Do you want an easy and stress-free cake smash photo session?

Then these tips are for you whether you are DIYing it yourself or hiring a professional cake smash photographer (like me! *wink*) As a Chattanooga cake smash photographer, I've photographed a lot of first birthday cake smash sessions and implementing these 6 tips are the best way to ensure a successful cake smash.

1yo girl eats from a naked cake at a boho groovy themed cake smash session in studio

Tip 1: Introduce cake and icing to your baby before the session.

Giving your baby a chance to try cake and icing at home helps in 2 ways! First, it gives them a chance to try something new in a comfortable environment with low stress. A photo session can be overwhelming for a one-year-old anyway and being expected to try a new food at the same time might be too much for them. Second, some babies just don't like cake and icing or don't like the feeling of being "dirty" with all the icing on their hands! It could also be a texture that your baby might not enjoy and that's ok! By trying it ahead of time, you know what to expect when you get to your photo session or can pivot to something different instead!

If your baby doesn't like icing, consider a naked cake or a different type of treat for their session. If your child enjoyed their cake at home, then you can be pretty confident that they will have a blast at their first birthday cake smash session. You know your baby best and making the experience as easy for your child as possible will make for the best photos!

top down view of a 1 year old girl squishing her hands into a smash cake on a crochet rug
little girl in white lace romper eats cake at her first birthday cake smash session

Tip 2: Schedule your session around your child's nap time.

You want your little one to be in the best mood! After a nap and a little snack is the perfect time for photo sessions. Your baby is rested and not too hungry but still has room for some cake. A studio cake smash session is a good option because you can schedule the session at the time that is best for your child. But if you have your heart set on outdoors, choose a location with lots of shade or adjust your baby's schedule if needed in order to take advantage of that beautiful golden hour lighting right before sunset.

Tip 3: Dress your child in an outfit you don't mind getting dirty.

This one goes for you too, Mama! At a particularly successful cake smash, everyone usually gets a little icing on them at the very least, photographer included. If you have a special outfit that you want your child to wear but don't want to risk getting cake on it, consider planning 2 outfits for your session! As a cake smash photographer, I always plan to get photos of my little clients looking cute with their chosen theme before we bring out the cake so it is easy for Mom or Dad to change outfits real quick before we start the cake-smashing portion of the session if needed.

close up of baby girl's hand covered in cake and icing at her first birthday cake smash studio session
close up of mom kissing her baby girl's cheek which is covered in icing from a cake smash session

Tip 4: Bring a change of clothes for after!

This is also a tip for you as well! I love getting icing kissy faces with Mom and/or Dad at the end if they're willing and if they don't have cake on them by that point, they usually do after. I also suggest bringing a plastic baggie to put the cake clothes in to take home so the mess stays contained. It also doesn't hurt to bring extra wipes as well. I always provide extra wipes, baggies, and paper towels for my sessions but I'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Since my studio is in my home, my clients also have access to the guest bathroom if they need to put their little one in the bathtub before they go. I love it when my clients make themselves at home with me!

a white naked cake decorated with daisies on a boho groovy backdrop for a first birthday cake smash session

Tip 5: Select the right cake.

The best smash cakes are soft and easy to, well, smash. Also, make sure you're choosing the right cake for your child's age and dietary restrictions, if any. If you're feeling up to it, you can bake your own cake or order one from a bakery. As a Chattanooga cake smash photographer, I have several local bakeries to recommend to my clients. The cake from this session was made by my favorite grocery store, Publix.

Lastly, avoid decorating the cake with any small or hard decorations that could be a choking hazard. Or if needed, we can always remove some of the decorations before we let your baby loose on it but after we get photos of the beautiful cake. I like to get photos of the cake by itself both before and after it has been smashed.

baby girl in white uses icing covered hands to put on daisy flower sunglasses

Tip 6: Bring extra little snacks your baby loves in case we need to "fake it".

This is one of my favorite tricks. I've only needed to use it a couple of times but in the event your baby isn't interested in smashing or eating their cake, I place their favorite little snacks on the back of the cake so that the photos look like they are eating cake, even if they aren't. The best snacks are the little fruit-flavored puffs or yogurt melts or even Cheerios!

Bonus tip: have fun!

 The cake smash is a celebration of your child's first birthday, so don't stress too much about getting the perfect shot. Don't worry about the mess and just enjoy the moment. Whatever happens during your child's first birthday cake smash photo session will be a memory you can look back on and laugh for years to come.

1yo and 2yo sisters dressed in white lace outfits eat from a smashed cake on a boho groovy studio set for cake smash

Lastly, let them eat cake!

And let me photograph it! If you want more information about how I photograph first birthday cake smash sessions, check out my Cake Smash page! Or feel free to fill out the contact form below! And keep scrolling for more photos from this groovy boho first birthday cake smash!

close up of one year old girl with arms stretched out and mouth wide open to grab her smash cake
1 year old girl in white lace romper sits on crochet rug with a giant peace sign and house plants for milestone session
baby girl sitting on crochet rug for a boho groovy themed cake smash session
clapping one year old sits in a boho groovy themed backdrop for studio photo session
wide shot of 1yo girl eating from a naked smash cake in studio with a boho theme
excited baby girl sits with her daisy naked cake for boho groovy cake smash studio session in Chattanooga
1yo girl checks out her daisy decorated naked smash cake for boho themed session
top down view of 1yo girl reaching out to touch her naked smash cake for boho birthday theme photo session
baby girl scrunches up her face after tasting her smash cake for first birthday cake smash photos
one year old girl enjoys her groovy boho cake smash photo session in Chattanooga TN.
1 year old girl holds her arms out and open with a huge smile as she reaches toward a daisy decorated naked smash cake
sweet girl looks serious as she grips the sides of her white naked smash cake decorated with daisy flowers
little girl with icing covered hands looks down at the white smash cake in front of her
baby girl is all smiles as she begins to eat her white smash cake for her boho groove themed photo session
1 year old girl lifts up her entire smash cake to take a big bite at her cake smash photo session
1 year old girl holds her white smash cake in her lap during her boho groovy cake smash studio session in Chattanooga
baby girl uses 2 hands to shove cake in her mouth from her smash cake sitting in her lap
little girl has both hands in her smash cake as she looks up with the biggest smile for first birthday photos
1 year old girl with icing covered hands laughs as she eats from a white cake in front of her
top down view of baby girl with both hands on top of her smash cake on a crochet rug
pinterest pin graphic for tips for a successful first birthday cake smash photo sessionby chattanooga photographer