Our Girl's Cake Smash & Splash with Balloons and Blush Floral Accents + Tips for the Perfect Studio Cake Smash

My daughter just turned one! It’s been an amazing but crazy year, which we capped off with this cake smash and an epic first birthday party (blog post coming soon).

cake smash

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Why I opted for a professional studio cake smash session this time

When my son turned one I did a cake smash and splash at home with the help of a masters photography student. I really enjoyed planning and executing and was thrilled with the resulting photos. I’ve since had at least 100 moms tell me that they followed my tips for a DIY smash and loved the results too.

Fast forward four years… I now have two kids and am busier than ever. I just didn’t have the headspace to plan the shoot that I wanted. Plus with four more years of creating blog and Instagram content (follow me if you aren’t already), I’m even more acutely aware of the importance of great lighting.

I chose to work with Lucian Golcman for three reasons — (a) I’ve seen countless members of my NYC Moms group recommend her, (b) I pored over her work and loved her creativity and flawless crisp photos (check out how creamy the baby’s skin looks), and (c) when I spoke with her on the phone we jived, and I felt I could trust her to execute my glimmer of a vision. I think the results speak for themselves! Scroll on and comment below to let me know your thoughts on the photos!

The setup and details

i love a clean setup with lots of texture. Luciana and I looked at many photos, identified the features that we like and she came up with this gorgeous custom setup! I didn’t want a lot of color, so we went with white balloons, pops of blush and green from the flowers and a vine trellis overhead. Luciana messaged me the night before that her daughter said it’s the most beautiful and perfect set ever, and I agree!

cake smash

Photographer: Luciana Golcman (exclusive discount)

Cake: Mini Melanie (she made the cake for my son’s cake smash too)

Cake topper: similar

Flowers: similar

Romper and pearl headband / tieback: Sew Trendy Newborns (exclusive discount)

Bow headband: click here

My dress: includied here

Tub: Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond

Bath toys: yellow duck (we also considered a pink duck), white boat


girl cake smash

Fun with cake

The exit

Post smash splash

Mommy and me

It didn’t occur to me that I’d be in the photos til 20 minutes before I had to leave the house, but I found the perfect dress in my closet!

Our photographer’s tips for achieving the perfect cake smash

A great photo shoot is an investment. Most important is to find the photographer that matches your style and needs. Here are some tops from Luciana to help you make the most of your session and get those amazing photos!

Choosing your cake smash theme

  1. Think Timeless. You will want to treasure these images forever so they should always look beautiful and fresh. Ask yourself whether you will still love photos in the theme in 10 years. Boho, flowers, balloons, and nature are always classic. PJ Masks, on the other hand, will likely look dated. Of course if a theme is meaningful to you, that is what matters, regardless of what others might think.

  2. Brainstorm with your photographer. Discuss your likes and dislikes. Make your vision clear by sharing a Pinterest board or your favorite images from the photographer’s portfolio. Get on the same page and then leave it to them to make it perfect.

Scheduling and logistics

Let your baby shine!

  1. Schedule for when your baby is likely to be happiest. If the star of the show is cranky you won’t have the best experience. Aim to schedule a shoot right after baby wakes up from their nap and had a light meal. You don’t want the baby to be hungry - nor do you want the baby to be extra full. After all, they should have some space in their tummy for the desert!

  2. Arrive ready for action. Be sure to try the outfits in advance and make any adjustments before the shoot (for this shoot, the baby’s romper was big so Miriam pinned the back in advance). The more ready you are, the less disruptions you will have before we get started.

  3. Stick to the routine. Babies thrive on routine, so try to disrupt baby’s regular routine as little as possible on the day of the shoot.

  4. Prep the baby. If your baby is not used to eating with their hands, a few weeks before the shoot is the perfect time to get them started. Give them some age appropriate foods to eat/play with and also some mushy textures to touch (mashed avocado, applesauce, or even play doh - always supervised, of course!).

Choosing Baby’s Wardrobe

  1. Expose those rolls. Before you know it, baby will be walking, running, jumping and probably slimming down. And how adorable are baby rolls??? And baby feet? So make sure to show some skin!

  2. Outfits (see below for some shoppable images)
    Girls look so dainty in rompers or tutus. Accessorizing is always cute (headbands are the sweetest!) but try not to go overboard.
    Boys look really cute in jeans or cargo shorts and no shirt. Bow ties and suspenders are also great accessories.

  3. Limit Wardrobe Changes. Babies don’t love being changed, so don’t plan for too many outfits. If the family will be involved it’s OK to have separate outfits to wear with the family and for the smash, but I wouldn’t suggest more than two.

Family Wardrobe

For the family, try to coordinate the outfits in color and style. They don’t need to be matchy-matchy but it’s always nice if the colors of the outfits complement the colors of the setup we created.

Avoid these common mistakes

  1. Sharing anxious cues. Some parents can get very anxious before a shoot and babies can sense the anxiety. An anxious parent makes for an anxious and more clingy baby. So always try to relax and trust the professional. Call or e-mail them as many times as you need before the day of the shoot - but when the day comes just try to relax.

  2. Being overly involved. Everyone knows that you are the best at getting your baby to smile. But every photographer has his or her techniques. Unless the photographer is asking for your help, your job is to sit back and relax. If everyone is trying to get baby to smile and look at the same time, it makes the photographer’s job much harder. The last thing that you want is for your child to get overwhelmed by directions from multiple people.

  3. Bringing the entire crew. While the entire family would love to attend the shoot and watch such an endearing moment, babies get distracted easily. So if Grandma, grandpa, aunt Judy, uncle John and puppy Rex are in the crowd, the baby might not even notice the cake!

Have Fun!

The shoot is a very fun experience so let’s have some fun! Leave all stress and anxiety out the door and come enjoy the cuteness of your baby having their first taste of a treat.

Miriam’s Tips

After planning and executing my now four year old’s DIY cake smash, I compiled tips to help other moms. Most of the tips apply to a DIY or professional shoot, so be sure to read them regardless of which option you choose!

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