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Cake Smash & First Birthday Photography

Cake Smash & First Birthday Photography

What just happened? 2022 A Year In Review

2022 was a great year! Personally, we welcomed our 3rd and final addition to our family, baby Luka. Professionally I photographed 191 sessions. When I added up all the sessions that number shocked me, as I took off 3.5 months for maternity leave in there!  I’m not going to lie, finding the work life balance this year was a struggle, but I’ve got some ideas on how to fix it moving forward and I can’t wait to photograph even more families next year.

Here is a recap of my 2022 sessions!

Two In-Home Lifestyle Sessions

Lucky for me, both of the in-home lifestyle sessions included the family pups! Oh how I love a good pup and baby shot. These two fur babies were just the sweetest too! Please, hire me to come to your home to photograph your family for an in-home lifestyle newborn photography in Indianapolis. I would love it even more if the session included your 4 legged friends. While I love working with newborns in the studio, I also love the variety that in-home sessions offer.

In-Home Newborn Photography - KristeenMarie

22 Milestone Sessions

One of the best parts about my job is being able to build relationships with clients. I adore watching families and kids grow. Milestone sessions really allow me to build those relationships and capture that growth.

Milestone Photography Sessions by KristeenMarie

Special Sessions for My Kiddos

Taking pictures of my own kiddos isn’t always easy. Let me tell you… taking pictures of your own kids is way harder then taking pictures of other people’s kids! That being said, I still try to take the time to take special pictures of my littles because I know I’ll regret it later if I don’t. Each kid gets a special birthday session that they get to help dream up and then I also try to do a fun Christmas card.

Kid in Mario Land Photography Special Pictures of Photographer's KidsElf on the shelf Christmas Card

13 Maternity Sessions

Pregnancy is such a joyous time! It may not always feel great, but I assure you it looks phenomenal. I adore capturing women in all their baby bump glory! The excitement is evident in everyone of these sessions. Thank you to all these women who allowed me to be their Indianapolis maternity photographer!

Indianapolis Maternity Photography by KristeenMarie

45 In-Studio Newborns Sessions

It’s no secret, newborns are my favorite!! All of these babies are beautiful in their own ways and photographing each and everyone was an honor. I can’t count the number of hours I spent shushing, or how many times I was peed or pooped on. But those numbers don’t matter. What matters is the beautiful art I was able to provide or each of these families that they will have for a lifetime. It’s an honor to be an Indianapolis newborn photographer and to be able to capture each one of these babies!

Newborn Photography Session - Kristeen's Newborn Photo Studio in Carmel Indiana

2 Fresh 48 Sessions

The hospitals have had restricted visitors for most of the year. So it’s no shocker that I haven’t been able to photograph a ton of Fresh 48 sessions. However, I sure do miss it!! Maybe next year is the year for Fresh 48 sessions. What do you think!?

Baby holding dad's finger - Fresh 48 Session

22 Cake Smash Sessions

Cake Smash sessions are a labor of love. Each of these sessions take a ton of planning, crafting, building and time. I enjoy the creative process as it’s an outlet for me. Seeing these all together in one picture is a great reminder of all those sets I’ve built over the last year. Being an Indianapolis cake smash photographer is my thing and I love it!

1st Birthday Cake Smash Photography Sessions

81 Family Sessions

I love all of these families!! Every.Single.One of them. Seeing them all together gives my heart such joy!!

The fact that I was able to have a baby, take 3.5 months off of work, and still photograph 81 families kind of blows my mind! Most of these families are past clients and being able to see them year after year is the biggest joy of my job. Thank you everyone for allowing me to capture your families year after year and allowing me to be your Indianapolis family photographer! I hope you love your pictures as much as I love seeing all of you year after year.

Family Photography in Indianapolis by KristeenMarie

Thank you to each and everyone of my clients for trusting me to capture this time in your lives and allowing me to help tell your family’s story. You guys are the best!!

007 James Bond Cake Smash Session – Indianapolis Photographer

What a way to celebrate turning one- with a 007 James Bond themed cake smash session! This little man was SUPER into his session and one of the most excited cake smash kiddos that I have had in the studio. His outfit was perfect for the session and he looked so cute. He was all about the cake and he even went so far as to carrying the cake around- he did not want to part with it!
Cake smash sessions are always so fun and the kids enjoy themselves as well. We really are able to celebrate this special milestone birthday and get some really wonderful photos. The best part is that each session is unique and fully designed by my client and I working together to make their vision a reality. Some clients have a couple ideas and others have everything planned out- it is so fun to turn a vision into a reality and celebrate their sweet kiddo!

James Bond 007 birthday cake James Bond 007 1st birthday cake smash photography session messy cake  the look James bond look cake smash photography - black and gold carrying cakebirthday boy carrying his cake - 007 themed cake smash session

I would say that was as successful first birthday celebration! Let’s start planning your child’s session today! Let me know if you are looking for an Indianapolis photographer for whatever milestone your family is celebrating.

The Perfect Cake Smash for a Blue Eyed Baby

Mason is one and I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday that he was in the studio for his newborn session! The backdrop and theme of the cake smash session was PERFECT for this blue eyed little guy! The blue ombre was a hit and I LOVED IT! Mason looked so sweet is his bowtie and he was here for the cake! We were able to get a lot of great photos and he really enjoyed the balloons too! One of my favorite photos is the one where he is holding the number one cake topper- ADORABLE!!!

For cake smash sessions, you can do a video add-on. I actually made two videos for this session. I enjoy making the behind the scenes videos and so the family was able to walk away with two videos for the price of one!

Blue ombre birthday cakethe cake topper checking things outbirthday boy with balloon and cake  baby fingers and cake blue ombre smash cake session - 1st birthday1 year old

Happy first birthday, sweet boy. I am so glad that I was able to see you again to celebrate! If your little one is fast approaching their first birthday, I would love to get you guys in the studio to celebrate with an Indianapolis Cake Smash session! These sessions are fully customizable and personalized to your child and don’t forget about that video add-on! I would love to be your Indianapolis photographer and capture your little one’s 1st birthday.

One Happy Camper – 1st Birthday Cake Smash

This was one extra special cake smash session. This adorable little birthday boy happens to be my nephew, Owen!

The theme his Mama (and my sister) chose was very fitting for him. The theme was one happy camper. This little guy is he happiest baby you every met – seriously the happiest! If he is upset there is something seriously wrong. And he also likes the outdoors.

Not only is this little guy a happy camper he is also obsessed with food and making a mess. I can’t think of a better combo for a cake smash session!! At the end of the session we added in the cousins (my kiddos) which was a fun addition.

I’ve enjoyed watching my sister find her own in becoming an amazing mother. I’ve also very much enjoyed having this sweet boy in my life. I can’t wait to continue watching him grow into his own and to see what he becomes! I know he is going places!! Happy 1st birthday, Owen!

family photography in Indianapolis photography studio tree bark birthday smash cake one happy camper 1st birthday cake smash birthday boy eating cake outdoor camping themed cake smash session big bite of cake messy feet in cake one happy camper 1st birthday party theme Happy birthday boy smiles from birthday boy birthday boy with cousions

I don’t just do cake smash sessions for my family! I love creating custom set-ups for all my clients. If you are interested in an Indianapolis cake smash photographer please let me know. I would love to get your child’s birthday on my schedule.

The Little Boy Who Cuddled A Cake

I feel like this cake smash session should be made into a nursery rhyme. It might go something like this…

There was a little boy who cuddled his cake

He didn’t care if it gave him a back ache

He loved to eat until his hearts desire

He didn’t care if he ended up full of muck and mire

 Okay, okay, I’ll stick to my day job. I don’t have a future in writing children’s poetry. But in all seriousness how cute is this little guy. I’ve done a lot of cake smash sessions and I’ve never had a little one who just wants to cuddle while eating his cake. He was cuddling with the cake for a good 5-10 minutes.

This little guy’s cake smash session was inspired by these vintage trucks that belonged to his grandfather. This little guy has 3 older sisters so it was only fitting that he had a session that was a little more rough and tough boy even though he is the sweetest little guy you ever did meet. I think the session was perfectly fit for him! He seemed to enjoy it too.

1st birthday pictures in jean overalls vintage truck 1st birthday cake Birthday boy  sticking thumb in his cake birthday boy cuddling his cake during cake smash sessionLittle boy cuddling his cake yum MESSY BOYCuddling his cake during cake smash vintage car 1st birthday theme - cake smash session baby eathing cake looking at cake

Happy 1st birthday little guy! Thanks for coming to visit me in the studio. I can’t wait to continue to watch you and your sisters grow over the years, even in if you aren’t coming to the studio every few months anymore.

If you have a little one that is going to be turning one I would love to collaborate with you and come up with the perfect custom set-up for your little one’s 1st birthday. I recommend scheduling cake smash sessions 4-6 months in advance. So it’s not too early to reach out. Let me know if you are looking for an Indianapolis cake smash photographer.


Cake Smash Session with Purple Boho Garden & Butterflies

This sweet girl wasn’t big on smiles. However, her mom said that’s pretty typical for her. She is just a stoic baby band they are used to it. Even though she wasn’t big on ear-to-ear grins we still go some smirks out of her and she did seem to very much enjoy her 1st birthday cake!

The theme for this 1st birthday cake smash session was purple boho garden with butterflies. It sounds like a mouth full but it really wasn’t too much. I’m going to have to say, I’m a fan! The setup had macramé, lots of greenery and purple flowers, twinkle lights, some sweet butterflies added in and an adorable floral crown. The purple Ombre cake was the prefect addition to the session. Her sweet little outfits definitely were such a beautiful addition to the photos!

Traditional Chineese 1st birthday outfit - purple Purple ombre cake Purple boho butterfuly 1st birthday cake smash session Purple Garden first birthday cake smash with butterflies birthday girl eating cake yum! garden boho 1st brithday purple ombre cake with butterful Not so happy birthday girl

As always, it’s been a joy watching this sweet birthday girl grow over the last year! I’m obsessed with her cake smash session but I’m also sad that she is a graduate of the “Grow With Me” package. I won’t get to see her every few months moving forward.

If you are looking for an Indianapolis cake smash photographer don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know. I would love to create something custom for your birthday baby. If you are expecting and interested in leaning more about my Grow With Me packages that include a cake smash session please reach out. I would be happy to share with you the different packages that I offer.

Boho Boy Cake Smash Session

This little guy had a bout of motion sickness on the way to the session and happened to get sick in the car so there was some clean up involved before the sessions started. He was a trooper and rallied through and the session went super smooth! I have been photographing this cutie since birth and it has been a joy! The little guys mom uses the pictures for scrapbooking and I love seeing her final products. The theme for this session was boho and it was ADORABLE! I loved the greenery, teepee, and macramé!

1st birthday pictures boho cake smash 1st birthday session for little boy - greenery, macrame, and teepe - gold, cream and green boho boy 1st birthday cake smash with greenery teepe and macrame boho boy 1st birthday cake smash with greenery and macrame boho boy 1st birthday cake smash birthday boy eating 1st birthday cake birthday boy knock over birthday cake

Happy first birthday sweet boy! Thank you for celebrating with me!

If you are getting ready to celebrate your little one’s big day, I would love to help out with a cake smash session. Shoot me a message today if you are looking for an Indianapolis photographer!


An Inspirational NICU Cake Smash Session – From NICU to 1st Birthday

Doing this cake smash session and hearing this family’s birth story was inspirational. This family was hit hard by COVID and it could have resulted in a very tragic end for both mother and baby. Spoiler alert – it didn’t due to a strong mom, amazing doctors, modern technology, a dad that made impossible choices, and prayer.

Here is what happened from the baby’s mom’s point of view:

On May 3, 2021 I was dropped off at the ER in Kokomo to take a COVID test. After that point I do not remember anything. I woke up a few times in the ambulance while they were transferring me to IU North where I was put in ICU after a night there.

I was taken to IU Methodist then on May 5, 2021 my fiancé was made power of attorney over me and had to make the decision in a matter of minutes via phone.

The decision was to give mom and baby a 50/50 chance; to deliver the baby and take him back to IU North Riley, put me in a coma on a vent and ECMO (ECMO was the last resort to keep me alive).

I gave birth in a coma. I didn’t know I had given birth. My fiancé couldn’t be in the operating room with me as he was at home with COVID and being quarantined with our older kids. Baby Calum was born at 29 weeks.

I spent 12 days on the vent and ECMO and when I woke up two days later, I was released from the hospital. Then I had to wait 21 days to see baby Calum. Dad was able to see Calum at 14 days since he also had COVID.

I will forever be grateful for the critical care team at Methodist and the 17 doctors who saved our lives. My OB, Dr. Linton at  IU North, went above and beyond. He had to fight to get me transferred to IU North from Kokomo and his decision to send me to Methodist to get us more help and all that IU North Riley NICU staff were just amazing. No words can describe how thankful we are for all the doctors, nurses and staff.

We faced many struggles during the whole ordeal. For dad, the hardest part was having to make decisions to save two people he loves – mom and baby.

The struggle mom faced and the hardest part for her was not being able to see her baby until 21 days after she was released from the hospital. In the cake smash session you may notice a few images of mom Face Timing baby in the background. This is because this was how she was able to see baby for 21 days.

Watching Calum fight for his life for 66 days was hard for everyone. Something that many don’t talk about when it comes to the NICU is the overwhelming financial hardship we faced, picking and choosing what bills we pay vs keeping food on the table. There were so many hard parts about the whole ordeal, but these were just a few.

While there were struggles, there were also inspirational moments. The most inspirational moment was seeing how strong Calum was and the fact that he fought so hard to be here after being born at 29 weeks. He was a fighter every step of the way!

We chose to do the cake smash session to celebrate Calum’s fight! We see this birth as a good thing and we want to embrace the fact that he was a preemie and spent all that time in the NICU- it gives people hope.

Our family has all mostly recovered. Calum still faces many challenges from being born early but always has a smile on his face. I have long-term effects from Covid but am living a normal life and enjoying time with my son and all our other children. All the other children love him like crazy! Matt is relieved that his fast made decisions were all the right ones and sleepless nights proved to all be worth it since everyone is at home now!

1st birthday pictures of little boyNICU photo backdrop to celebrate baby's 1st birthday after long hospital staybaby eating cake    NIUC themed 1st birthday cake smash session  face plant into birthday cake NICU cake smash session - 1st birthday photography messy baby birthday boybehind the scenes of 1st birthday cake smash

I love when clients choose themes that have meaning to them. These clients couldn’t have chosen anything more meaningful. They were a true inspiration to have in the studio.

If you are looking for a away to remember your little one’s 1st birthday I would love to be your Indianapolis cake smash photographer. Let’s set a date for your little one’s cake smash session.

Car Cake Smash Session – Indianapolis Photographer

This car loving little man is ONE and boy, did we celebrate! Little boys just love cars and it is something that is innate in little boys. I have seen research on this topic and it is really interesting!
I have been photographing this guy since birth and so I was excited to celebrate his first birthday with him. He does have the same innate quality for living cars/vehicles and that is why his mom chose the theme!
The photos turned out great and little man just seemed happy to be celebrating his birthday as well. We were able to get a variety of facial expressions which always makes for a great gallery!

smiling one year old boy car cake smash session - primary colors birthday boy eating cake Indianapolis child photography - cake smash car cake little boy car cake smash session for 1st birthday photography session frosting on fingers yum cake being mashed crying kid with cake during cake smash session

Vroom, Vroom- now you are one! Thanks for coming and celebrating with me for a cake smash session!

Black and Gold Mr. ONEderful 1st Birthday Cake Smash Session

I would estimate that about 70% of the babies that come into the studio don’t really like to eat the cake. They may take a bite or two but cake is not like foods they are exposed to on a daily basis and so it’s not really something they are used to. There is also a sensory component that comes with eating cake. Before you can get to the cake you have to make your way though frosting. Frosting is sticky and creamy and just flat out messy (that’s what makes these sessions so fun!). But the reality is most kiddos don’t like that feeling. It’s all a little sensory overload for lots of kids. 

All that being said, when a kiddo comes into the studio and loves the cake – frosting and all – you know it’s going to be a good session! This little guy was part of the 30% that loved the cake. He made a great mess and enjoyed eating every bite of that cake.

This little guy looked so dapper in his bow tie and suspenders. The theme for his cake smash session was Mr. ONEderful and he was for sure a wonderful little guy. His little mohawlk, chubby cheeks and thighs, and big dark eyes just melted my heart.

I hope you enjoy the cute little behind the scenes video at the end of the post too!

Mr. ONEderful 1st birthday cake smash session birthday boy eating his 1st birthday cake  black and gold 1st birthday theme black and gold 1st birthday cake smash - bow tie 1st birthdayblack and gold stars and bow tie 1st birthday cake smash black and gold stars and bow tie Mr. Onederful cake smash photography session

What a great little session! If you would like to celebrate your little one’s birthday in style please let me know. I would love to be your Indianapolis cake smash photographer. I do require at least 3 weeks advance booking for cake smash sessions. So be sure to reach out early if you would like to celebrate and capture your little one’s birthday.