Well my first attempt at a Cake Smash session wasn’t really a smashing success (haha) but all in all I learned a few good lessons!
M, my ever willing subject, is about to turn one year old! I can’t believe how fast time flies! So her mum and I planned a cake smash session to mark the occasion a week or two before her actual birthday.
I had prepared a backdrop using a DIY backdrop stand made out of PVC piping, my large white muslin backdrop strung with streamers and balloons and a white vinyl table cloth purchased at our local party store for a $1.99CDN on the floor to protect the muslin. M’s mum had purchased a complimentary cake in a nice light pink and we ‘dressed’ her in a pastel purple diaper so everything matched!
So the reason that I say things weren’t a smashing success was that there were a couple technical challenges that I didn’t catch until it was too late, and also there were a couple challenges we couldn’t do much about except work around. The first was that M started daycare that very same week and as a result caught a nasty cold (which she would then gift to me, the generous creature that she is…) which had her less in the mood for cake and fun than I would have liked. But, despite this, we carried on just after her nap hoping it would still be comfortable enough for her.
On top of M’s cold which made it difficult for her to get into the session, myself being like 12 months pregnant, I was unable to get down as low as I would have liked and my range of motion was limited so the number of shots and variety of perspectives was limited as a result. But like with M’s cold, there’s not much to be done about that, it is what it is!
As I’ve discussed a number of times in previous posts, indoor lighting is always a challenge when you don’t have the perfect equipment. Since a speed-light is not in my budget at the moment, I went on to Amazon.ca and purchased a stationary lighting set with both diffuser and reflective umbrellas for a good price, hoping this will make do. During this session, I set the backdrop up in the largest space available at their home with lots of natural light and then added the reflective umbrellas to combat any shadows. I chose not to use my flash and bounce (my absolute best purchase so far) as the scene appeared to be well lit. This was major mistake number one. Well, more specifically, not checking my images as I went was the major mistake! I assumed the lighting was OK because of one or two shots that appeared OK at the start.
Also, contributing to this decision was the fact that M’s mood was a little dicey so I wanted to just grab as many shots as quickly as possible and I didn’t take the time to really check my exposure. I assumed (wrongly) that I could probably repair any underexposed shots in Lightroom. Wrong. Way way wrong lol.
The other challenge that I didn’t catch until after I brought the images up on my big editing screen was that the backdrop was back-lit by the porch door behind it. I didn’t notice it in the moment and didn’t notice it in my live view on the camera, but in the images you can see the bars that are structured across the backdrop through the white muslin and streamers. But that was small potatoes once I realized how under exposed the shots were.
Unfortunately due to me catching M’s cold, we had to cancel our planned re-do the next week and now I’m too close to having my own germ breeder to plan for another. But all in all it was a good lesson of what not to do. I did of course still edit to the best of my ability however the images are very noisy which is not something I like to see in photos. But other than that detail, I did like how the perspectives turned out and the general set up of the shots. It would have been great to have been right down on the floor or further back for some shots but overall lighting was the biggest fail in this endeavor! So we’ll try again next time!
Here are some of my favourites anyhow for your viewing and critiquing pleasure!