Inspire 2016 Speaker Heidi Hope - Creating "Spring time in Paris"

In this series of blog posts, we are introducing the faculty at Inspire 2016. Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidi Hope who will be teaching: Marketing Baby and Child Portraiture

Spring time in Paris

My clients often say, "I've been dreaming about the Cakesmash Session since the baby was born!"  I finally know how they feel.

There is something so special about a first birthday.  It is a time when the end of babyhood is palpable.  You feel proud of the little person your child has become while missing the baby they used to be.

I wanted my second daughter Grace's Cakesmash to be extra special for her to look back on.  

Let's be honest, her cakesmash was for me as much as it was for her.  

It was a way for my photography to pause and celebrate a time that was so full of emotion for me!

Three years ago, I started brainstorming ideas for her session after the rush of the Holidays.  First, I got busy on Pinterest!  You can see my inspiration board below.

I kept thinking "How can I do a set that is like nothing anyone has ever seen?!"  I wanted it to be creative and from my heart.  With nothing measuring up to my vision, I decided I would paint her a backdrop.  

I had been picking up the brushes here and there for custom sets for my clients, usually just tossing the paper after the session.  For Grace's Cakesmash, I decided to order a roll of canvas and give it a try.  I was a fine arts major in college, but never really painted again after leaving my career as an art teacher in 2008.  

I often say that photography is just one medium I use to connect with people and express myself creatively.  It felt so good to return to painting.  Combining the two forms of creative expression was inspiring and refreshing for my studio work!

I painted her drop more quickly than I thought.  In about two hours, acrylics mixed with charcoal to create "Spring time in Paris".  I felt really good about it.  I almost cried.  Mariah did cry!  It felt amazing to create something for my daughter from my heart.  

A teeny tiny little reflection of my love for her.

The whole scene pulled together even better than I imagined.  It was the first backdrop canvas I had ever painted, and I have loved creating them for my clients ever since.  

Grace loved every moment of her time to shine.   I never wanted it to end.  Here are a few favorites from her session.