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Milestone Session Prep Guide

3-10 Month Milestone Sessions

(Scroll down for 12 Month Sessions)


Scheduling your baby's session after nap time or when they first wake up is crucial to a happy baby.  Almost every time that a parent thinks baby will sleep in the car and be fine at the session proves to me that it's not wise for baby.  They come in from being woken up and are not too happy about that or they don't fall asleep like they normally do.  I highly suggest doing a normal nap time (your baby's normal) and then coming straight to the session or doing an earlier morning session right after you wake up.  Schedule the time of day your baby is happiest!

Styling & Clothing

Styling Your Baby's Session - Please be sure to fill out your Questionnaire to give me an idea of what colors and outfits you are choosing so I can be prepared for your session.  The studio is set up often days before your session.

There are three styling backdrop opportunities - I will help base your colors on the clothing you choose. Click on this link for the backdrop options. 

1. Printed Backdrop

2. Solid Color Backdrop - colors at this time are White, Beige, Light Gray, Dark Gray, Black, Red, Emerald, Ultramarine Blue, and more.  

3. Solid Color or Printed or Wood Backdrop

4. Optional Fur

Clothing Options (3-4 options depending on how baby cooperates).

1. Naked (classic) or Diaper Cover

2. Outfit

3. Additional Outfit

4. Back up outfit or tutu or little pants

I have bow ties, tutus, sunglasses, and little outfits that are adorable.  For the boys, a great third outfit can be jeans with the bow ties or another outfit you choose if you'd like. 

Click here for a link to the gallery of what I have in studio for backdrops, outfits, and props.  There are more being added all the time.

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1 Year Sessions - Portraits, Cake Smashes & Splashes

In the studio - 

We have three packages to choose from -

A Piece of Cake Session

It includes a simple color or printed backdrop with balloons or no props with 10 images with cake or without.  Check this gallery for options. 

Party Perfect Session will include either (with cake or without)

Party Perfect Sessions include a designed backdrop that is already in the gallery that has been designed before with 25 images.

Styling Options  -

*Portraits with one simple backdrop (printed or solid color with no props) with one outfit and another outfit on a designed background with or without cake,


*Portraits & Food Smash on one designed backgrounds with up to 2 outfits plus the Splash in the tub.

OUTFITS - You are welcome to choose an outfit from the studio or use your own.  There will be opportunities for two outfits. 

Gimme all the Cake Session

This session is designed for the client to be able to choose a brand new backdrop from companies that Tonya works with.  A unique design with new props and a new backdrop. 

*It includes portraits on a simple backdrop, portraits on a designer backdrop, cake, and a splash in the tub. 

Theme & Color Ideas are HERE.

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  • Cake Smash Raleigh NC
  • Cake Smash Raleigh NC

What to expect -

During the session

 Sessions last 45-60 minutes.  Baby's time span is very short so we move fast. Depending on if you've chosen two backdrops (one minimal and one theme) or one backdrop with a food/non food and a splash in the tub, you will come in and baby will be in the first outfit.  

We always start on the simple backdrop/wood in one outfit for about 15-20 minutes.  Then we change into the second outfit onto the themed backdrop for about 15-20 minutes and then do the cake.  

OR if you choose to do the Smash & Splash then we'll do the first outfit on the theme backdrop for 15-20 minutes, the second outfit with the cake for 15-20 minutes and then the Splash in the tub.   Bring wipes/small towel to help tidy baby up.  The Splash in the tub often cleans baby right up and you just need a towel.

Very Important  

Babies teeth - it happens!  If you feel baby is teething, please give pain relief to your baby before they come.  It is no fun for a teething baby in pain to do a session like this.  

Items in baby's hands ‚ÄčIf an item is placed in baby's hands that you do not want in the images, it must be removed. I will not remove "combs, toys, food, etc" from baby's hands. Please choose items for them to hold that you do not mind in their hands in the photos. I have some wooden blocks/small toys that are available.

Sick babies - If your baby has been sick or is sick within 48 hours of the smash, please let me know immediately.  This includes sores on the face, fevers, snotty noses that are colored. We will reschedule!  I want a happy, healthy baby.  I work with Newborns and I try my best to keep the studio a germ free zone.    Plus I want your baby to be happy and a sick baby is not a happy baby.  If you are worried about the cake already being made, the cake will refrigerate for up to 5 days if it's already been made.  The backdrops are a lot of work so please let me know as soon as possible if you think your baby is sick.

Photoshop - If you see something you do not like in the backdrop like a crooked banner or you baby's nose is running, please do not assume that I will Photoshop it out.   I try to "see" everything but sometimes something might be missed so I appreciate the extra set of eyes!

Balloons - Depending on the set up, this is something I may ask the parents to contribute.  If we are making a balloon banner, they are time intensive (2-3 hours) and cost additional to make.

Props - If you have props to contribute, please let me know up to a week  in advance.  I build the sets sometimes up to a week in advance because of my schedule.  If you have anything to add, I need to know asap so I can build it into the set and will have you drop the props off at the studio.

Planning your session    

Preparing baby - To prepare baby, let them play in mashed potatoes or some kind of mushy food before the cake.  Also give baby cake or a cupcake a couple times before the cake smash.  The sugary icing is a shock and often parents will be disappointed when baby isn't interested at all because they've never had it before.  There is a much better chance of a successful smash if your baby has touched it and tasted it before!  

Snack - Bring some puffs or cheerios and if they aren't digging into the cake, we will put some of those in the back and then they usually dig in.

Timing - Baby is best after nap time or early in the morning, shortly after they've been awake. Extra People - Siblings and extra people in the room can be very distracting to baby.  I suggest bringing one other person or yourself.  

My Props - I have cute chairs, furs, bowls, and benches that I incorporate and that can be helpful to keeping them still. Props like little sunglasses, bow ties, tutus, pearls, and more are always welcome. 

The Cakes - I have a Helpful Tips Cake guide to help you choose a cake and a baker.  Other Foods - If you don't want to do cake, we could do watermelon, spaghetti, fruit, pizza, tacos...anything you know will be fun for your baby!  I have the parent provide the food. Parent Tip - Come with clothes you don't mind getting messy because you WILL get messy too! You are welcome to clean baby off in the studio bath tub or sink.

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