7 Tips for a First Birthday Cake Smash Photo Shoot

What better way to celebrate a first birthday than with a cake smash photo shoot on the beach?! When a returning client said she wanted to incorporate some milestone photos of her daughter into her family session, I was excited to capture this special moment. Cake smash photos are a fun way to document your child’s growth and personality. As a family photographer, I love the creativity involved and enjoy seeing the joy and excitement on your baby’s face as they dig into the cake.

I’m also a mom of two and know that prepping for a photo shoot with little ones can be stressful, so my goal is to help make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible! If you want to capture this memorable moment, here are some cake smash tips for parents: 

  1. Save the messy part until the end. I like to take “nice” family photos prior to the cake smash with all of the possible combinations of people (grandparents with the kids, mom with the birthday girl, both siblings, etc.). Once that cake comes out and clothes get covered in frosting, there’s no going back! 
  2. Think about the color scheme you’re going for and plan the cake’s frosting and decor accordingly. For this cake smash photo shoot, my client brought a small, simple cake with white frosting. I love that it blended in with their coastal attire and the birthday girl’s white dress. However a pop of color could also be fun – it just depends on the vibe you’re going for! And personally I prefer cakes that aren’t chocolate. Lighter colors seem to look more appetizing in photos. 
  3. Decide if you want any props and discuss them with your photographer. Do you want any decor in the background, like balloons or banners? What about a cake stand or a chair for the baby to sit in? Your photographer may have items you can borrow or they can suggest local vendors. As someone who loves to bake, I have quite a cake stand collection and would be more than happy to bring some options for you. 
  4. Have a family member stand behind the camera to make them smile and look that direction. I find that we get some great shots when mom, grandma, or someone else the one year old is familiar with stands behind the photographer. Shaking a favorite toy or making silly faces can help, too!
  5. Time the photo shoot for when they are well rested and somewhat hungry. We want the birthday boy or girl to enthusiastically eat the cake, but not be hangry. As a mom myself, I know it’s easier said than done, but try to schedule your shoot after their nap time and when they’re typically in a good mood. 
  6. Be prepared to clean up! Don’t forget a towel and some wet wipes to clean up the baby and surrounding area if needed. 
  7. Hire a photographer. It’s easiest to focus on being the parents and have a professional photographer work on getting the shots. Choose someone who has experience with cake smash photography and knows which shots to get. I love taking these milestone photos for families and would be so honored to take them for you! Contact me here to start chatting about your cake smash photo ideas!