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How to SMASH a Cake Smash Shoot

June 30, 2017

The formula is fantastic:


A one year + an entire cake to themselves = Laughs/Cries/Disaster/Colour/Mess/SUGAR!/Excitement.


What better way to celebrate that 1st year milestone then a memorable photo shoot! You can never truly predict what will happen when shooting a cake smash but I think (like with all children's photography sessions) you have to go with the flow and have fun. It's just like Santa photos, you won't know until it happens. Because this is generally the first time your child is having cake you have two options;

       A) they hate the cake and turn into a sobbing mess or

       B) they love the cake, demolishes it down and turns into a sobbing mess when you stop them from finishing the cake.


Below are my tips for smashing out your first Cake Smash 👊


• Be ready for the big clean up afterwards! Have plenty of wipes and towels or a bath ready. As the parent, prepare to get covered in icing and cake yourself so I would recommend not wearing your best clothes and bringing a change of clothes.

• Make sure your little one has had their nap so they are nice and rested and I recommend feeding them 30 minutes before placing the cake in front of them so they aren’t too ravenous or grouchy.
• You can use bunting or a few balloons or streamers to add colour to the background, but remember that you want the baby and the cake to be the focus - you don’t need to go overboard with decorations. Other photographers suggest using a plain, solid coloured background.
• Think about what you want your child to wear. Remember that whatever they're wearing might end up covered in cake and icing, so now's not the time for fancy clothes! Lots of parents just put their little ones in nappies for the cake smash.
• If your child will be wearing a disposable nappy in the pictures, it can look nicer if they’ve got a nappy cover over the top.


The cake

• You don’t have to go overboard with the cake – many parents suggest buying un-iced sponge cakes from the supermarket them icing them yourself, as the sponge breaks up easily.
• Avoid fondant, as it’s too hard for kids to break into! Buttercream icing – or even whipped cream - is best. Oh an be prepared for everything to smell like butter and cake for a long time haha.
• Don’t keep the cake in the fridge beforehand, as it can make them too hard for kids to break up.
• Most photographers say that vanilla cake looks best in photos, and advise parents to avoid chocolate 💩. Red icing is probably best avoided, too, as when it melts it can look a bit like blood.
• While you can use coloured icing or trims, simple cakes can look great in photos – colourful sprinkles on a white cake is all you need!

• Cake stands, while cute, can be expensive and hard to find. They can also be dangerous if your baby is into knocking stuff over. I say don’t worry about it and just put the cake on the floor.

The shoot

• if you're taking the photos with a DLSR yourself, try putting it onto sports mode. This lets you take continuous photos, which gives you a better chance of capturing that perfect expression or action.
• If you have dogs, bring them in at the end to help with the clean up – it can give you the chance to capture some more precious photos!
• If your baby isn’t too sure about the cake, try putting a bit on your finger to pop in their mouth. If he hasn’t had much experience with cake, he might not know it’s edible.
• Some parents like to take a few photos of the clean up after the cake smash is done. I call this the aftermath shot.
• One mum on the Essential Baby forum was worried about her daughter not liking the cake, or not being too enthusiastic about eating it. But, she pointed out, “It really didn't matter. There are some gorgeous photos of her taking petite little bites!”


For any photographers reading this, your studio will smell like cake for a while. Sweet delicious cake 🍰



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