Smash the Cake

And get my hands dirty?

That’s the response that went through my head when I saw my son’s expression when I told him to smash his cake.

I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s been due to life (Life happens right?). My son turned two during the Fourth of July week. Amidst doing things last minute in decorations for his party, the cake, food, gifts, entertainment, etc….photography was the last thing on my mind. 🙂

My wife once again wanted some smash the cake pictures. I asked her if this is the last year she wanted to do this type of thing. She said “no”. Damn….

So nearly two weeks after his birthday, I finally get around to taking some portraits of my “little man” who’s growing up faster than I realize.

Being uncooperative (comes with the territory of being 2), the usual bribing techniques were employed (gummy fruit snacks). I shudder at the thought of what his “price” will be as he gets older. I can see it now…

<cue fairy-tale dream sequence harp music>

Me: “Hey son, come here and let me shoot a portrait of you.”

Him: “Sure pops….Let me borrow the car this Friday. I’ve got a date.”

Me: (grumbles): “Fine…”

Snaps some shots. Tosses over the keys.

Him: “Thanks pops, now I need some cash for my date.”

Me: “What?! I just gave you the keys. That was your payment.”

Him: “The keys were my sitting fee. The cash is for me granting you rights to put my pictures up on your site for all to see.” *grins*

Damn smart kids….

Anyway…moving on.

In one of my earlier posts, I showed my son’s first smash the cake photos, along with a lighting diagram and a behind-the-scenes shot of my setup. During that shoot, I used 5 foam core boards, a 48″ octabox, and a rented 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. I was curious as to whether I could do it with less than ideal variables. In other words…less space to work with, and a 50mm lens…..I know I’m going to be cursing….

This time, instead of using a softbox like last time, I wanted to try a 22″ beauty dish. Since my mini me is growing up, I wanted something a little harsher and edgier than the soft light of a softbox.

This is a two light setup as you can see from the diagram. I used a Yongnuo 560 on 1/2 power with a 22-Inch Beauty Dish. The dish was positioned just off-center to my camera, and in front.

My framing in the viewfinder looked great….Well, the 5D II’s damn 98% viewfinder looked great that is….Until I went to  process the photo and noticed a corner of the picture had part of the damn light stand in it. 🙂

My second flash was my Canon 580 EX II at 1/16th power on a boom arm set to go nuclear on the foam core background. I used a rogue flashbender as a flag to prevent too much spill from the flash hitting my son. Some stil did anyway.

Both flashes triggered with my Phottix Odins.

I really do wish I would have used more foam core boards lol. I only used two, and that made for some tight framing. Even then, trying to frame something “tight” with a 50mm lens isn’t ideal…but then, that’s what I was trying to go for…see if I could do a shoot similar to my son’s first smash the cake, but overcoming some obstacles (granted they were self-inflicted…I’m a glutton for punishment as my wife puts it).

As you can see, I didn’t have much room to work with. If I remember correctly, the foamcore boards are only like 30″x40″. Consider that my son is almost 37″ tall. 🙂

I didn’t use a tripod with his first smash the cake shot, but I wanted to with this one so I would have consistent framing.

So….in the end, I tell my son to smash the cake, and he gives me this look…..

Are you kidding??? I couldn’t have had him fake that expression even if I had a 5lbs bag of gummi bears. It’s shots like this that fuel my love of photography.

A few more edits.

My son doing his “Wreck It Ralph” impersonation…..Looks more like Bam Bam from the Flinstones if you ask me. 🙂

And success on a smashed cake!

Disclaimer: My son still did not want to cooperate and get all messy, so gummy snacks were recruited (drafted…they did not want to go willingly) to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, covertly hidden within the confines of the sweet, tasty, creamy prison that is called “cake”. Once we told our son that gummies were seeking refuge in the cake, he went forth and liberated them from their icing prison…and into his mouth. We lost a lot of good gummies that day….

<moment of silence>……..burp.

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