• Cathy Murai Photography specializes in maternity, newborn, and baby photography in Orange County areas including but not limited to Irvine, Tustin, Lake Forest, Foothill Ranch, Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach... The studio is located in Irvine, CA.

  • If you would like to book your custom photography session or have any questions, please contact me. I would love to hear from you!

First Birthday Smash Cake Session | Orange County Baby Photographer

Just before I temporarily closed down the studio due to COVID-19, I had the pleasure of capturing a very special first birthday smash cake session!

The birthday girl, Lavente, was a dream to photograph. She was happy and joyous throughout her rainbow and clean white themed portraits. Sadly, Lavente’s grandparents were in Italy and unable to visit and celebrate with her due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I am hopeful that grandma and grandpa felt the joy of her birthday celebration when they saw these photographs and that the entire family will have happy memories of their daughter’s first birthday smash cake session when they look back at these images for years to come.

Including family in your first birthday smash cake session

As mamas, we rarely make it into the frame these days. It’s us behind the iPhone, snapping away, never actually IN the photographs.

Because of this, I always encourage my clients to pose for a few family portraits at the beginning of the sessions. Whether it’s a newborn shoot, baby milestone, or a first birthday smash cake session, like this one, I love capturing the whole family.

When your children look back at these images–these portraits that are telling the story of your family–they will want to see YOU in the photographs too.

If you feel shy in front of the camera, I can always capture more candid images, instead of posed portraits.

Including family in your first birthday smash cake session
Retouching the glare on glasses. How Cathy Murai Photography removed glare from glasses

This is something that I’m excited about that allows me to deliver even BETTER photographs to my clients. I learned a new technique in Photoshop for retouching the glare on glasses! Pretty cool, right?

A candid shot of a family portrait in the studio - natural family photography
A candid shot of a family portrait in the studio while a daddy holding his happy smiling baby girl up in the air
First birthday girl baby crawling towards the camera smiling while the happy parents are sitting behind looking at her
Pastel rainbow themed first birthday photo session using props including a rainbow wooden toy, o.n.e. letters in the pastel color, pastel banner, and a pastel outfit for the first birthday girl.

Lavente’s mom brought all of these cute props for our session! They included Levente’s favorite rainbow wooden toy and a rainbow banner to match. She said she will use these props to decorate her room, which I love! Mom even painted O.N.E. letters in pastel colors! Plus the balloon + artificial garland…yes, everything! And it all came together BEAUTIFULLY.

Simple white first birthday smash cake session using one big white balloon  with artificial garland and a birthday cake with a happy birthday banner.
Wimple white smash cake photo in action - birthday girl getting messy smashing her birthday cake

Delivering the portraits

Because my studio is closed until further notice due to COVID-19, I had to get a little creative with how to deliver the final portraits.

You see, giving my clients their photographs and seeing their reaction is one of my favorite parts of the entire process! Not being able to do this made me a little sad, but we have to adjust for the safety of everyone during this time.

I was able to leave the portraits out for pick-up, and was thrilled to receive a text right away that said, “Hi Cathy! Photos were received, thank you so much, they are gorgeous!”

It’s the little moments like this that allows me to feel grateful.

Celebrating your little one’s first birthday?

Celebrating your one-year old’s birthday is a fun and exciting time! Learn more about scheduling a first birthday smash cake session today.

I look forward to chatting with you and tentatively scheduling a photo session. The session date will be finalized as soon as the studio is reopened. I can’t wait to be back to work soon! Click here to get in touch.

    

Preparing for a Photoshoot with your Vision in Mind – Irvine Newborn Photographer

Today I want to share a recent portrait session that I did with 10-day old Finn. His parents had a clear vision and goals of the portraits they wanted. This can make preparing for a photoshoot so much more successful!

But before I get into that, I need to take a minute to talk about the current situation that’s going on in our world. These are scary and anxiety-ridden times for all.

Without you, my amazing clients, there would be no Cathy Murai Photography. Each time you schedule a session and allow me to photograph your family, it warms my heart and fills me with gratitude.

Photography is my art and using it to capture your family’s special moments is a privilege.

So with your safety in mind, due to COVID-19, all of the photo sessions scheduled for March have been postponed. My studio is temporarily closed.

Once all of this has passed, I look forward to opening my studio back up and having sessions with your families again soon.

Until then, I wish you all safety, good health, and peace in your days during this difficult time.

But today, let’s take a break from all of the coronavirus talk for a moment and enjoy the beautiful portraits with Valentine’s Day baby, Finn.

Preparing for a Photoshoot

Whenever you, my client, book a session with me, I will send you a pre-session questionnaire to complete prior to your portrait session.

The goals of the pre-session questionnaire are to:

  • Help me get to know you and your family
  • Make the session go more smoothly
  • Allow me to deliver the best photos possible!

For this newborn portrait session, I was so pleased with the outcome! What made it such a success? Finn’s parents had a clear vision of what they wanted.

This made preparing for the photoshoot and delivering the portraits they wanted so much easier!

What were the goals of this newborn portrait session?

Finn’s parents wanted multiple portraits for wall galleries in three places in their home:

  • Classic family portraits in their family room
  • Rustic style images using props for their hall and staircase
  • Images with an aqua, brown and cream color palette to go in Finn’s nursery

To prepare for the photoshoot, Finn’s mom sent me pictures of his room prior to the session so that I could coordinate colors and plan out portraits.

In addition to these portrait series, Finn’s parents expressed that they wanted to get photos of him awake and asleep.

I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves!

10-day old baby Finn is photographed with his parents. Dad is holding Finn in his arm.
10-day old baby Finn is photographed with his parents. Dad is holding Finn in his arm. Both parents are smiling at the camera for their first family portrait.
Photo collage of parents holding newborn baby Finn. In the left photo, his mother is holding him in both arms. In the right photo, Finn
Black and white photo of newborn baby with daddy
Sleeping newborn baby wrapped in a teal soft swaddle
Sleeping newborn baby wrapped in a soft blanket
Newborn Props like this wooden basket, blanket, and hat play a big role in preparing for a photoshoot
Newborn Props like this wooden basket, blanket, and hat play a big role in preparing for a photoshoot
Newborn Props like this wooden basket, blanket, and hat play a big role in preparing for a photoshoot
Awake newborn baby wrapped in a grey soft swaddle
Artistic black and white photo of newborn baby being held in daddy

This last black and white photograph actually wasn’t part of the plan when we were preparing for the photoshoot. But when they arrived and I saw how big dad’s hands were, I had to get this shot for them!

Finn’s family decided to add this portrait to their wall series. Which goes to show that sometimes, making a few decisions in-the-moment leads to success, too

Are you preparing for a photoshoot? Book your session today!

Cathy Murai Photography specializes in maternity, newborn, and baby photography in the Orange County area, including Irvine, Tustin, Lake Forest, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Tustin, Foothills, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, Laguna Hills, Fountain Valley, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, and Huntington Beach.

While my studio is temporarily closed, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to connect so that we can schedule a session as soon as things get back to normal.

    

Cake Smash Photography |First Birthday Photoshoots

Celebrating your little one’s first birthday is a special time for many families. You did it. You both made it through the first year– and look how much your baby has changed! One of my favorite ways to help families celebrate? With a first birthday cake smash photography session of course!

If you scheduled a first birthday photo session that will include family and siblings, we will take the family and sibling portraits at the beginning of your session.

First birthday portrait including family and dogs / pets during his first birthday photoshoot with Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

After we capture those portraits, we will quickly move on to the first birthday portraits without the cake. For these, we use props like a vintage high chair, curbed chair, or themed portraits.

happy first birthday girl on a white vintage high chair / cream vintage high chair decorated with pink flowers during her first birthday photoshoot with Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Happy first birthday girl on a cream curved wooden chair during her first birthday photoshoot by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
First birthday girl with mermaid props during her mermaid themed first birthday photoshoot with
Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

Finally, we let your baby dig in for the cake smash!

Cakes smash photoshoots are a fun and playful way to capture first birthday portraits. They so perfectly represent your baby’s unique personality and traits, are a blast for everyone, and always yield amazing candid photos you’ll treasure for years to come.

What is a cake smash session?

A cake smash photography (or smash cake photography) session usually takes place around your baby’s first birthday. It involves your baby, a pretty cake, and a whole lot of fun.

When you book a cake smash session, you will bring your little one to my studio where we’ll get them all set up for the session.

Basically, we give them free rein of the cake, and I photograph the event as it unfolds. It’s a wonderful way to capture exciting candids of your ever-changing and growing baby.

First Birthday Cake Smash Photography with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

First birthday cake smash tips

  • Schedule your cake smash photography session 4-8 weeks before your desired date
  • If you want to showcase the portraits at their first birthday party or use them on invitations, schedule your session for when they are 11 months old
  • Choose to have a cake smash photography session with just your baby, or include siblings and mom and dad for some added fun
  • Do a practice run with your baby. By teaching them how fun (and delicious!) it is to get messy with a cake a week before the session, they’ll be more likely to dig in for the winning portraits
  • Go with the flow on the big day. Some babies are more reserved and some go all out. Either way, you’ll walk away with beautiful portraits that showcase your unique babe
Getting messy during First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a vintage banner, captured by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a vintage banner, prop - captured by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

What to bring to your cake smash session?

A cake of course

Second only to your adorable little one, the cake is the most important element of the photo session. I recommend that your child has tasted cake and frosting prior to the session.  Here are a few things to think about when choosing a cake:

  • Size: I highly recommend a 6-inch cake. It seems to be the perfect size for a great session. Avoid cupcakes or tiny pre-made cakes
  • Frosting: Be sure to choose a cake that has frosting–NOT fondant. Fondant doesn’t give us those amazing cake smash portraits we’re going for
  • Frosting colors: Try to avoid brown and red which can look a little less than pleasant when smeared on your little one’s face. I recommend light colors for the cake and the frosting. Pastels in particular photograph very well! Lastly, sprinkles always photograph great! Especially if you want to add some accent to your cake
  • A note about white: If you choose a white cake, try to get a cream-colored frosting instead of bright white which can look over-exposed.

Candle or cake topper

I do provide some but feel free to bring along a candle, or custom cake topper. Check Etsy out for some great options! We can use your topper or candle in the first portion of the cake smash and we can remove it when things start to get messy.

Clothing

I recommend you bring two outfits for photographs and one outfit for your little one to wear home. We will use the first outfit for your first birthday portraits, then change into a different outfit to get messy during the smash!

Once you know what you plan on having your little one wear and the colors of your cake, let me know! This helps me coordinate a backdrop and set colors that tie everything together.

If you are interested, I have some diaper covers, rompers, overalls, and pettiskirts for both boys and girls to wear.

Snacks and drinks

Be sure to come prepared with a drink for your little one. They are sure to get thirsty once they start eating the cake!

I also recommend bringing your child’s favorite snacks. This can be helpful if we need to put something in the cake to entice your baby to dig in.

Balloons

These are optional but highly recommended! They really add to the magic of the session. You can bring one big balloon or a handful of regular balloons. Make sure to choose balloons that coordinate with your color scheme.

Alternatively, I can provide a balloon garland, just be sure to let me know ahead of time!

What we provide for your cake smash session

  • Cake stand: various types to choose from
  • Vintage high chair: perfect for first birthday portraits before the cake smash!
  • Diaper covers, rompers, overalls, and pettiskirts for boys and girls
  • Soap, towels, and body lotion to clean your child after the cake smash session
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • (optional) balloon garland

Interested in cake smash photography for your babe?

If your little one has a milestone coming soon and would like to reserve a first birthday/cake smash photo session, please contact me as early as possible to secure your preferred date.

    

Natural Organic Newborn Photography

With the fresh start of the new year, I’m finding myself drawn more and more to natural organic newborn photography. I’m just loving newborn portraits that feature neutral tones, textures, and natural elements.

Today, I’d like to share some photographs that embody the look of a natural, organic newborn session perfectly! What I love most about the use of neutral tones and organic elements is how well everything coordinates. 

By featuring whites, creams and earth tones with pops of natural elements the portraits tell a cohesive story. The finished photographs easily combine for an eye catching gallery wall or album.

What’s more, natural organic feeling photographs have a timeless feel making it possible to continue the style as you have portraits taken of your growing family for years to come.

Meet Yuzu

I recently had the pleasure of photographing sweet, 16-day old Yuzu. And despite being a tad outside of the two-week old sweet spot, she was a good sleeper and handled the session beautifully! She even smiled during the session, and I was thrilled to capture it. 

During this session, I utilized neutral tones and colors that I knew would coordinate well. This way, her parents could choose any of the completed images to put together a stunning gallery wall.  

For her natural organic newborn photography session, I was sure to capture a variety of images for her gallery, including:

  • Dreamy, sleeping poses and portraits of her awake
  • Portraits of her entire body as well as close-ups of her darling face
  • Simple photos without props and a few with props to add texture and design

The completed collection was a huge success. I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves.

Natural Organic Newborn photography Session by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a cream headband is in Chin on Hands Pose.jpg
Natural Organic Newborn Photography Session by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a cream headband and cream wrap is in a Wrapped Pose, newborn baby and Eucalyptus Leaf Garland prop
Natural Organic Newborn Photography Session by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a cream headband is in simple wrapped pose, closeup newborn image.jpg
Natural Organic Newborn Photography by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a cream headband is in simple wrapped pose on a wooden tray, smiling, closeup newborn image, smiling newborn photo, smiling newborn picture, smiling newborn baby portrait, a newborn baby with a big smile, newborn baby
Natural Organic Newborn Photography Session by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a cream headband is in simple wrapped pose, closeup awake newborn image, awake newborn baby portrait, awake newborn photo, awake newborn photography, newborn baby
Natural Organic Newborn Photography Session by Cathy Murai Photography, Orange County Newborn and baby photographer in Irvine, a newborn baby girl wearing a pink headband is in a wooden bowl newborn photography prop, on Intuition Background

Schedule your natural organic newborn photography session

I’d love the opportunity to take the natural, organic-style newborn portraits featured in Yuzu’s session for your family! Contact me to schedule your session today.

I always recommend my clients schedule their newborn session while they’re still pregnant. This ensures top priority in my schedule to be sure we capture your newborn within the first 7 to 14 days of life.

Looking forward to chatting with you soon!

    

Irvine Newborn Photographer | Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year! Today on the blog, I want to share my last newborn session of 2019.

Meet Avery, 8 days old and 9 lbs of pure delight. I first met Avery’s family when I did her older brother’s newborn portraits three years ago at my former studio in LA.

As luck would have it, we reconnected last year when Avery’s mama was searching for a family photographer in Irvine. She wanted to capture some Christmas photographs. Google and yelp! lead her back to me!

They had moved to Irvine, CA and didn’t know that I had also relocated and was now an Irvine Newborn Photographer!

Avery’s Newborn Session

This was my third photography session with this lovely family. It was a joy to take these special portraits for them! Avery’s big brother was an excellent listener throughout the session. He was happy and proud to be a big brother which made my job of capturing special siblings portraits a dream.

We loved this sibling capture so much, that I used it as the featured image on the New Year’s cards that I designed for them. I showcased the adorable siblings on the front and put another image of Avery on the back to announce her birth. They came out beautiful!

Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. Sibling pose, Sibling relational pose, excited and proud older brother holding his sleeping little sister wrapped in a cream wrap and wearing a grey headband
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. Family and newborn pose, family and newborn relational pose, growing family portraits, brother holding his sleeping little sister wrapped in a cream wrap and wearing a grey headband during family portraits in newborn session taken in the newborn photography studio in Irvine, CA
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA.   This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio, Newborn baby girl wearing a teal and blue headband posing Hand on chin pose and Chin on wrists pose while she was sleeping on the teal blue backdrop blanket during her newborn session in Irvine, CA.
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio. Newborn baby girl wearing a blush pink headband and blush raffle diaper cover, posing Bum up pose, Tushy up pose while she was sleeping on the blush pink backdrop blanket during her newborn session in Irvine, CA.
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio. Newborn baby girl wearing a pink flower headband and pink blush raffle diaper cover, posing while she was sleeping on the blush pink backdrop blanket during her newborn session in Irvine, CA.
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio. Newborn baby girl wearing a blush pink and pearl headband and blush raffle diaper cover, posing Bum up pose, Tushy up pose while she was sleeping on the blush pink backdrop blanket during her newborn session in Irvine, CA. Newborn Close up shot.
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio. Newborn baby girl wearing a pink beads headband and pink blush raffle diaper cover, posing side lay pose while she was sleeping on the blush pink backdrop blanket during her newborn session in Irvine, CA.
Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. This adorable newborn picture was captured in her Irvine Newborn Photography studio. Newborn baby girl sleeping in a white bowl with a light blue curl blanket prop.

A successful Irvine newborn photography session

Throughout most of the session, Avery was sleeping which allowed us to get some beautiful, sleepy portraits. They scheduled their session almost 3 months prior to her due date, which was perfect because December was the busiest time of the year but we were able to schedule right in the newborn sweet spot at 8 days old.

But by the end of the session, Avery was wide awake. Which was perfect as we also got to capture some adorable awake portrait in a simple swaddle pose. Here is my favorite one!

Cathy Murai Photography is a Irvine Newborn photographer based in Orange County, CA. A widely awake newborn baby girl wearing a cream bonnet in a simple swaddle pose.  This adorable awaken newborn picture was captured in a Irvine Newborn Photography studio
“Are we done yet? I think you got enough great shots of me, no?”

If you’ve been looking for an Irvine newborn photographer, the search is over!

Contact me today to schedule a session with your little one.