cake smash photography

Cake Smash and Splash Photo Session

Cake smash and splash photo session – Alena Photography – Charleston SC cake smash photographer

Tradition to celebrate baby’s first birthday has been sweeping families for the past few years. There are many ideas and spin-offs, like Smash and splash, where baby gets to splash in the tub after eating cake. Paint smash, where baby or toddler gets to paint. Even adults are enjoying this type of sessions with Fabulous themes.

Cake smash tradition

It’s generaly thought that cake smash tradition comes from two similar combined cake-focused celebrations. In Mexico there is will known event called the Mordida in which a child take s bite of the cake first time in their life. Mordida means bite in Spanish. In front of family and friends baby gets covered in icing eating his cake.

There is also classic tradition to share a cake on the wedding day. Many people link this to the beginning of cake smashing.

In the past, a loaf of bread was shared at the wedding and crumbs were sprinkled over brides head. Guests would grab crumbs and eat them for good luck.

There is also an old Roman tradition where couples would throw wedding cake at each other. Bride and groom and US fed each other cake to lovingly ensure a good marriage.

Cake smash and splash

In the modern time cake smash and splash photo session takes place in the photography studio. In some occasions outside is also a good choice. Just add a beautiful cake, cute baby and camera and you are all set. Be prepared for a lot of funny and messy faces , then clean it up in the bath.

With many ideas circulating the internet possibilities are endless. Essentially, when it comes to cake smash photo session, the baby is usually too young to pick a theme on his own. Most parents consult for some ideas or trust their chosen photographer designs.

I’ve been lucky enough to photograph this particular family from maternity to cake smash. Mom picked one of the most popular theme : Where the wild things are.

For more examples of my cake smashes check out this post

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where the wild things are cake smash photo session
where the wild things are photo session
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smash and splash photo session
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children photography cake smash photography

Children photography and self-esteem

Children photography and self-esteem Alena Photography Charleston SC Photographer

Children photography is one the most important and unique genres. Every child is different. With the help of a photographer it is a fun experience to bring out a child’s personality during photo shoot. Why exactly do we take pictures of children? One of the answers can be to help with self-esteem.

Psychologists and experts had some research in recent decades learning this topic.

“Self-esteem is a set of attitudes and beliefs that a person brings with him or herself when facing the world. It includes beliefs as to whether he or she can expect success or failure, how much effort should be put forth, whether failure at a task will “hurt,” and whether he or she will become more capable as a result of different experiences. In psychological terms, self-esteem provides a mental set that prepares the person to respond according to expectations of success, acceptance, and personal strength.”

Stanley Coopersmith, Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventories Manual

Murfreesboro study

There was one particular study that stood out. In 1975 Jerry Fryrear of Tulane University and Mary Ammerman with Murfreesboro  City Schools tested many 4th graders in Tennessee.

The children were selected from a set of test results indicating they had self-esteem scores below the median score of all the fourth-grade students. These chosen students participated in a carefully set-up study over the course of five-weeks.

During those five weeks children took photos of themselves using Polaroid cameras in different settings. Later scrapbooks were created out of those images.

New testing after completing of this project revealed 37% increase of children self-esteem. Groups of kids not participating in the project only showed increase of 10%.

Here is the link to this study:;2-X/abstract

So the Murfreesboro study showed that personal children photography can help boost self-esteem.

Power of prints

In this digital era many people are relying on electronic devices to hold their photos. There is something special about holding a beautiful printed child portrait. Experts recommend placing photos with family in friends in child’s room. Print your photos!

Contact me today to book your child portrait session

maternity photography maternity photography

Maternity Photography – Capturing moments

Maternity Photography – Capturing moments – Alena Photography Charleston SC

My goal as a maternity photographer is to create images to display on the walls of your home. Elegant, classic and timeless images every mother and family wants to pass down to the next generations.

When Shannon first contacted me inquiring about a photo session she new stunning downtown Charleston SC will a perfect backdrop for the session.

We began with picking the right dress for the photoshoot. Shannon picked beautiful soft pink gown from . Soft flowy chiffon and stretchy top perfectly accentuated her baby bump. Classic gown with modern twist went well with charming downtown streets.

The connection with motherhood we were able to create and capture is just powerful. This portraits tell a story and will shape future of the sweet baby girl awaiting to be born. Shannon is an elephant fan and has a beautiful tattoo on her shoulder. Baby’s nursery is also an elephant theme.

maternity photo

Capturing moments between future parents is one of the most rewarding things. Maternity photography is not only about future mothers. Fathers deserve some renegotiation as well. Just look how radiant and glowing Shannon looks next to her husband. The connection and love is undeniable.

All the feels

Motherhood reveals itself in it’s finest during pregnancy. Those 9 months will soon become fleeting fleeting moments. Connections will grow stronger.This images will be a beautiful reminder of the special bond between future parents long after baby is born.

“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others. it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Without it there is suffering” Brene Brown

Let me capture your journey to motherhood. My studio is conveniently located in West Ashley part of Charleston SC, contact me today to schedule a consultation

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Charleston Maternity Shoot – Alena Photography

Maternity Shoot – Alena Photography Charleston

There are many beautiful locations in Charleston area for maternity shoot. Jennifer and Eric picked Shem Creek park in Mt. Pleasant as it had the most meaning to them.

Check more info about this park here

This was my first time working at that location and I am in love. You can’t beat the sunset by the water! Depending on the weather, you get a light breeze and beautiful haze. Working outside definitely keeps me on my toes.

Knowing that my clients had their wedding pictures taken at the same place made me think creatively. Incorporating sun for some silhouette images and direct light for different style made this maternity shoot fun. Just look at this sunset?! Isn’t it amazing?!

Choosing my favorite photos for the gallery was hard. I am happy Jennifer had a trust in me to capture this special time. Pregnancy brings new meaning to life and shows how amazing woman’s body is.

I love this quote about motherhood and pregnancy:

 “Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”

– Jodi Picoult

I would love to photograph your pregnancy. Every woman deserves to capture this precious time – for herself and future generations. Alena Photography provides gowns for maternity shoots at no charge.

There are moments in life when your cell phone pictures the fun. There are moments that truly important. I can help you capture those!

Please follow the link below to schedule a consultation

Interested in booking a newborn session? Let’s create a perfect package for your needs.

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charleston maternity photosession
charleston maternity shoot
maternity shoot
charleston maternity shoot
cake smash photosession cake smash photography

Cake Smash – fun to turn one!

Cake smash photo session – Alena Photography – Charleston SC

This year has been a year of creativity for me. My first newborn clients growing up and coming back for a fun cake smash photo shoot.

I’ve met baby Luca and her family last year and was excited when her mom contacted me about first birthday photosession. Turning one is so much fun and the best way is to celebrate with cake!

Mom wanted to recreate a set up all her kids had for their sessions. We started with a bunch of balloons and simple outfit.

girl holding balloon

A lot of the times parents are unsure about what kind of set up they want. In this case mom wanted “flowers and greens” for cake smash portion in studio.


What exactly can you expect from a cake smash session? You you will have a customized set up with flowers, balloon, cake. I add touches of the theme to bring set to life. Custom coordinating outfit will be ordered. I will take care of small details and you and your baby prepare to have a blast. Don’t know where to order cake? I have a list of amazing bakers in the area.

Session always starts with baby on set without the cake mess, then i bring in the cake and capture those sweet moments, onto splashing in the tub to clean up! it is fun and messy experience and makes for the best expressions!

Baby Luca was nothing but fun and cute faces! From start to finish all of us had a great time. I am so glad my wonderful clients have a trust in me to create this wonderful memories.

What are you waiting for?! It’s time to start planning your session ( I recommend at least 6 weeks to prepare)

Luca is wearing an outfit from and all the props are from

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cake smash
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sleepy baby rocking newborn session Newborn Photographer

5 Tips for a sleepy baby – rock your…

5 Tips for a Sleepy Baby – Rock your Newborn Session

You’ve booked your newborn portrait session and now you are just dreaming about sleepy baby. You want those curly, precious newborn poses and images. It comes up in every parent’s mind. I have 5 tips for a sleepy baby. So, relax, read on and let your newborn rock her session.

sleepy baby


Plan your baby’s feeding. The best time for a photographer to start working with your baby is right after a meal. Image, eating a 3 course dinner at Christmas. What is the best thing to do after? Take a NAP! Arrive at the studio ready to nurse or nurse right before leaving the house.

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sleepy newborn rocking photo shoot


Give your baby a full feeding. No need to rush. If your baby is still hungry when we start , it will make things more difficult. I say – relax and take your time. Baby will let you know when she is done.

newborn girl sleeping
newborn girl


It might be hard but try to take a moment for yourself and rest. Babies pick up on your mood and it will help you look best. Talk to your baby, enjoy your morning, stick to your routine if you have any. Even newborns like structure and schedule. I say: relax, take a shower, plan your morning.

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sibling holding newborn baby


It is always a good idea to soothe and pamper your baby before newborn photo shoot. Warm bath, light massage with baby-friendly lotion will not only help your baby to relax but it also helps you to calm and bond with your little one. It is also helps with newborn dry, flaky skin and prepares the baby for the photo shoot. A little lotion goes a long way!

sleepy newborn baby girl


Consider bringing a pacifier. You might not like this idea and your little baby maybe have not used one yet. And I certainly do not want to interfere with nursing but pacifiers can be extremely helpful in soothing your baby. I have some I keep in the studio if you don’t have one with you. It personally helps to ready your baby’s cues and can be especially helpful to newborns with strong suckling reflux.

sleepy baby rocking her newborn photo shoot

I will be delighted to photograph this major milestone in your life. My studio offers a beautiful experience and tangible wall art pieces for families. let’s create some memories together.

Interested to read more about family’s first portraits? Check out my other blog post here

Do you like props I used in this session? The crown is from wonderful Euginia

To get in touch with me

Newborn Photography

Newborn session – what to expect – Charleston SC

Newborn session – what to expect from a “premier” newborn session – Charleston SC Newborn Photographer

There are thousand photographers in Charleston area and many of them are newborn photographers. So what sets me apart? Why should you choose Alena Photography?

Alena Photography is a “premier or upscale newborn photographer” – what exactly does it mean? What should you expect from a session with Alena Photography?

You can also see more of my work examples on portfolio pages

newborn session
Cute “Froggy”

Planning Your Premier Newborn Session

I don’t just show up, take your portraits and email you images. Every single sessions is customized for a different need and different goal in mind. What is your style and does it parallel with my portrait style?

My style is soft, neutral and classic. My work is not elaborate even when I use trendy props. What do you like and what do you not like? The consultation is a great moment to connect and find out about your vision.

newborn baby girl sleeping
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newborn session baby girl in bonnet

Experience and education

Alena Photography has been working with newborns since July 2017 and have photographed over 50 babies. I pride myself on constant education and attend several conferences and workshops yearly. The goal is to bring you the best quality portraits for your home. When you hire Alena Photography, you are hiring an expert in maternity and newborn portraiture.

This year I have attended Belly Baby and Beyond Conference and received training from several well-know photographers. Check out for more information about this event

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Baby smiles
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newborn baby girl sleeping relaxed

Refined Editing

All portraits are completely, professionally edited. I hand-edit each image – Removing blemishes, smoothing skin, adjusting skin tone and slightly contouring to body lines. Distracting elements are removed. Your portraits should be works of art ready for your home and walls. Please feel free to address any concerns in the consultation about what I can edit.

Portraits to take home

Every session starts with the end result in mind. I don’t just create images for social media or for quick posting. I create portraits for your home and images that will outlast you and your children. Clients who come to me choose me for my style. They are also interested in having me print their gallery portraits to preserve quality of photographs.

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baby sleeping on her tummy
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If you are looking for a newborn photographer in Charleston SC who offers better experience then let’s have a conversation! Contact me today to design your dream session


Baby shoot – Newborn Photographer Charleston SC

Baby shoot – Newborn Photographer Charleston SC – Alena Photography

I’ve mentioned before that my style , as a newborn photographer, is clean and timeless with incorporating different elements. Most of the time, it’s true. I stay true to my style as an artist. But often, a client will request a certain set-up or themed portrait. As a newborn portrait artist I do my best to accommodate my client, creating the best image we can.

My advice if you have a specific image in mind or set up to discuss it in advance. This will help me recreate your vision and better prepare for your baby shoot.

Honoring Grandmother during baby shoot

When Jennifer asked me if we can incorporate her grandmother’s pearls in her daughter’s photosession I instantly knew what kind of look I am going for. The result is beautiful and baby Hadley even smiled like she knew her grandmother is near.

Hadley’s mom also asked me to use pink mauve color as it is one of her favorites. This pictures turned out amazing.

The rest of the images were very much my style of portrait. Most clients come to me for my style and quality. And they turned out beautifully.

This classical portraits will stay with the family for a lifetime and hopefully will decorate walls in their house.

Are you looking for specific newborn image? I would love to discuss creating it for you. Alena Photography caters to clients who are looking for more from their photographer – better experience. Interested in scheduling a visit to my studio? Click this link to get in touch and let’s design your prefect newborn photosession.

Using unique elements and sense of style helps me create one of kind images for my clients. Incorporating only high-end organic props helps my images stand out. Clients sure to get many compliments on their newborn portraits.

Check out my favorite vendors, whose products I used during this photo shoot.

Newborn Photography

Family’s First portrait – Newborn Photographer Charleston SC

Family’s first portrait – Importance of this moment – Newborn photographer Charleston SC – Alena Photography

newborn photographer charleston sc
Family’s first portrait

Take a minute to remember the first photograph you have of yourself as a baby. What thoughts go through your head as you look at your face? How do you feel looking at your cheeks, your lips and your eyes? There may be a hint of similarity, things you can see in yourself along with a feeling of amazement and wonder perhaps?

Do you have your family’s first portrait? Does this photograph exist for you? What feelings go through your head as you look at these images? If your parents have already passed this world then do you feel more emotional to hold these?

Simple questions about a simple photograph and yet, the weight of the image is more than most. Yes, one day your children will search for a portrait of you. They will search for this. They will look because you are gone – and what will they find? How will they feel about these images?

What do you want them to feel about their family’s first portrait?

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charleston sc newborn photographer
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newborn photography charleston sc
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beautiful family

Unquestionably, a beautiful newborn portrait is an heirloom piece that captures the beginnings of new life. It is a beautiful form of art that lives between a portrait and a timeless realm. This moment that has been stopped, able to relive it for generations to come. It holds the weight of a singular event impacting countless more lives.

I would love to create your family’s first portrait. I would love to share this moment with your family. If you would like to contact Alena Photography to discuss your newborn session, then click the link to get in touch

Check out my preferred vendors and their props I’ve used in this session


Newborn Photography {Charleston, SC}

Choosing newborn photography as job was the best decision ever. I do love it. All those sweet baby faces and cuddles can not be beat.

When Monica’s mom contacted me about scheduling a newborn session, she knew sunflowers and bright colors will be the way to go. Especially in late June during peek bloom.

I had just the perfect outfit to use from one of my favorite newborn prop makers and now needed to find a backdrop to match. Browsing one day I found this soft flower knit fabric and fell in love. An instant connection sparked and I new how to style this sunflower inspired newborn photography session.

How about sunflowers? There is more to sunflowers than meets the eye. While they are stunningly beautiful, they also are rich in history and meaning. Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself.

Result of mom sending me pictures for inspiration are beautiful portraits.

Talking about clothing choice for the session led this family to wear white. Timeless and classic it compliments everyone. Having white walls in my Charleston, SC studio help my clients to look better no matter what they wear.

Do you like how white looks with other colors? I do and it’s so easy to incorporate to any photo set up.

Baby Monica also has some older siblings to look up to. They were so well behaved it made family portrait time flawless. You can feel love towards this new baby from everyone in the family. Mom and Dad being smitten with even more love they could ever image. Photographing families is a big part during my newborn sessions and brings so much joy in seeing the results.

For more newborn session examples go to

Interested in booking session with me? Fill out my contact form and let’s chat!

My studio is conveniently located in West Ashley part of Charleston, SC