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Cake smashes for first birthdays have become a big thing because they are absolutely adorable! When my son was 9 months old I booked ours with a photographer whom a friend recommended. I liked that she provided the cake, backdrop and all props so that I wouldn't have to do any planning. Less than two weeks before our scheduled shoot she asked to reschedule. I couldn't find another date that worked for us so I decided to do it on my own with the help of a friend who is studying photography. It ended up being a lot of fun and much less work than I anticipated. Plus doing it at home meant less stress (but more mess) on the day of the shoot.
I love how the photos turned out and hope that you enjoy them too!
If you are planning your own shoot you may be interested in the tips interspersed throughout the post.
Create a Pinterest Inspiration Board
Click here to see mine.
I scoped out a bunch of cakes on Pinterest and found one similar to what I wanted. I sent the photo to Mini Melanie and asked her to create it with some minor modifications. She was a complete pleasure to work with and even had the cake hand delivered to me.
I asked her to put the cake on a white disk so that it would blend in with my cake stand.
I went with a buttercream cake because it seemed slightly more healthful than other options and I thought that my baby would make more of a mess of it than he would with other options, and I was going for a mess.
I took the cake out of the refrigerator only 30 minutes before and it ended up being a little hard, so there wasn't much "smashing" of the cake. I would recommend taking it out at least an hour before your shoot.
Mini Melanie advised me to make sure that my cake stand would be big enough to accommodate the cake and the disk that it sits on. The disk should be larger than the cake to allow you to transfer the cake from the box to the cake stand . If the cake stand 's edge is level (no upward turning edge) then you don't have to worry about this. You can ask your baker for dimensions of the disk. I had a six inch cake and used an eight inch cake stand . If you don't own a cake stand that works for your cake smash, click here for a collection of nice and affordable stands. If you are last minute like me, most of these cake stands will be delivered quickly.
Baby Outfit and Hat
I stopped at my local party shop the evening before to see the balloon options. They had a ton of balloon options but only cheesy overpriced weights, so I used pieces from this train set as weights.
You will want to cover your floors for a few reasons:
I'm always amazed by how much mess of a mess my son can create. He did make a mess... But so did I by incorporating bubbles and knocking over the bottle. If I was doing it over I would skip the bubbles -- I mean the blowing bubbles, I would definitely keep the bubble bath. There is also no way that I would have given him a bath on his floor and encouraged him to splash without a waterproof floordrop.
My hardwood floors didn't work with the clean white look that I was trying to achieve.
I have high gloss hardwood floors and was afraid of glare.
I've seen people just drop a cloth or tarp and end up with creases and air bubbles showing in the photos. I bought this floordrop, which can also be used as a backdrop. Alternatively, you could use seamless paper or put an acrylic or plexiglass sheet over a sheet.
One thing that I wish I had done is a better job of anchoring the floordrop to the floor and wall. I had to step onto the floordrop a few times and must have moved it away from the wall a drop. You can see a gap between the floordrop and wall in some of the photos. If I had the patience I would have photoshopped that so you wouldn't see it.
When I was about 36 weeks pregnant, I hand painted an entire wall of my son's nursery with these silver stars. It was a labor of love (emphasis on labor - at the midway point I may have cursed myself and my high ceilings and regretted the project). It turned out gorgeous and I was glad to have an opportunity to incorporate the wall into the photos. If you have a wall that you love in a well-lit area of your house, use that. Otherwise, you can buy a back drop here (same brand that I used for my floordrop).
Second Set of Hands
There is no way that I could have managed the entire shoot on my own. I left the photo taking to my photographer friend and I focussed on keeping my son happy and in frame. I did snap one photo with my camera and it came out great. If you have a good camera and a partner to help you with the shoot you can do it on your own without the help of a professional.
Don't forget before and after photos of the cake and your setup. And keep shooting, grumpy and teary faces can be cute too. I was hoping to get photos of the mess from the cake, but my son didn't make that much of a mess. I confess to swiping some icing across his face!
Things definitely won't go as planned (you already know that after a year of parenting). Just go with it. I was sure that my son who goes crazy for food and is also really easygoing would be into the cake. He wasn't . He did stuff two giant handfuls into his mouth. When I tried to encourage him to have some more he started crying. The cake wasn't quite smashed but we moved onto the bath.
I hope that this was inspirational and helpful! Feel free to ask me questions in the comments.