Maternity, Newborn & Family Photographer in Valencia – Pat A Cake Photography by Alex Baker and Ilona Banta
One thing that most parents agree on is how quickly time flies when you look at your children. It seemed like yesterday when they started to walk, now they are already going to school?! Next come playdates without parents, driver’s licences and zap! they move out! No wonder parents of older children remind us to cherish the moment with the little ones. We will never get those moments back. Having these special moments captured in photos or videos that will always remind us of this precious time is something we never will regret.
When I met Alex Baker, co-founder of www.patacakephotography.com, I was amazed by her passion and talent for photography. Her creative ideas, her brilliant sense of humour and her professionalism makes it a bliss to work with her. Read on to learn more about why and how she started with photography, her mission and some tips for taking photos of children. Additionally, for all Valencia Kids fans, Alex is offering a discount of 10% on your first order. Just mention the code ‘ValenciaKids-PatACake’ when you book a session.
How did Pat a Cake Photography begin?
The idea began in the first few months after I’d given birth to my son Theo. Although I’d been a
professional photographer for several years and had been asked to do family and baby shoots it
wasn’t something I had been specializing in. In the months leading up to the birth I knew I
wanted someone to take some maternity and newborn photographs of myself and Theo and I
began to research photographers in Valencia. I found someone whose work I loved in Barcelona
but I wasn’t in any condition to travel that far so soon after giving birth, and I couldn’t find
So I decided to do it myself! I did a newborn photography safety course and
learnt some basic techniques and photographed Theo at 10 days old. He was a refluxy baby
that never slept so it was a challenge to say the least, but I’m so glad I did. I love those images
that I took then, particularly because babies change so much in the first year and it’s so easy to
forget the details in those foggy early days of sleeplessness. I eventually flew a close friend and
professional photographer over from Portugal to photograph us when Theo was 7 months old
which was a wonderful experience being on the other side of the camera. My experiences as a
new mother looking for someone to document and preserve memories of this time has really
shaped Pat a Cake Photography into a business that puts the needs and wishes of our clients
first. In April of 2018 I joined forces with Ilona Banta, a talented photographer and mum of two.
The majority of the newborn and young baby shoots require an extra pair of hands to ensure
that the baby is completely safe, particularly when using props. Ilona takes wonderful images
and I feel that our talents dovetail perfectly. It’s also been brilliant for on-location shoots or when
we photograph larger families because we can split people into smaller groups and work
simultaneously. It makes the shoots more streamlined and ultimately takes up less of our client’s
time – they’re essentially getting two photographers for the price of one!
What is your background?
I actually studied classical percussion and for many years worked as a professional musician
with symphony orchestras. I fell in love with photography when my husband gave me a 1.2
megapixel camera to take on tour to China and document the trip. It became a bit of an
obsession and I studied further and practiced photography and Photoshop as much as I could.
Gradually colleagues and friends began to ask me to photograph them and their music groups
for their promotional material and cd’s. It grew very organically until I made the decision to step
full-time into commercial photography, and then after I had Theo I decided to divide the business
into two as they have very different client needs and setups. The commercial photography is
under www.alexbakerimages.com and the maternity,newborn and family photography under
What are your values and mission?
We love to capture authentic emotional connection between family members whether it’s in the
studio or the client’s home. We offer direction and guidance to our clients to help put people at
ease, for example we might ask our subjects to ‘walk over there and then look at each other’. In
general we aim to elicit real emotions and create a sense of energy and fun during each shoot.
Sometimes we will ask our clients to hug each other tight like it’s the last time they will see each
other, other times we will get a couple to whisper the name of a vegetable to each other in a
Barry White voice, sometimes we will just be completely goofy and make the kids laugh,
whatever works. Generally our clients have a great time and the shoot itself is a genuinely fun
experience where we do our best to rid people of the nerves or awkwardness which can be so
common when having your photo taken.
Every shoot is unique and designed around the
individual client – one client brought a gorgeous teddy bear outfit for her newborn son so I
created an image around that which depicted him on a shelf full of books and bears. The safety
of the babies is paramount and for that reason I shot this as a composite – I would never put a
baby on a shelf! To do this sort of image I took a photo of the baby on the floor held by mum and
dad, and a photo of the shelf and background, and then merged them together in Photoshop. It’s
a very cute image which I absolutely love and the parents were thrilled with.
Above all we aim to create a gallery of beautiful images that our clients can have printed and will
look at day after day, and perhaps hand on to the next generation to be cherished. Printing the
images is a hugely important part of our process (although of course this is 2018 and we do
digital files as well!). We use an internationally acclaimed print lab (which just happens to be in
Valencia) and have built a wonderful relationship with a local framer who makes everything by
hand. By building relationships with other local vendors we can ensure the highest artisanal
quality, support local businesses, and because we can walk to the lab and framers we are
eliminating shipping and so lowering the carbon footprint of our framed products.
Do you have any funny stories you can share?
Any newborn photographer will have plenty of stories that involve poop – that’s just the
unfortunate reality of taking a diaper off a very young baby. But you get used to it and everything
just goes straight in the wash, parents are always mortified but it’s no big deal – s*** happens as
they say! But probably the funniest incident was when I was photographing a wedding in the
Rocky mountains in USA a few years ago and nearly lost the entire bridal party of 20 people into
a reservoir before the ceremony! They wanted the formal photos done before the wedding to
save time and I had them all lined up nicely on a dock. I noticed it was starting to sink and had
to yell at them to get off before they all went under. I would not have been very popular if the
bride had walked down the aisle soaking wet…I had a lucky escape but I learn from my
mistakes and now I always check to see if a pontoon is fixed or floating before telling people to
stand on it 😉
Tips for taking better images of your kids:
Children and pets are notoriously difficult to photograph but there are a few things you can do to
improve your shots:
1. Get low – get down to their level literally. If you crouch down to a child’s eye level you open
up their face to the camera – the common thing is to take the photos from our adult height
which always has the disadvantage of looking down on the tops of their heads.
2. Take lots (and lots) of photos. It’s a numbers game, if you take enough you’ll get one good
one…I’m joking, but really, take lots!
3. Get them to do something. Rather than just the cheesy grin at the camera have them run up
a hill, fly a kite, splash in some puddles, bake a cake, anything! Engagement makes great
4. Get as close as you dare, then walk a couple of steps closer. They don’t bite – usually…
5. Print your photographs! This will be the first generation that will potentially lose all their
images because there are no hard copies, and that just makes me sad. A cherished image
of your newborn baby or your grandmother when she is no longer with us deserves to be
saved. Pick your favorites to get printed into a photo book or wall art so you can enjoy them
day after day.
How can we contact you for more info?
You can go straight to our website www.patacakephotography.com to see examples of our work
and discover more about the process, or email us at [email protected]. We offer
complimentary consultations to anyone who might be interested in a session with us so do get
in touch if you have any questions.
Don’t forget: for all Valencia Kids fans, Alex is offering a discount of 10% on your first order. Just mention the code ‘ValenciaKids-PatACake’ when you book a session. Enjoy the moment!