All About Smash Cake Sessions

All About Smash Cake Sessions

A smash cake session is a wonderful way to celebrate your child’s first year (or other important birthday). These sessions create beautiful photos, but there are a number of things to consider so that this session goes well for everyone. 

The Overall Flow of the One-Year Session
Your session ends with the cake smash, so here’s what you can expect for the your photo session: 
-      Sessions are generally 60 minutes and the plan is crafted around your family: the number of family members, sets, and outfit changes
-      The session will begin with milestone photos with a simple backdrop (non-themed) where the goal is to capture the personality of your little one 
-      Next come photos with parents; we aim to get a solo photo with each parent and both parents with birthday kiddo. If you have added on to the session to include a sibling(s) we will have a family portrait along with a sibling portrait (which is the same backdrop as the photos taken with parents).
-      After all family portraits we will move to the one year set. We will take photos both with and without the cake.

Your child “Smashing the cake”
-      Keep in mind that every child is different. We let the little one set the pace for this part of the session. Some kids dig in and destroy the cake right away where others need a few moments and some encouragement to start eating. 
-      The cake smash itself doesn’t take very long. I usually start with about 5 minutes of pictures before we introduce the cake. Then the cake smash takes around 20 minutes or so depending on the little ones interest level. 
-      Consider your own clothing as this can become very messy. I will need your help with keeping your little one on set. Some families will bring a change of clothing for themselves or robe. 
-      One we have gotten photos of your little one eating cake, it’s time for clean-up. Our bubble bath add on is a great add-on for this.

Before the Smash Cake Session
Questions about Choosing a Cake (or going non-traditional)

Do I bring my own cake?
-      If you make or bring your own cake it is best to have a 6 inch, two layer, white cake with buttercream icing
-      Stay away from icing colors like red or brown icing (these tend to look like bodily fluids and we don’t want that!)
-      Remove the cake from the refrigerator 2-3 hours before the session to allow the frosting to come to room temperature 

Can I buy a cake from you?
-      If you would like my baker to make the cake, please place the order no later than one week prior to the smash. For the standard buttercream cake, you can contact me for the order. For a more elaborate cake, I will give you the contact details for the cake designer so you can speak directly with them. 
-      If you choose to have my baker make the cake, I will pick it up the morning or our session and will be ready in studio for you when you arrive 

What If we want to do something other than cake?
-      I am open to families bringing their own cake or favorite food to smash
-      Ideas for things to "smash" include cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes
-      Want a non-cake idea, think of Taco Smash, Spaghetti Smash, Pancake Smash or Watermelon Smash

Tips for clothing choices
-      Most families have two outfits total, first is for the milestone posed photos and is also same as family photos and the second is for the smash portion
-      Choose the theme or color of your little one’s cake smash first, and then you can choose the outfit
-      For the family photos, have everyone wear a version of the same color and mix solids and patterns
o  For example, one person can wear a pattern, such as stripes, and another person would wear a solid that is the color of the stripes. Another family member could wear another pattern, for example, subtle polka dots with those colors, and perhaps another main color that is the main color of the 4th family members outfit. Check out this post for more information on choosing family photos:

-      For the cake smash outfit: 
o  Boys tend to wear jeans with or without suspenders or a diaper cover and/or bow tie 
o  Girls wear outfits tutu, ruffle romper, boho outfits, and diaper cover and pearls

What to bring to the session
-      Little one’s milestone outfit 
-      Family outfits for the milestone photos
-      Smash cake outfit 
-      Backup outfit (some little ones drool at this age and is always good to have a backup if this is the case)
-      Change of clothing for parents 
-      Change of clothes for little one to go home in
-      Diapers 
-      Sippy cup to help wash down the cake 
-      Favorite snacks (puffs or cheerios) it helps if they don't like the cake as we will hide their favorite snacks in the back of the cake 

Tips for a successful milestone and cake smash session
-      It’s best to bring a baby that is well rested; first thing in the morning or right after their nap usually works well
-      Make sure baby is well fed prior to your session because babies usually eat little to none of the cake. Most love to smear the cake and play with it. If your little one doesn’t have enough food in their tummy they tend to be crabby
-      If you suspect baby might be teething (as a lot of them are at this age), consider giving a pain reliever about 30 minutes before your session
-      It is important to remember little ones can sense their parents frustration. Some children don't like to get messy, and some kids will not smash a cake and that is okay, it is the story to tell them when they are older. We will get adorable pictures regardless

Final thoughts about your Smash Cake Session
-      Each little one is unique and at different stages in their development. Even the happiest babies can have an “off day.” Some kiddos don’t like cake. Some kiddos don’t like being messy. Some kiddos don’t like new people or get overwhelmed in my studio. Knowing that tiny humans have an array of reactions when working with them, I can assure you that I will try my very best to make them feel comfortable and take extra time with them to get to know me if I need to
-      My goal for one year sessions are to capturing your kiddos personality at this stage in their life
-      If your little one is sick, it is best to skip session and reschedule. Based on the volume of babies and children I see in studio I ask that kiddos are healthy. Sick kiddos tend to not have fun in session and prefer to see them once they are healed and healthy again

Bubble Bath Add on 
-      Your kiddo will likely be messy after the cake smash so a fun way to clean up is with our bubble bath add on
-      Following the cake smash we will scoop up the remaining pieces of cake and bring in a white wash bin with soapy water and essential oils of lavender
-      In the bath, your kiddo can play, smile, and splash, while getting all clean before the ride home
-      An alternative to the bubble bath is a milk citrus bath 

Have other questions we didn’t answer? Send me an email at


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