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Milestone Session Prep


Session location: Milestone sessions take place either outdoors (on-location) or in the studio. If we have agreed to meet on-location you will be provided with the address and instructions for where to meet.

Note: Outdoor sessions are best scheduled in the 1-2 hour period before sunset for the best lighting. In the summer months, this can be really late in the evening as the sun sets as late as 8:30pm. You may need to adjust your baby’s nap schedule on the day of the session if you want to be outdoors.  

Studio Address: 95 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA (Porter Mill Studios)

The main entrance is the door labeled “Channel Marker Brewing.” When you come in the main entrance, head straight until you see the elevator on your left. I am in studio #3 on the 3rd floor. Get off at the 3rd floor and enter through the door immediately on your left (it says “STUDIOS”). Follow the hallway around the corner and you’ll find me on the left hand side.

Parking: Street parking is available around the building. If you are having difficulty locating a spot close to the building, you may park in the MBTA garage located directly across the street. Please note that parking is metered along Rantoul St.

Arrival: Please make every effort to arrive at your scheduled start time. If you are running late you may call or text me at 978-219-9623. While I understand getting out of the house with a little one can be a challenge, tardiness greater than 15-20 minutes past your start time will result in time being deducted from your session. Greater than 30 minutes will result in a session cancellation.

What to bring

  • Snacks – please be sure to bring a snack for your little one! If baby becomes fussy during the session, a quick snack break is usually a good way to perk them up.
  • Favorite toy – it’s always a good idea to bring one or two of your baby’s favorite toys. Keep in mind they may end up in some of the photos, so don’t bring anything you wouldn’t want to have end up in some of your images.

Wardrobe is provided for milestone sessions. I have a large selection of outfits for both boys and girls that are classic, simple pieces. I have sizes from 3-6 months up to 12-18 months. I aim for 2 outfits per session (sometimes more if baby is particularly cooperative).

Please make sure your baby has had a nap before your session. If we’re shooting indoors, I can be more flexible with scheduling and am happy to work around baby’s nap schedule. My morning session slots are typically reserved for newborns, but an AM session can be arranged ahead of time if necessary.

Sick Policy – Please review the studio’s COVID-19 safety policies here. If your child is sick before your session, please contact me within 24 hours to reschedule. If you arrive to the studio and your child appears ill, you will be asked to head home – sick children are not allowed in the studio – no exceptions! Not only will a sick baby not feel well for photos, but I cannot risk exposing myself or my vulnerable newborn clients to germs.  The same rule applies to siblings or other family members who may be accompanying your baby to their session.

Cake Smash Tips 

Choosing the right cake:

  • Always pick a yellow or white cake. Avoid chocolate at all costs – it looks like a big pile of dirt when it’s smashed.
  • There are certain frosting colors you absolutely want to avoid, even as accent colors: red, black, & brown. These colors do not look good smeared all over baby’s face (this one should be self explanatory!) Stick with light colored frosting. The darker the frosting, the more likely it is to stain both your child’s clothes and their face.
  • Avoid fondant. It’s hard to smash. Whipped frostings and traditional buttercreams are a lot easier to work with.
  • I recommend checking out Flourish Bake Shop in Beverly. They are located right next door to the studio and make perfect little 4″ round cakes. You can request a  “sugar free” cake made with applesauce and bananas as sweeteners if you aren’t keen on baby having too much sugar. *Flourish cannot accommodate all allergy requests, so if your baby has allergies I would recommend choosing another bakery or going the home-made route. 
  • If you are picking up your cake a day or two before your smash session, please be sure to leave it out of the fridge for a few hours before you head to the studio! Cold cakes are hard to smash.
  • “Naked cakes” (cakes with a skim coat of frosting) are highly recommended and lend themselves to a simple, rustic look. There’s less frosting so baby isn’t as easily overwhelmed and they can be decorated with natural elements such as flowers, greenery, or a simple cake topper.
  • Important tip! If your child’s cake smash is scheduled before their first birthday party it’s strongly recommended that you let them have a little bit of cake before hand. You don’t need to let them practice with a whole cake – a small cupcake is totally fine. They need to get used to the texture of it in their hands and also how sweet it is. You don’t want their first exposure to cake to be the day of their session. Some babies don’t like it at first and the end result will be tears! You may need to expose your baby to cake cake a few times before their session if they don’t immediately take to it. They don’t need to actually eat the cake if you don’t want them having too much sugar, but they need to be able to tolerate the feeling of the frosting on their hands/face in order for the session to be successful.
  • Donuts are a great alternative if you don’t think your baby will like cake. They are small and easy to pick up, so babies tend to enjoy them. The same instructions apply for donuts – avoid anything chocolate or chocolate frosted. A half dozen is plenty for a “donut smash.”

What to bring:

  • A plain, simple outfit for baby. Plain diaper covers, a plain onesie, shorts, a skirt – keep it simple. I have diaper covers at the studio if you need one. Keep in mind anything your baby wears will get frosting on it.
  • Towels. Trust me on this one. It gets messy.
  • A change of clothes. For both you (think frosting covered hands all over you) and your baby.
  • Small snacks & water. A trick I like to use for babies who don’t love their cake right away is sticking cheerios, puffs, or other small snacks on the back of the cake to entice baby to play with it. Sugar makes you thirsty, so have a water bottle on hand just in case!
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Julie Freitas Photography

Boston's North Shore - Maternity, Newborn, & Baby Photographer

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(978) 219-9623