I love that I often get to journey with my clients as their stories progress. Last year I had the joy of shooting Paulina and Charlie’s maternity photos at the Shell Ridge open space in Walnut Creek. This year, we returned to that same location to celebrate and commemorate their son Grayson’s first birthday!
Shell Ridge is located in the heart of Walnut Creek and covers 1420 acres just a short distance from the downtown area. In the summer, the sprawling grasslands dry to a soft golden color adding warmth and romance to the location. This setting was perfect for Paulina’s chosen color palette of neutral whites and greys with accents of soft blues and gold.
When photographing a one-year-old, it’s important to keep things interesting. With that in mind, we broke the session into three parts. We started the shoot off with capturing Paulina, Charlie, and Grayson together. These family pictures were the most important to Paulina and Charlie. We wanted to make sure Grayson was relaxed and engaged so it made sense to start there and avoid the risk of any meltdowns.
After capturing many sweet family moments, we moved on to playing with props that Paulina and Charlie had brought along. We set Grayson in a beautiful wicker basket with a bouquet of white balloons. It was an adorable setup but my favorite details from these shots are the way Grayson holds Paulina’s hand and the candid pride on Charlie’s face.
Last, but certainly not least, came the pinnacle of First Birthday shoots–the cake smash! Paulina set up a pristine white play tent complete with more white balloons and a crisp white quilt for Grayson to sit on. After a quick wardrobe change, Grayson was crowned king of the Wild Things with an adorable knit crown to pay homage to one of the family’s favorite books. The scene was set, the birthday boy was ready, and so we brought out the cake… Sometimes kids are not too into the cake smash, everyone is different, but Grayson was all about it! It was so cute to see him dig into his cake (and even then candle!) and was the perfect way to end his first birthday photo session.