What is one of the latest trends for celebrating your baby’s first birthday? Why by letting them eat cake of course, all while being photographed as they smash, smear, and feast on it. I have already done quite a few of these sessions since I began offering them in September, and so far, not one session has been the same. I have learned a lot in a short amount of time, and I wanted to share some of that knowledge with anyone considering booking their own cake smash session.
1. Don’t assume they will dive right in
All parents hope that their little one will dive in and make a mess of the cake. That’s what you are paying for! 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 favourite toy and some snacks in case your little one needs some encouraging.
2. 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, not just the birthday boy or girl, is a good idea.
3. Cake and icing choices matter
When picking out your own cake or making one to bring to a smash session, I suggest choosing a white cake over chocolate or red velvet. Bright or pastel covered icing seems to photograph better than plain white or chocolate, with the exception of red. Why you ask? Well, let’s just say that when chocolate or red icing is smeared everywhere (and it usually will be during a cake smash session) it can resemble things less appetizing and at first glance people may not realize that what your son or daughter is covered in is actually cake. Gross, right? I have also found that creamier icing and less dense cakes are better for smashing. Fondant and really stiff icing can make it harder for them to get messy. If your cake is going to be refrigerated before the session, I suggest letting it sit out about a half hour before leaving for the cake smash session so the icing is less stiff.
4. Watch out for allergens
Offering your child a cake during their session that has ingredients they have never had before isn’t a great idea. This one may seem obvious, but it isn’t always to everyone. I am a prime example actually. I just photographed my own son’s first birthday cake smash a couple of weeks ago, and afterwards he broke out in a pretty bad rash and I felt horrible. I am 99% sure it was due to the dark teal colour of the cake icing which contained a LOT of food colouring, which of course he had never been exposed to before. After a little Benadryl he was fine, but it is something to keep in mind. If you are at all concerned about allergies, less is more when it comes to the colour of your icing and it is a good idea to ask your doctor about having some infant/children’s allergy medication on hand just in case.
5. Customize your session
I encourage my clients to make the cake smash session their own. I have a TON of props, backgrounds, and accessories to go with pretty much any colour scheme you may have in mind, and I am always willing to work with your own props and decor as well. I have had people bring balloons, chalkboards, custom banners, tutus, you name it. You can contact me any time to discuss what I have on hand.
6. Book in advance
Book your session early so that you get the date you want. Some parent want their cake smash pictures ready for their child’s actual birthday to print out and display, and in that case, the session should be done at least 2 weeks before the event (sometimes more depending on the season).
If you are considering booking a cake smash session, I hope you found this article helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts below. Happy smashing everyone!