How To Photograph Your Child’s Cake Smash Session

Some trends in photography come and go. Before you even blink, it’s a new hip thing, and then just as quickly, the sizzle goes away. Then there is the cake smash – a trend that is steadily gaining in the list of special moments of a child’s first year that need to be captured. However you do not need to break the bank and hire a professional photographer.

Here are a few tips that will help you capture your child’s farewell to being an infant with SMASHING THE CAKE!

Tip 1: Pick TWO outfits.  A cute first birthday outfit, and the cake smash “attire” (usually a diaper/cover…see below). The first few shots to get should be portraits of your baby dressed in a cute outfit for a couple traditional first birthday portraits. Then take a few minutes to change your baby into their cake smash “attire”.


Tip #2: Let your baby have cake at least 2 times in the weeks leading up to the cake smash session. This way they will be familiar with cake enough to move past the exploration phase and they can get excited about it like the rest of us! Feeding them cake ahead of time also helps determine if your baby has any allergies or sensitivity from the icing coloring.  But believe it or not, many babies think the texture of the icing feels weird.  Some babies don’t like it at all and get upset when it won’t easily wipe off, and some babies are very interested in it and examine it very seriously.


Tip #3: It is great to incorporate some decorations from the first birthday party (such as a crafty banner). A DIY banner is usually a PERFECT look to dress up a cake smash. I am usually not a fan of balloons because they do not reflect well and they tend to cast color & shadows.


Tip #4:  The cake smash needs to be done at your home whenever possible for easy clean up. If you decide to do it in your backyard make sure the sunlight is not too harsh.  Your baby will definitely need a bath after, and you might also!   Animals and siblings need to be in a different room because the cake is soooo tempting to eat.


Tip #5: Do not purchase chocolate or red velvet cake. It doesn’t photograph well. Also avoid fondant as it can be a choking hazard. Stick to vanilla buttercream whenever possible. Also try to using pastel colored icing for softer photos


Tip #6:  Have some puffs, Cheerios or your baby’s favorite dry finger food on hand to stuff into the cake in case they need help being a littlemore interested in it.

Tip #7: Have a spoon handy within arms reach in case you need to give your baby a little “help” smashing into the cake. Some babies are very clean and dainty with the cake and need some adult help getting messy.



Tip #8:  Take LOTS of pictures. Do not just sit there, waiting for the best moment, because you might not ever see it. Take lots of pictures, change angles, take more pictures. Get closer, then get further away and keep firing! Most likely, you will have plenty of blurry pictures and it’s OK, as long as you have some good pictures that are acceptably sharp.

Tip#9:  If your baby has a fever or is not feeling well on the day of the session, then it needs to be rescheduled. You will not get good results and good smiles if your baby isn’t feeling well. Just put the cake into the freezer for safe keeping. Take it out of the freezer with enough time to let it thaw prior to the next session.


Tip #10:  Have fun and remember this is also a celebration of YOU surviving the first year too!


Hope these tips help! And always remember… Stay Dainty


Sandra Thomasian, MD


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