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Smash Cake Portraits | Indianapolis Photographer

I’ve done so many cake smash portrait sessions over the last twelve years and every time I do one, I think “hey, I should put together a ‘things you should know about your cake smash portrait session’ post.” And I’ve been doing a lot of baby’s first birthday portrait sessions with cake smashes recently, so it seems there’s no time like the present.  Keep scrolling for tips and tricks to make the most of your baby’s first birthday cake smash session.


1. Your baby might not like the cake. I know this might sound a little nutty. Who doesn’t like cake and frosting? Your baby, quite possibly! For some babies, the cake smash portrait session is the very first time they’ll taste a sweet treat, and they don’t always like it, don’t always know what to think about it. Sometimes they don’t even know what to do with the cake. Sometimes they don’t like the way the sticky frosting feels on their fingers. Sometimes they cry and try to get away. A baby with a cake is not like a dog with a bone. Every dog I’ve ever met likes bones. No questions asked, no quibbling over what flavor it is or how messy it is. Dogs just like bones. Period. Babies and birthday cakes – maybe yes, maybe no. I recommend you have a “practice” cake smash session at home. Make a little cake, let your baby dig in, experience the taste, the feel, the texture. You’re more likely to have a successful smash cake session if you have a dry run at home first.


2. Skip the fondant and the buttercream frosting for your baby’s cake smash session. Choose the fluffier frosting. It’s easier to dig into and easier to smear around on your baby’s face. Also, make sure your baby’s birthday cake is room temperature. Cold frosting is harder to break into.
3. Bring a snack your baby is familiar with and enjoys. Cheerios are great. Sometimes babies are not interested in the cake, but we can push a few Cheerios into the cake and the baby will dig into the cake to try to get to those. It works. We still get the smash cake pictures of baby digging into the cake, and it can be our little secret that the baby was going for the Cheerios and not for the cake itself.

4. Your baby might not smile while he’s eating his cake. Be prepared for this and be okay with this. One year old photo sessions can be tough. Your baby is likely starting to experience some separation anxiety and might be a bit shy and apprehensive. Remember that this portrait session is not about photographing big, cheesy smiles. It’s about photographing who your baby is at one year old. And that person might be wide-eyed, a little shy and apprehensive. He might not smile. Quite frankly I’m a sucker for the wide-eyed, apprehensive look. Not to mention there’s nothing inherently funny about a cake. It tastes good. But even when I eat a piece of cake, I’m don’t smile while I’m eating it. I just eat it. So let your baby off the hook, and accept the possibility that he might not smile during this session. In fact, your baby might cry cry cry during his cake smash session, and those portraits are memorable and fantastic as well.



5. Best cake for your baby’s cake smash session is an 8 or 9 inch round double layered cake. Forget about a stand. When there’s a cake stand involved, the baby usually knocks the cake over in the first 30 seconds and ends up totally ruining the cake. Which is fine too. After all, it is called a “cake smash” session. But it’s nice to get a few photographs of your baby and the beautiful cake before she smashes it.

Ready to schedule your cake smash session at our Indianapolis-area portrait studio? Click here to contact Leah.

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Indianapolis Newborn Photographer