Blog

  1. Photographer or Baker?

    I get asked so regularly how I came to be in the business that I am, a photographer and baker. I often ask myself the same,  having to stress about the photo end of things can be bad enough.  When I started the revelation that is a Cakesmash, I had trouble with finding the perfect cake. It had to look amazing, taste amazing but also be cost effective. It also had to be small enough for a baby and hold as little risk with allergies as possible. As my style progressed, so did the cakes have to. So I thought about making my own.

    I know some of you would think ‘who cares it’s getting smashed by a baby’. But like all things for your baby, you want the best and so I try and do that for each of my clients and the babies that have came to me on the biggest day of their life thus far, the mighty first birthday. It’s a big deal, it can’t be redone. You will always have those memories and for some busy Mum’s/ Dad’s organizing a suitable cake wasn’t a worry I wanted to give them on-top of everything else.

    So I started from scratch, literally. YouTube obviously was a gift in teaching how to make a basic sponge. From there I picked up bits and pieces, rolling pins and baking pans. Now sadly I’ve acquired a massive corner in my garage with storage boxes of mixers etc. I’ve always been creative, that wasn’t a problem and a semi decent cook. So in actual fact I have came to love baking. My favorite show is the Great British Bake Off  naturally and recently have raised £300 for STAND UP TO CANCER linked below.

    https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/the-great-carrie-bake-off?fbclid=IwAR2VXxybb91cGEDO2B3SE1dfMSECFRjrPQjpIi_IZGh7zgI3K33HD6V_KCs

    We can always put our heads together and teach ourselves a new skill and without a doubt the biggest compliments come when family and friends beg me to make them a cake (often totally last min). Everyone has been so supportive, especially my Mother, Mother in Law and partner, often left to help with the clean up. When I look back at myself then, flicking through the internet asking a million questions, I’d tell myself to be patient and you’ll get there. Anything is possible and worth doing it even if just for fun, learning never ends.  I’d like to finish with a few photos of my favorite bakes and to please ask you to donate to the page if you can. Happy Baking….and thank you for reading <3

    Carrie McKee is Northern Ireland’s leading Cakesmash Photographer/ Baker. Drop her a message now to plan your little one’s big day.

    Cakesmash – Belfast – Northern Ireland – CakesbyCarrie – Themed cakes – Great British Bake Off – Photographer – First Birthday – Smash & Splash. 07590368295.

     

     

     

  2. Behind The Scenes- Cakesmash

    So it’s been over a year since I last blogged and thought I would share some insights into my business and how I do things. Hopefully this will be educational for parent’s and photographers alike. Firstly when booking a cakesmash with myself, people will always ask, what does that include, what do I get etc?? Well what you will get is a guaranteed an amazing experience to bring in your child’s birthday. Each session is specially designed and unique to the last. I’m perhaps the only photographer in Belfast if not Northern Ireland doing custom made cakes in any theme. You won’t be just another cake smasher with me.

    Often people don’t realize the work goes into a cake shoot, so let’s explain. The day before your shoot I will go to studio and set up for the following day, this can take anything to up to an hour depending on the theme. Then I will return home to bake and prepare the cake. So that’s a full day gone one the prep already. Here’s some behind the scenes of a recent cake I made.

    *TOG TIP* Link for backdrop remote system  (will make your live so much easier)

    https://seamlessphoto.com/photo-equipment/3-roller-motorised-background-support-system.html

    So for this theme, Dad asked for In the Night Garden. I had no clue who he was…but after researching the show, I decided on this first scene. This is another aspect of being a photographer, research and knowing what your clients want.  I knew I wanted to make the cake navy, like the ocean at night. Easier said than done. Here’s some images to show what I used making this cake.

    What you will need:

    A large base cake, I used 8”x 2 sponge for this.

    6”x 2 sponges for middle

    Icing sugar, Ready to roll icing, Wilton food colors, Rice krispies for boat and various cutters and baking tools.

    For the base I mixed 3 colors to achieve what I wanted, the splashed with icing sugar to give the water spray effect after I rolled it over the 8” sponges. I now have a base. Very rarely touched by baby so you can use a dummy cake and I sometimes do this based on the time I have.

    Then I layered navy icing over the middle to create waves for the boat to sit on. This is easily achieved and rather quick to do. Then I made Iggle Piggle, achieved by attaching a light blue and darker blue icing, just molding with your hands.  A bit fliddly but looks great when done. Use cocktail sticks for the red bits but don’t let baby go for this.

    Next I made the boat with rice Krispies and melted chocolate that I molded into a boat shape and let sit in fridge. While this set I made the wood planks.

    After I assembled the boat and added the character, all I had to do was place the character in the boat and add the little yellow light which is just icing. Done!!

     

     

    This took a few hours but was so worth it when parents seen it. This is why I charge a session fee as so much work and time has already went into the shoot before I even lift the camera to take a picture. This is why the prints and products are separate. The following day I will take portraits of baby before, during smash and then finish in the bath. I then clean up the studio, which can be messy. I then upload the pictures and begin to edit them down to show parents. Parents usually go for a large frame as it best shows off the 9 photographs included. This is the missing piece of the story. I get more excited seeing the images framed than I do about anything else. It’s an amazing investment for your home and they just keep getting better. Finally I will blog on social media, announcing the babies birthday for friends and family.

    Hope you enjoyed reading and promise will try to blog more behind the scenes throughout the year as everyone loves a nosey, Carrie xo

     

     

  3. Relaunch Day!!!

    So today I can finally share with you all the recent work to the website and new premises. I can honestly say I don’t want to do another studio move in my life, but I guess nothing in life is ever for forever. Couldn’t have done it without my family, friends and my partner and I’m forever grateful. Moving is tiring and draining but it’s also exciting and with such a sense of accomplishment when it all comes together. Finally I can have a space that I can have to my taste and needs. It’s also closer to home so that’s good on the petrol.

    Let me share with you all some snaps, just from my phone for now. Bearing in mind we did this in just 2 days in-between shoots!

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    New address is 507 Crumlin Road, Belfast. Appointment Only.

    ADDRESS

    Carrie McKee Photography. New Address. Belfast. Northern Ireland.

     

  4. The Quinns

    These little heart breakers need little introduction, with their long blonde hair and slightly faded summer tans, these boys have it all. Best part is, they come with a little white bundle of fluff, Ozzy the dog. Can you imagine the girls stopping in the street as they walk past in years to come?

    This family session was non-stop cuteness, as you will see. Caden and Ryan, don’t grow up!!!

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    And here is the behind the scenes video of the session. Directed and edited by the Carrie McKee Inter Team.

    For more information on family sessions, visit the website www.carriemckee.com or call 07590368295

     

     

  5. Happy Birthday Sophia

    Today we have a super cute princess making an appearance at the studio for her Birthday Cakesmash. Accompanied by dotting Mum & Dad, we had a super session with this little cutie. We began with some portraits, which is a great way to gauge how baby will sit with a cake. Thankfully it was only to get better.

    Looking initially quite confused at what we had put in front of her, after a few nibbles, Sophia got the hang of it. It didn’t take long to demolish the scrumpy cake. After it was reduced to a pile of crumbs, we quickly whisked baby into a warm bubble bath.

    Sophia was a huge fan of bubbles, like most of our babies, so she had a blast in the bath. After doing her best mass flood impression, we got her dressed and ready for her party in the afternoon. All in a day in the life of a 1 year old!

    Happy Birthday little one, hope your family at least got a bit of your Teletubby cake, for you weren’t for sharing this one :)

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    Carrie McKee Photography. Cakesmash. Belfast. 07590368295

  6. Cormac Cakesmash

    Hey guys i’m the new intern at Carrie McKee Photography, my name is James Fennell. This is my first blog…

    Let’s all welcome the adorable new addition to our humble Cakesmash, Cormac! The Superstar of the World!!  Cormac made his debut when he met Miss McKee for a life of stardom. He got dress up by his managers (Mummy and Daddy) and was taken to the stage with the crew to strut his stuff.

    To celebrate his successful photo shoot, he was awarded by a divine birthday cake. Cormac wasted no time filling his tummy with yummy sponge and buttercream, spreading his cheeks, nose and toes in the creamy delight. And finally, we finished with a bubble bath and quick session of the family.

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    Carrie McKee Photography. 07590368295. Cake Smash Belfast. carrie@carriemckee.com

  7. Jack’s First Birthday Smash

    Well folks, the Sailor theme has been reinvented and we now have the cutest sailor suit for our little men!

    So today, a familiar face came in to have their CakeSmash; Jack. Firstly meeting Jack as a tiny newborn, he was one of the first babies to have a session in the new premises a full year ago. Funny how time flys.

    Jack is allergic to Dairy, so our cake was made of dairy-free alternatives in order to cater for this.

    Firstly, we did portraits in his cute little dungaree shorts and bow tie.

    Jack looked super cute with his gelled blonde hair and totally rocked the new addition to the Sailor Smash.

    And after all this, Jack got his nice warm bubble bath, which cleaned him all up!

    Thank you for coming back Jack!

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    Carrie McKee Photography. 07590368295. Belfast. Cake Smash

  8. Leah’s Model Shoot

    Last week we traveled to Bangor for a super fun photo shoot! We had a great time celebrating Leah’s 14th birthday and taking some gorgeous shots of her.

    Before the shoot, Leah got her make-up done by our friends at Pout. She looked absolutely amazing and it was a great way to start such an exciting day. With her hair and make-up finished we set off for Bangor!

    Upon arriving at our destination, everyone was a little worried about the heavy drizzle and we hoped it would ease off. Mother nature must have been listening because just as we started the shoot, there were clear skies! Leah’s first outfit featured some super cool knee high socks and heels, paired with some shorts and a fun top. After stocking up on candy floss, our first stop was some colourful beach houses . Our model Leah certainly knew how to rock a photo shoot and the pictures looked great!

    Throughout the day there were several outfit changes and we got some great shots at Bangor’s Pickie Funpark. But before going home we had one more stop to make… the beach! After some unexpected rock climbing we managed to get some absolutely stunning shots of our model. To make it even better the sun was just setting and our view was glorious!

    Everyone at Carrie McKee Photography had a fabulous day working with you Leah; we hope you enjoyed your shoot!

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    Carrie McKee Photography. 07590368295. Model Portfolio. Belfast