hilarious). Inform the parents that it is OK - when it does happen they will be embarrassed and unsure, just make sure to tell them ahead of time...and have them get an extra set of clothes on hand for themselves as well if they will be participating.
  4. Safety. Although these tiny little people are flexible and seem easy to photograph they are in fact probably the most difficult. You want to keep in mind that babies ARE in fact just small, teen tiny, people - they can be hurt, they can be uncomfortable and they can die if you aren't cautious. They aren't props or invincible - keep them safe and don't try anything unless you are 100% sure that the baby will be fine. Start small with easy bean bag poses - baby will let you know when you're pushing it too far.
  5. Listen. Baby will be vocal and visual throughout the session - watch for the cues. Sneezes, coughs, flailing, reflexes - if baby is uncomfortable they will let you know. If the baby isn't comfy in person it will show in the images.
  6. An extra hand. If you don't have an assistant - ask Mom or Dad to help out with certain poses and to keep baby happy. Also great for set up changes and for grabbing the wipes quickly when poop happens....because it will.
  7. Tick tock. It will be a long process - make sure the parents know this. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours! It all depends on the baby, your desired set ups and your experience. So have a game plan when you go in there, get the 'money shots' first - then move on to the optional, and often more creative shots for last.
  8. Details. Don't forget the detail shots! Tiny hands, lips, toes, baby rolls - oh I love tiny baby rolls ♥! I try to first set up an easy shot on the bean bag after baby is calm and cozy to get the detail shots first - then move on to other poses and variations.
  9. Keep your cool - and have them do it too. I will say this forever - babies smell fear and anxiety. If you are anxious, nervous or fearful - they will be too - same goes for anyone else there with you. Babies read the atmosphere and take their cues from it. So breathe, be patient and if possible take a workshop or mentor with someone experienced before you give it a go so you will be as informed and calm as possible for the best tiny people sessions :)

This Inspire edition was photographed by Morgan Kervin Photography as intended for educational purposes and to inspire other photographers to step out of the box and create wonderful memories for their newborn clients.

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Inspire: maternity edition

Inspire: newborn edition
Inspire: child edition
Inspire: cake smash edition




Maternity sessions can be tons of fun!  There are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the time you are photographing the beautiful momma-to-be.

  1. Step-Up. Have Mom put her foot that is closest to you/the camera forward a few inches then pull her heel up off of the ground so she is on the ball of that front foot, while keeping her weight on her back leg.
  2. No claws! One of my biggest things with maternity sessions is telling them to keep their fingers together and relaxed - otherwise you will get the Mom talons, like she is about to claw the baby free - eek!
  3. Degrees* Front on belly doesn't often translate very well - try to have Mom stand 45* to you - then try 90* or better yet YOU climb up on a step ladder and look down.
  4. Space.  Maternity can be tough when it comes to keeping the shape of a woman - to do this you want to create space between her arms and waist, even if it's just a tiny bit.
  5. Wardrobe!  You won't always have a Momma that is ready to bare her belly - or more - so make sure to properly style your maternity sessions. Clothes that hold shape are great, you want to avoid the mu-mu during the styling ;) Tank tops - jeans - cute dresses that show off the belly - layers that accentuate just under the bust - belts and oh so cute accessories ♥
  6. Location - location - location. It should make sense as well as keep it simple so that the focus is still clear as to what you're photographing.
  7. Fun times!  It's always great to get the standard shots, then get creative with your ideas - then GO NUTS! Get crazy and come up with some fun ideas that showcase the amazingly fun people you are photographing :D
  8. Bringing a piece of them. Incorporate something that is special to the family/couple. Some item that will belong to baby. Something that is special to Mom/Dad - make it personal.
  9. Connection. When you toss Dad into the mix on a maternity session - chances are it will be a great thing! First if the man is there and willing that is amazing!  Make sure that you show a clear connection and keep them touching in some way or another - sweet simple affection.

This Inspire edition was photographed by Morgan Kervin Photography as intended for educational purposes and to inspire other photographers to step out of the box and create wonderful memories for their maternity clients.


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