Cake Smash Essentials
Picture it: your darling child is about to go from being a baby to a
toddler; they are about to celebrate their first birthday! What better
way to celebrate than with a Smash Cake photoshoot! While you
can certainly pay to have someone take the photos for you,
especially if you are very busy or struggle with creativity, it is
entirely possible to pull out your DIY belt and do a photoshoot of
This simple and fun adventure can create lasting memories for
years to come. Just think of all the oos and awhs you will hear at
your child’s high school graduation or wedding when these photos
come up on the slide show. Heartwarming!
In order to pull this off by yourself, there are some definite items
you will need and some things you need to think about.
First, what theme do you want? Do you fancy your child a prince
or princess? What about about a Micky or Minnie Mouse theme?
A theme will help you decide on colors for the backdrop (if you
even use a backdrop, that is. You could also consider taking your
photos outside!), the type of props you will use, the outfit your
child will wear, and also what the smash cake will look like.
Once you have decided on a theme, colors, and where you would
like to photograph, you can start to gather your materials.
Even though we are talking about a Smash Cake Photoshoot, the
subject of the photographs will be your sweet little one and you
want them to look their best! Tutus are a really popular choice
right now and be a lot of fun. Rompers also look super cute. You
can also go for a more simple look and outfit your child in a
bloomer. Hair accessories are also make the photos more eye
catching. Think of a cute headband or even a small tiara. These
definitely set the tone between a more relaxed look and a more
There are so many fun options to choose from when looking at
our website, and you can even have something customized for
the color palette and theme you decided on.
The cake is the second most important part of your photos! You
can decide to go simple or fanciful; you can make it yourself or
order it from a shop. Either way, keep in mind that it’s about to get
While the cake itself is a prop, there are some other things you
need to think about. Balloons look add a fun “birthday” feel to the
photo, but streamers or bubbles can work too if you want
something different. You can also consider something for your
child hold. Perhaps a pinwheel or a flower? Do you want your
baby to be sitting on something or directly on the ground?
You might also want something showing that your child is “one.”
You can add “I am 1” or “Happy First Birthday” to a chalkboard or
even to pennants to hang in the back. Another option is to buy the
letters to spell out the word “One.” Your child can hold them, or
you can set the letters up in the background. If all of this feels like
too much, you can even write a “1” on the smash cake. Easy
The important thing to remember is that you want to keep the
props simple. All focus needs to be on baby and that cake!
As mentioned above, if your taking pictures outside, your
backdrop will probably be the beautiful outdoors. Maybe you have
a great yard or you live by a really nice park. Perhaps you have
access to some neat old buildings and can use the rustic wood as
This is not always the case for everyone, though. Maybe you live
in an apartment, or its freezing cold outsize! Have no fear, you
can still take your own photos. Nice looking backdrops can be
anything from a wrinkle free sheet or blanket, a nice piece of
fabric, your wall (so long as color doesn’t interfere with your
overall theme), or you can buy a large sheet of butcher paper. It
comes in all kinds of fabulous colors and can be purchased at a
teacher store near you (think Lakeshore Learning or something
Once you have your backdrop figured out, you need to think of
how you will hold it up. You can do something as simple as using
tape or a stapler to attach your backdrop to a wall, or you can
make your own backdrop stand out of PVC pipe for about $20.
You might also want to consider using plexiglass to sit your Little
One on and to keep the backdrop smooth. It also makes for a cool
reflect effect in the photos!
While you can certainly use your Nikon or Canon professional
grade cameras, your cell phone probably has a great one too! You
might want to fiddle around with the settings and take a few
practice photos so you have some idea of your options before you
let your baby loose on the cake and the mess ensues.
6. Good lighting
Natural light tends to look better than artificial light in photos, so if
you’re taking your pictures inside, make sure you set up shop
near a big window. Whether inside or outside, think about the time
of day that you will be photographing. Early morning or mid to late
afternoon tend to yield good lighting for photos.
7. A Willing Almost 1 Year Old
One of the great things about taking these photos yourself is that
if Baby is having a an off day, you can always try again tomorrow.
This is supposed to be something fun for them and you want
pictures of them smiling, not crying.
Go out there and have so much fun with this! It is going to be so
enjoyable for you and your (almost) toddler. Don’t forget to share
your pictures! We’d love to see them!
Audra W. Harris is a freelance writer and a teacher turned stay at
home mom. You can read about all of her misadventures and
parenting ideas on her own blog: