Leah O'Connell

client tips, newborns

The Alternative to a cake smash session

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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Cake smash sessions have become a popular trend, but my heart behind photography is much more about honoring the people than any backdrop or baked goods. It’s a fun moment for the baby and a sweet milestone for parents that marks the first birthday.

But I’m after the moment where grandpa lights the candles.

The laughter and play filling your living room with so much joy that came together over one little girl.

The way he giggled with pride as he takes tentative steps up the stairs of your first home.

Birthdays are about so much more than smashing a cake. Why not capture more of the story?

This little one’s mom wore the same dress at her first birthday party, so we dug out a photograph to see the resemblance

Without props or forced suspenders and confetti. If you’re going to let your kid smash some cake on his birthday, let’s actually celebrate more than just that moment. Let’s capture the experience of being one, of loving on this child, of the family you’ve built together.

In your kitchen with your dog licking the chair and your neighbor flipping hot dogs in the back yard.

The streamers around her high chair and the homemade cake you didn’t really know how to ice but darn it you tried.

Let’s capture the whole story that hits your heart and becomes a story to share around their 16th birthday when they ask – “what was my 1st birthday like?” 


Ready for an alternative 1st birthday session with me?

Reach out for more details and to save the date here!

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.