Top 5 Tips for a Successful Cake Smash session
First Birthday Cake Smash photography sessions are darn near a MUST these days. Rarely does a one year old sneak past their first official birthday without this fun milestone photo shoot. You've seen those killer shots of babies obliterating their perfectly designed birthday cakes (like my friend Jack here). That is the expectation, right? But listen up, Moms...I hate to break it to you. That is not the norm. Of all the dozens and dozens of first birthday cake smash sessions I've photographed, I can honestly say that maybe ONE handful of those sessions ended with an actual smashing of the cake! Turn that frown upside down though...I'm sharing my top 5 tips for a Successful Cake Smash session with you. Right here. Right now. Let's take a scroll...
1. Don’t assume they will dive right in
Most parents (myself included) hope that their little one will dive in and make a mess of the cake. That's the ultimate goal of a "Cake Smash" right? But that doesn’t always happen and that’s okay. Not every child wants to dive right in and make a mess no matter what tricks we try. It’s important to know that even if they don’t turn their cake into a gooey pile of crumbs, I am still able to catch fun images of them poking at it or daintily picking of bits of icing or decorations. Sometimes we may need to strategically place a little icing to help things along, or other times mom or dad may have to get involved in the pictures themselves. It’s also a good idea to bring along a favorite toy or some snacks in case your little one needs some encouraging.
2. Cake Rehearsal is a MUST!
If you are determined to have your one year old smash their cake... make sure the cake smash session is NOT the first time they taste the sugary deliciousness of birthday cake! I recommend a couple "cake rehearsals" in the weeks leading up to your session. Believe it or not, many babies think the texture of the frosting feels weird. Some don't like it at all and get upset when it doesn't easily wipes off. So, grab a cake pop on your next trip to Starbucks or snag a cupcake at the bakery counter next time you're grocery shopping. Just get them used to the taste so they're more likely to want to dig in when it's sitting right in front of them.
3. Timing is Everything
At the ripe ol' age of ONE, these tiny humans have good and not so great times of day. All photographers will recommend the early evening as the "best time of day for outdoor photos" but let's be real here... that's meltdown time for lots of littles. Make sure you schedule your baby's cake smash session around their schedule. If they are happier in the morning hours, go for a sunrise session - who doesn't love cake for breakfast!?
4. Come prepared for one heck of a mess
One thing parents don’t often realize is that they too will likely become covered in cake and icing during the session (picture your little miss or mister running/crawling straight towards you with icing coated hands), so a change of clothes for everyone as well as towel for wiping hands and a Costco size quantity of baby wipes! My amazing cake artist is keenly aware of this fact and generally shy's away from using dark blues or reds as the accent color for the frosting (you're welcome!).
5. Keep it simple
A trend with cake smashes is to have balloons, banners, cute outfits, an extravagantly decorated cake and props galore. As you can tell by my work, that's not my jam. My preference is to keep the backdrop simple (I obviously love nature and so do most of the babies I photograph) so the focus remains on your little star.
Through your Cake Smash Questionnaire, I gain insight on the theme or outfit you've chosen for your birthday dude or dude-ette's photos. I then share that information with my cake artist who then custom designs a darling 6" smash cake that compliments the theme/outfit selection. Be mindful that my instruction to my cake artist is also "simple is best" as the cake is not the featured creature for this session.
Please know, I am always more than happy to incorporate props and decorations that are meaningful to you or your baby or that are small an coordinate with your theme.
Well, there you have them... 5 simple ways to create a successful cake smash session for your baby! I look forward to capturing this milestone for your little one!