As every parent knows, the milestone 1st birthday is something you will want to document. With your adorable baby’s personality starting to develop and their inquisitiveness on full display, a cake smash session is a colorful way to introduce them to the world of sugar while seeing the wonder glisten in their eyes. If your bundle of joy is celebrating their first trip around the sun soon, here are some tips for capturing their cake smash session.
Capture a few images before it gets messy
Once the cake is put in front of your baby, clean-faced shots will be a thing of the past. Even after you’re done with the cake, your little one will probably be uninterested in posing for any more photos (they may even cry because you took the cake is gone)! As for some posing ideas, grab a few photos with their favorite toy or taking some wobbly toddler steps.
It’s going to get messy
As Ms. Frizzle said on ‘The Magic School Bus’: take chances, make mistakes and – most importantly – get messy! Make sure to choose your location wisely because you never know if your baby will put the cake directly in their mouth or if they’ll decide to start an impromptu food fight! Some toddlers are very cautious and don’t want to do much except poke at the cake. Meanwhile, other toddlers like to fling cake and frosting across the room. Some good places to do cake smash sessions that allow for easier cleanup are outdoors (weather permitting), in the kitchen, or in a room with hardwood/linoleum/laminate/tiled floors (or put down a plastic mat). The kitchen table works great since it’s easy to maneuver around for different angles while keeping the child somewhat contained. I’ve also had the child sit on the floor so there’s no fear of them falling.
Get a smashing outfit… literally!
These photos will be treasured family memories, so you’re obviously going to want your baby to look their best. Keep in mind that they’re going to get very messy, so don’t put them in their Sunday best. It’s a great opportunity for a fun, colorful over the top look. If you’re planning on a “diaper only” look, a diaper cover can make this look a bit fancier. Make sure your little one is wearing clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, be prepared to give the baby a bath right after the session. The cake will be in their eyelashes, ears, and every nook and cranny you could think of.
Make it festive for the birthday boy or girl
Since you are celebrating the little one’s first birthday, it’s fun to have some photos where it’s very obvious that it’s a birthday celebration going on. Balloons, streamers, party hats, banners, flags and festively wrapped gift boxes can all add a nice touch. Remember to keep it cute & simple, you’ll want the focus to be on the birthday girl or boy.
Dimpled fingers, cute little toes, and hilarious cake smashing action are a must to capture close up. Make sure to get shots of those dainty fingers poking at the cake, tentatively testing it out. You can tell a much better story of the cake fun if you get some close-ups of everything, along with the shots that take everything in. Get lots of angles; try shooting from above, from their eye level, from below, and from every side.
Encourage smashing if needed
Sometimes you’ll get a little one that is really hesitant to dig in, and much more of a “taster” than a “cake shoveler”. Sometimes they might not even want cake on their hands! You will want to try to capture some photos showing that because photos showing their true personality will be much more valuable than something that is completely out of character and set up. That being said, there are only so many photos you can take with nothing happening. You may have to show them it’s okay to play with the icing. Once they have a taste they’ll probably be happy to have more. A lot of times, they just don’t know what they’re supposed to do (we don’t usually put an entire cake in front of children and tell them to make a mess of it).
Be prepared for all of the emotions
Something this new and different can bring out happiness in some kids, and overwhelmed tears in others. Be prepared for those tears, and make sure to capture a few photos before you comfort them and clean them up. It’s okay if every photo isn’t smiling and happy, because – as any parent of a one-year-old can tell you – they are not always smiling and happy. Try to keep the session as light and easy as you can.
As with all new foods it’s a good idea to start slowly to make sure your child doesn’t have an allergy. If there is an ingredient in the cake or icing that your baby hasn’t had before, it’s best to give them a taste a couple of weeks prior to rule out any reactions before you let them dive right in.
Enjoy it all
You only get a first birthday once in your life, and it should definitely be something to celebrate! Enjoy every moment photographing your little one’s first cake tasting experience. Hopefully, they will enjoy it as much as you do. After all, it’s not every day that you get an entire cake to yourself. Don’t stress if the details aren’t exactly perfect; they will still love it and you when you look back at your photos, you’ll only really care about how much you all enjoyed it as a family.