The cake smash party has become a rite of passage for every one-year-old child it now seems. Personally, I love this new tradition as it encourages children to get outside of the ‘sit-still-and-smile-for-the-camera’ family photo template. But how do you get the most memorable images? In today’s blog post, I’ll share some of my best cake smash photo tips so that you capture the most ‘smashing’ memories possible of your child.
Cake Smash Photo Tips – Scheduling
Get your official family portraits out of the way first. The cake smash should be the last thing on your photo shoot to do list. I can guarantee that the cute little outfit you selected will be covered in frosting by the end, so take the photos first. As with all family events, I always suggest getting photos out of the way so that you can concentrate on the fun activities afterwards. The order I go by for all family photos is as follows: little ones first, entire family together, then individual group photos (mom with kids, dad with kids, grandparents with kids, etc.).
Know your baby’s schedule to plan for maximum happiness. Most kids are happiest (and thus, most photogenic) after a nap and a feeding. You know your kid’s schedule best, so plan accordingly. You may end up smashing the cake and serving the cake (to adults) at separate times if the baby needs to smash earlier. Cake smash photo sessions tend to be a very entertaining component of a larger party that includes adults, and it would be nice if the cake smash led directly into serving dessert. But, it doesn’t always happen that way.
Cake Smash Photo Tips – Choosing the Right Cake
The cutest cakes are usually made with fondant, which isn’t very smashable. As you can see from the photos of Marsha’s family celebration, fondant is by nature not messy. Instead, have a cute cake ready for the party but substitute a frosting-filled cupcake for the actual smash moment. The gooier the frosting, the better the smash.
The cake decorations should draw in your child. This is the time to go for wild colors and any (edible) decorative objects that your child will want to touch.
Cake Smash Photo Tips – Clean Up
Have the cake smash in a clean-up friendly area. In Marsha’s case, she simply set aside a portion of the living room for the entire event and put down a tarp that could easily be taken outside for cleaning. Be prepared for cake to go in unexpected places, so be careful of walls or breakable items nearby.
Consider a high chair for the actual cake smash. One interesting thing during Marsha’s photo shoot was that we originally had the baby on the ground with the cake hoping he would dive in. He poked at the cake, but didn’t really understand that he was supposed to eat on the floor since this was an entirely new concept. It wasn’t until we put him in the high chair with the cake in front of him that he understood he could put the cake in his mouth.
Have another outfit ready. No one likes to sit in messy clothes, and babies are no different. Plus, after the energy provided by a little sugar rush, you can probably get a few more photos out of your little one. Plan appropriately, and have a second outfit ready. In Marsha’s case, we ended up getting some great images by the window of the family together after the cake chaos.
Final Thoughts – Expectations
Be prepared for less mayhem than expected. This is my second cake smash, and in both instances, the babies had very good table manners. If your child is very well behaved, then the baby is not going to turn into an animal when faced with a luscious baked good. So if you need to put a little frosting on the baby’s nose to begin the ‘smash’ process, so be it. Marsha’s little one did eat a handful or two of cake, but he was rather refined with the frosting.
Parents getting into the mess is great for photos. This leads me to another tip: your kids will follow your lead. I always encourage families to get into the mix together in front of the camera, and cake smash moments are no different. If you child sees you eating a handful of cake, then the baby will follow suit.
Remember, things on kids heads rarely stay there for long. Be prepared for that birthday hat to be pulled off, stat.
Meet Marsha’s Family
Accompanying this article are photos of Marsha and Jay’s family. Their little boy was turning the big ‘one,’ and Marsha wanted to let him let it all out. She had the entire living room set up so that her child could fling that cake as far as he needed to. Both sets of grandparents were invited over for the occasion, and a beautiful, train-themed cake was ordered from a local baker. The baby’s precious outfit and wall decorations were ordered from Amazon. Everything was staged in-house (literally, in the apartment).
I can’t wait to see how this little cutie grows up and look forward to many more photo shoots with Marsha and her family. Enjoy the images, and I’ll have more photo adventures for you next week!
Do you have a little one in search of a cake to smash? Drop me a line and let’s talk about your photography needs.
Looking for more family photo fun? Then check out my family photography portfolio on my website, KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com