Use these tips for an easy session with great results

Quick notes:

  • Think creatively when choosing locations

  • Make clean up easy

  • Get family members in on the fun — but behind the camera

Baby’s first birthday is a special time. They’ve lived a year of life with a host of colorful, dynamic changes. There were tummy rolls, first steps, and sleeping through the night. Babbles and first words. Along with it, you’ve lived a year of their life with a lot of sweet moments and, likely, your fair share of parenting lessons.

All of these firsts can be most poignantly remembered at baby’s first birthday. The highlight of this celebration is the time when the new one-year-old is able to enjoy cake. In recent years, babies get to enjoy their own smaller and adorable birthday cake, called a smash cake – that they’re allowed to smash! The tradition has become such a well-regarded event that a lot of parents commission a photo session to celebrate.

If you’re considering a do-it-yourself baby cake smash photo session, there are some tips and tricks that will make the pictures turn out especially well. If everything works well, they’ll be photos you’ll remember for the rest of your child’s life.

High chairs are optional


While you might picture a high chair as the center of baby photos, that’s not the only option. Babies can also be placed on the floor, outside on the grass, or almost anywhere else that you think could work. You can place them in front of a customized, colorful background too. One benefit of this approach is that cake and icing can get into a lot of unexpected places that make for adorable photos. Think of cuteness overload that comes from icing between a set of baby toes or on a chubby baby knee.

Make clean up easy

You might be looking forward to the shoot, but you might not be looking forward to the clean up afterward. If you’re not going to use a high chair, you’re likely to have an even larger mess on your hands.

There are a couple of tricks you can use to manage the mess. Consider staging the photoshoot outside where you can hose things down afterward. You can also stage it on a large piece of washable fabric or paper that won’t soak through, or on a piece of plastic (just like drop cloths when you’re painting).

Involve family members on the other side of the camera

It is a challenge to grab baby’s attention at just the right time and in the right direction for the perfect photo. This is one situation where friends or relatives can be a great help. If you station the right, baby smile-inducing person just behind where the photographer is sitting, the baby will hopefully watch them and respond in a way that makes for a great photo. It helps if this person is especially silly or someone that is able to connect really well with your little one.

Think of cuteness overload that comes from icing between a set of baby toes or on a chubby baby knee.

Give considerable thought to props

Lots of people want to add balloons, glitter, or other props to their shoot. However, this is one case where fewer props might be a better, simpler choice.

The baby and the cake should be the star of the show. If you decide to add too much else, keep things minimal — and washable. Maybe there is a teething rattle, a favorite stuffy or a well-worn blanket that you want to include in the shot for sentimental reasons. By all means — go for it. Just remember that this is one photoshoot where things are going to get messy fast. It’s also likely to be colorful enough on its own that extra items clutter your image rather than create interest for the viewer.

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