I have photographed many cake smashes over the years! I have collected tried-and-true tips to make our cake smash as smooth as possible. I know this is a long guide, but everything below will give us the best results with the cake/baby/photos. Please let me know if you have any questions!
I recommend vanilla cake. Chocolate cake can look like the baby is eating/covered in dirt, colourful cake can look funny sometimes too. Vanilla is timeless! Add some fun-fetti sprinkles inside the cake if you'd like a splash of colour.
I recommend white icing. Again, chocolate icing can look like dirt (or something worse). Pastels or neutrals work well but anything bright can become distracting when on the baby's hands and face.
I recommend a 4 inch cake. That way, when baby is smashing, it looks like they've made quite a mess even if it's just a little bit. A small, 4 inch cake is proportional to the size of a one year old. Larger cakes can look too big beside baby, as well as it looks like they didn't smash very much because there is just too much cake to go through.
Your role as the parents during the cake smash: get your little one to laugh! Sing, dance, make funny faces: whatever it takes! It’s worth acting silly to get those genuine smiles. Often babies want to crawl/walk around, cuddle mom, etc. Because of this, sometimes parents’ clothes get dirty so just be prepared for that possibility :) Also, I often get parents to help baby “smash”, push baby’s hands into the cake, feed a piece of the cake to the baby so they can taste it, etc.
I suggest bringing puffs or another small snack (Cheerios, raisins, smarties) just in case. If baby doesn’t love the cake, we can hide the puffs in/around the cake so they can dig for their familiar snack, and we still get the smash/eating photos.
Please bring the cake out of the fridge at least a few hours before the smash so it is completely thawed beforehand. If it’s still cold from the fridge, the icing and the cake become hard and difficult for baby to break apart, smash, and eat. This is very important!!
Sometimes babies get thirsty from the cake! Feel free to bring a sippy cup with water just in case.
Disclaimer: more often than not, the baby doesn’t love the cake (yes - even if your baby usually loves food, even if your baby usually makes a mess). Sometimes it’s the sticky icing they dislike, or the taste of something new, or being somewhere other than their high chair at home. This happens the majority of the time, but I promise we’ll get fabulous photos even if baby doesn’t love the cake.
When baby is “done”: babies don’t last very long! Sometimes if baby is fussy, they need a quick snuggle and are then ready to get back to the cake and keep smashing. But other babies, if they’re fussy, they can’t come back from that, and they’re done! If that happens, please know that it’s normal and it’s okay, I’ve seen it all, we will get great photos even if they don’t last very long during the smash.
If you have chosen a package that includes a bubble bath, I will have that ready at a warm temperature with Johnson&Johnson bubble bath, and milk, to colour the water. If your baby has sensitive skin, please let me know this in advance, so I can plan accordingly. The bath is a great way to splash around and get clean!
Often parents get cake on their clothes too because if the baby is mobile it’s a lot for the parents to keep putting baby back in front of the cake. You’ll get your workout in!
While you are cleaning baby up, I will take a few photos of the leftover cake when baby is done smashing. Depending on the size of the cake, depending on how much is left, you’re more than welcome to take the leftover cake back home. With Covid, I won’t pack up the cake, but you’re welcome to put it back in the box it came in, or bring a separate container. If you don’t want to take it home, that’s okay! I put the paper in the garbage during cleanup so I can leave the leftover cake on the paper and dispose of it.
I work quickly! I give quick instructions and move from prop to prop quickly. I know the attention spans of kiddos are short but I promise we’ll get great photos even as I work fast.
If this is your first baby, or if you have older children but we are not doing family photos before the smash, please disregard this paragraph. If you have older children (not the baby smashing the cake), and we are adding family photos so your older children will be in the studio during our session, please read as the following applies to you:
You know your children best. For newborn sessions, I always ask the dad to take the older sibling(s) to leave the house after the family/sibling photos, because newborn sessions take a while and it’s not fair to ask a toddler to be quiet and patient in someone else’s home, so dads take the kids home/park/out for a snack. However, with cake smashes, I offer a bit more flexibility with sibling(s), because cake smashes don’t take as long. We’ve got two options:
You know your children best! I would encourage you to make your decision based on what will give us the best cake smash photos. I trust your judgement!