The Perfect Cake Smash
So, congratulations - your baby is turning one! You've got through the worst of the sleepless nights (hopefully?!) and you’re thinking of an exciting way to celebrate. Cake smash sessions are so much fun and the resulting photographs make unique birthday invitations or thank you cards and are an amazing memory of that very special first birthday milestone.
You should think about booking your cake smash session around a month before the big day, that will give you enough time to choose your photographs and order invitations. This may mean you need to book your session two months before to ensure your chosen day is available.
Cake smash sessions with me come in three parts:
- The sessions always start with some simple portraits of your little one before the cake comes out. This is to get them relaxed in front of the camera and used the lights and the surroundings. They can wear their cake smash outfit for this or a normal outfit (choose something plain, without big logos/patterns so your child’s face is the focus… jeans with a plain vest top is fine).
- Then the cake comes out and we do the cake smash. Not all babies like getting messy with the cake, but given a little encouragement (and maybe some wooden spoons) they usually get involved.
- After the cake has been smashed I bring out a small bath tub with warm water and they can have a clean up bath, complete with bubbles!
Here is handy guide to help you plan your cake smash session!
I ask that you provide your own cake as this way you have the option of where you'd like to get your cake from (and trust me, you don't want me baking!) There are a range of options to suit any budget; you can make it (free if you already have the ingredients), buy from a supermarket (around £10) or have a custom cake by a local baker (£20+).
Vanilla sponge is best… I will leave it to your imagination as to what chocolate cake looks like when smeared over your baby’s face and body – not nice! As for icing, butter cream is much softer and easier to ‘smash’ than fondant icing. Again, avoid chocolate (and too much red icing, we don’t want it looking like Halloween!) but pretty much anything else goes. Think about picking colours that go with a theme (if you are having a themed birthday party for example) or colours that go with your chosen outfit.
There’s no need to go crazy with decorations as your baby and the cake will be the main focus of the photographs but some nice bunting or balloons always look great. We can do some shots with and without the decorations to give you variety in the finished photographs.
You baby is going to spend most of the session sitting behind the cake (or that’s the plan at least!) so we’re not going to necessarily going to see much of the bottom part of their outfit. Nappies on their own don’t look great, so a cute nappy cover is perfect. For girls, I LOVE how tutus look, and they can be homemade very easily with a bit of tulle fabric and a bit of elastic for the waistband, just look up tutorials on YouTube.
Etsy.com has some great pre-made cake smash outfits, just remember most of them ship from America so you’ll need to allow some extra time for delivery. If you have an idea for an outfit but can’t find quite what you’re after, let me know. I work with some great prop/outfit suppliers and can often get things custom made for no more than you’d pay on the high street. I also have a selection of outfits you are more than welcome to borrow if you’d like, just ask to see them when you book.
We spend all our lives telling our children not to play with their food, then on the day of their cake smash we want them to start throwing it around! You can prepare by giving your child a small cupcake a week or so before the session and encouraging them to play with it.
What to bring on the day:
- Your baby (sorry I don’t do cake smash sessions for grown-ups!)
- The cake
- Decorations (if desired)
- Plain outfit and cake smash outfit
- A few snacks (like cheerios) to place discreetly on the cake to encourage them to tuck in
- A drink for your baby
- A favourite toy (keep this in your bag and we can bring it out if we need extra help getting smiles!)
- Clean nappy and clothes for going home
What not to bring!
- Your best clothes (you may find you end up knee deep in cake!)
- Too many people (it’s best if it’s just you and your baby, and your partner if you wish) Other siblings and too many other adults can distract your baby and take their focus away from looking at the cake and the camera
- Your camera - I've got that bit sorted ;)
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I'm a Northampton photographer and photograph in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Buckingham, Oxford and surrounding areas. I come to you so you don't have to venture too far from home.