Tips for making your baby's cake smash a smashing success!
Most of my cake smash clients have never been a part of a cake smash photo session before so they're not completely sure what to expect. Here's some information and tips of what to expect and do in order to make your baby's cake smash session as successful as possible. Some clients choose for me to provide the cake for their session, or they choose to provide it themselves. Either is fine, but if you choose to provide it ourself make sure to get buttercream or whipped frosting, NOT fondant. While very pretty, fondant doesn't get messy since its hard and babies can't smash it.It can also be a choking hazard. If you provide the cake yourself stay away from anything chocolate. Once smashed it looks exactly like you think it would...yuck! While on the subject on what to stay away from I would avoid any significant amount of black, dark purples, etc. I have had many sessions where it stained the baby's skin for a few days (thanks to the dark food coloring). Accents of these colors are fine, just not the main source.
As far as texture and taste you would think that oh my goodness its squishy and sugar, my baby will love it and dig right in! Think again...While we know the taste and feel of cake babies don't and it's an entirely new thing to them. There are a good amount of babies who love the cake right away, but there are also a lot of babies who hate it and cry once the cake comes out and they feel the texture of it. I don't say this to discourage you, just to prepare you of the possibilities. The best way to prepare your baby for their cake smash is to give them a cupcake, mashed potatoes, anything of a similar texture and let them eat it with their hands a week or so before their session over a couple of different days. That way they are already somewhat familiar with the taste and texture by the time their session is here. You're probably thinking "What?! She wants me to give my baby that much sugar?!". No worries, the actual amount your baby will consume is probably very little. They play with it more than anything.
Next lets move on to expectations. As mentioned above some babies hate the feeling of cake so I would expect some push back on that. Also remember that they're in a new environment so they may want to hold onto mom a tad more than usual. I have lots of tricks to help with this and I let the babies get to know me some and become comfortable with me before I plop them down and start snapping away. It's helpful that along with mom, either dad, grandma, auntie etc come along to have an additional helping hand. It can be difficult with just one person and I can only help so much since I need to have my camera up and ready. It's okay if only one person can come, its just recommended that there are two. It is not recommended more than two people come, as then the baby starts to get distracted. Who ever comes dress comfy and in something that you don't mind getting messy. Yup, bet you didn't expect that, but baby isn't the only one who gets messy! Babies are active and lets be honest they don't sit in one spot for too long, so you'll be picking them up and sitting them back into place more than once.
If baby just isn't having it don't worry. Like I mentioned above I have many tricks to help out. Yes I do sometimes get a fair amount of crying pics, but I also get LOTS of happy smiles as well. Of course I can't guarantee it will be one way or the other because baby is boss. At the beginning of the session I will take regular first birthday photos, then switch to the cake smash photo, then lastly the bath. All three sections of photos will be against the same set up/background. If you wish, you're more than welcome to bring a separate outfit for the first birthday pics than the cake smash pics and change your baby in between. This is of course if you don't choose an outfit from my client collection. If you wish for me to provide an outfit please make sure to discuss it with me before hand. While the bath photos are done right in the middle of the set up I do have an actual bathroom with a tub that you are welcome to fully clean baby in before you leave if needed. Just don't forget to bring a clean extra pair of clothes and a towel for your baby.
I just mentioned outfits a moment ago. If you are bringing the outfit for your baby please make sure to try it on before hand. As a parent I am sure you know just because it says a certain size doesn't mean it is going to fit that size. Make sure the baby can move around in it without pants sliding down or straps falling as well. For little girls (and sometimes boys depending on the outfit), make sure to bring a diaper cover. I can't tell you the amount of times a sweet baby girl has shown up in my studio without a diaper cover and her diaper showed in many photos. Along with outfits something to think about is hair. Chances are with it being first birthday photos that sweet baby hasn't gotten their haircut yet. Which is absolutely fine! Just some things to think about. Babies tend to have that fine hair that covers their eyes. I am certain you don't want hair coving their eyes in their photos. My suggestion for a little girl is to pin it back. An elastic head band is fine, but be prepared to fix it many times. I speak from experience, ha! As far as little boys if you can style their hair with a tad bit of gel or hairspray. Just enough to keep it from their eyes so that they can see and so the session doesn't have to keep being stopped to fix hair and potentially upset baby from being messed with.
When scheduling your session make sure to schedule it NOT at baby nap time. Trust me it won't turn out well. Everyone is cranky when tired. Usually I schedule cake smash sessions in the morning before typical nap times. As far as what to do before hand, make sure your baby isn't full, but also not hungry. A light snack before hand is great. Make sure yo bring something for baby to drink as well. They do get thirsty. If you can leave siblings at home. If you don't have any other choice it's fine, but I've found that it can be very distracting for baby.
So some things to remember
-Give baby a cupcake, mashed potatoes, something of that texture a couple times before the session and let them eat it with their hands
-Try on that outfit before the session
-Do what you can to get hair out of eyes
-Bring an extra pair of clothes for baby and a towel to dry them off with
-Bring something to drink for baby and a light snack that we can stick in the back of the cake to bribe them if needed (trust me). Some suggestions are yogurt bites, puffs, animal crackers etc.
- Diaper cover, diaper cover, diaper cover
- Limit to not more than 2 additional attendees (you and someone else) to the session besides the baby if possible.
No matter how your baby reacts the session is going to be GREAT! What a perfect way to capture your baby turning one year old and have memories to cherish forever. If you have any question or concerns please feel free to contact me. I look forward to your baby's cake smash session and I thank you for choosing me to be the photographer to capture such a special time in your family's life!