If your baby will be turning one in a few short months, you might be starting to plan their 1st birthday photo shoot. Your little on has changed so much during their precious first year that you want to celebrate with this wonderful milestone in a truly special and lasting way. As a specialist cake smash photographer, I have years of experience in creating magical first birthday photos for my clients. Here are some of my top tips to help you plan and enjoy your baby's special day.
Research Your Photographer!
Pick a great cake smash photographer! Researching your photographer and knowing exactly what to expect and what is included in your cake smash package is the most important tip I can give. All photographers arrange their packages and pricing differently, so when you find a photographer whose work you love, get in touch and take time to find out what they offer. Many professional photographers will take the time to phone you, rather than send a stock email response - this is a good sign! It means that your photographer wants to get to know you and check that you are a good fit for each other. It's also so much better to ask and answer key questions in person rather than via email.
When talking to a prospective cake smash photographer, be sure to ask them about their experience - do they specialise in 1st birthday cake smash photo shoots? There is an art to creating beautiful cake smash themes and to capturing your baby at their best. What's included in the package? Some photographers don't include decorations, outfits or the cake and ask that you bring your own. This can suit smaller budgets but also affects the professional look of the resulting photos. Most specialist cake smash photographers prefer to have an artistic overview of the entire project and include all the décor, the cake and often the outfit, as I do. This ensures that the end result is perfectly co-ordinated and up to my high standards each and every time. It also means that you don't need to worry about a thing - pick your cake smash theme and I'll do the rest!
Don't leave it until the last minute, book ahead!
Most popular first birthday Cake Smash photographers get booked up several months in advance, so it's best not to leave booking your photo shoot until the last minute. That first year goes so quickly and it can feel weird thinking about your baby's 1st birthday photo shoot when they are only 8 or 9 months old, but that's when you should start looking for your photographer! When you schedule your session, think about whether you would like to have the photo shoot a few weeks before your baby's 1st birthday so that you have the finished images back in time for the big day (always check with your photographer what their gallery turnaround time is), or whether you would prefer to include the cake smash photo shoot in the actual celebrations, perhaps booking in for your little one's birthday itself. If you are looking for a particular date, e.g. your baby's birthday for their photo shoot, it's especially important to book several months in advance.
Choose a great theme!
A quick Google or Pinterest search reveals an endless choice of cake smash themes! It can be a bit overwhelming, so I suggest thinking of an idea or colour scheme before you look for inspiration just to narrow it down a bit. I post most of my recent sessions on my Instagram and website, so they are great places to look for ideas. You might decide to pick a colour or colours and go from there, or maybe something to match the theme of your baby's nursery or something they show an interest in. There are also lots of great plays on the work 'ONE' such as Mr ONE-derful and ONE in a Million. If you'd like more help deciding on a theme, I've written a recent blog on Choosing the Perfect Cake Smash Theme.
Let your baby get messy beforehand
If your baby has never experienced messy play with food, then they are less likely to enjoy the experience of playing with and eating their cake. Baby led weaning is the perfect preparation for a cake smash session and babies who are used to helping themselves to food tend to dive straight in! If your little one isn't used to this however, it's easy to give them some experience beforehand which will help them to enjoy the experience on the day. Let your baby play with and explore some messy food such as mashed potato. This will help them get used to the texture on their fingers which some babies find strange at first. I also recommend giving your baby a cupcake to eat (and play with) a few days before your photo shoot so that they can get used to the sweetness and texture of the icing. A little bit of preparation beforehand will hell a lot on the day!
What to bring with you to your cake smash photo shoot
Being well prepared will help your session to go more smoothly and help your peace of mind. I supply everything you need for your session including a beautiful cake, outfit, towels, bubble bath and decorations, however there are some essentials that I recommend you bring along to your session. My top suggestions for what to bring with you are;
- A change of clothes (for yourself and your baby) to go home in if necessary. Things can get very sticky and wet (from lots of lovely splashing in the tub) and you will at some point need to pick up your sticky baby!
- A bag for cakey clothes and accessories
- Favourite snacks (these can be hidden in the cake for your baby to find)
- A drink for your baby (smashing can be thirsty work)
- A favourite toy that makes them laugh (it's lovely for your baby to have a familiar toy in the studio)
- An extra pair of hands (it's great to have 2 adults available)
Have realistic expectations
It's important to remember that at the age of around 10-12 months, babies have an attention span of just a minute or two! That's why we keep Cake Smash photo shoots fast paced and varied with lots of new activities for your baby to enjoy. We'll play with the ONE letters, roll a toy, sit in a crate, play with balloons, explore the cake, bash with a spoon, splash in the bath etc. to keep your baby's interest and capture all their adorable expressions. Most babies do not sit for long periods and eat their cake! Any left over cake is yours to take home and enjoy with a cup of tea after the session, so please do not be disappointed if your baby does not eat or smash it all. Just a little bit of nibbling and playing with the cake is all I need to capture those special birthday photographs.
Follow the photographer's lead
When you choose a specialist cake smash photographer (like me), they will have hours of experience photographing babies and will know exactly how to get the best out of your session. Trust them and follow any directions or suggestions they make during the session. A good photographer will guide you through your session and ensure that it is the very best experience for you and your baby.
Put your phone away
It may seem obvious, but you are employing a photographer to create beautiful professional images of your baby's cake smash, so there is no need to try to capture it yourself as well. I love to provide selfie and photo opportunities for my clients and I love when you share your moments on social media! Many families like to take a photo of the welcome board and the set when they come into the studio, or a snap of their baby dressed in their outfit - these a beautiful memories of your special day! Once we start the photo shoot though, I encourage you to put your camera/ phone away and enjoy the experience, knowing that it is all being professionally captured for you.
Relax, enjoy your baby and eat cake!
Again, you have employed a professional photographer to do the hard work so that you don't have to! I will guide you through your session and take care of everything so that you can enjoy the experience with your baby. At one point during the session I usually encourage parents to join their baby on set and eat some cake with them for a few behind the scenes images and video clips. These make a lovely addition to your gallery and your baby will love to look back on the fun you had together!
Print and display your photographs in your home
Once you receive you finished images, be sure to print and display them in your home. Many of my clients choose to display their photographs in an album or photobook which is a lovely way to tell the story of your session and include all the cute expressions and details that make your baby unique. Others love to choose a few favourites to put on the wall in their baby's nursery or around the house. If you need help deciding how to display your cake smash photographs I am always happy to help with ideas! Whatever you choose to do, please don't leave them on the USB to be lost in time to technology changes.
I hope you've found these tips for a great cake smash photo shoot experience helpful. If you're looking for a specialist cake smash photographer in Salisbury, Wiltshire or the surrounding areas do get in touch. To find out more about our cake smash and splash 1st birthday photo shoots please get in touch, I would be delighted to chat!