Cake Smash Photography |First Birthday Photoshoots

Celebrating your little one’s first birthday is a special time for many families. You did it. You both made it through the first year– and look how much your baby has changed! One of my favorite ways to help families celebrate? With a first birthday cake smash photography session of course!

If you scheduled a first birthday photo session that will include family and siblings, we will take the family and sibling portraits at the beginning of your session.

First birthday portrait including family and dogs / pets during his first birthday photoshoot with Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

After we capture those portraits, we will quickly move on to the first birthday portraits without the cake. For these, we use props like a vintage high chair, curbed chair, or themed portraits.

happy first birthday girl on a white vintage high chair / cream vintage high chair decorated with pink flowers during her first birthday photoshoot with Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Happy first birthday girl on a cream curved wooden chair during her first birthday photoshoot by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
First birthday girl with mermaid props during her mermaid themed first birthday photoshoot with
Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

Finally, we let your baby dig in for the cake smash!

Cakes smash photoshoots are a fun and playful way to capture first birthday portraits. They so perfectly represent your baby’s unique personality and traits, are a blast for everyone, and always yield amazing candid photos you’ll treasure for years to come.

What is a cake smash session?

A cake smash photography (or smash cake photography) session usually takes place around your baby’s first birthday. It involves your baby, a pretty cake, and a whole lot of fun.

When you book a cake smash session, you will bring your little one to my studio where we’ll get them all set up for the session.

Basically, we give them free rein of the cake, and I photograph the event as it unfolds. It’s a wonderful way to capture exciting candids of your ever-changing and growing baby.

First Birthday Cake Smash Photography with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a gold number one prop by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

First birthday cake smash tips

  • Schedule your cake smash photography session 4-8 weeks before your desired date
  • If you want to showcase the portraits at their first birthday party or use them on invitations, schedule your session for when they are 11 months old
  • Choose to have a cake smash photography session with just your baby, or include siblings and mom and dad for some added fun
  • Do a practice run with your baby. By teaching them how fun (and delicious!) it is to get messy with a cake a week before the session, they’ll be more likely to dig in for the winning portraits
  • Go with the flow on the big day. Some babies are more reserved and some go all out. Either way, you’ll walk away with beautiful portraits that showcase your unique babe
Getting messy during First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a vintage banner, captured by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer
Getting messy at First Birthday Cake Smash Photography session with a vintage style using a pink cake, white cake stand, and a vintage banner, prop - captured by Cathy Murai Photography, a Irvine baby photographer

What to bring to your cake smash session?

A cake of course

Second only to your adorable little one, the cake is the most important element of the photo session. I recommend that your child has tasted cake and frosting prior to the session.  Here are a few things to think about when choosing a cake:

  • Size: I highly recommend a 6-inch cake. It seems to be the perfect size for a great session. Avoid cupcakes or tiny pre-made cakes
  • Frosting: Be sure to choose a cake that has frosting–NOT fondant. Fondant doesn’t give us those amazing cake smash portraits we’re going for
  • Frosting colors: Try to avoid brown and red which can look a little less than pleasant when smeared on your little one’s face. I recommend light colors for the cake and the frosting. Pastels in particular photograph very well! Lastly, sprinkles always photograph great! Especially if you want to add some accent to your cake
  • A note about white: If you choose a white cake, try to get a cream-colored frosting instead of bright white which can look over-exposed.

Candle or cake topper

I do provide some but feel free to bring along a candle, or custom cake topper. Check Etsy out for some great options! We can use your topper or candle in the first portion of the cake smash and we can remove it when things start to get messy.

Clothing

I recommend you bring two outfits for photographs and one outfit for your little one to wear home. We will use the first outfit for your first birthday portraits, then change into a different outfit to get messy during the smash!

Once you know what you plan on having your little one wear and the colors of your cake, let me know! This helps me coordinate a backdrop and set colors that tie everything together.

If you are interested, I have some diaper covers, rompers, overalls, and pettiskirts for both boys and girls to wear.

Snacks and drinks

Be sure to come prepared with a drink for your little one. They are sure to get thirsty once they start eating the cake!

I also recommend bringing your child’s favorite snacks. This can be helpful if we need to put something in the cake to entice your baby to dig in.

Balloons

These are optional but highly recommended! They really add to the magic of the session. You can bring one big balloon or a handful of regular balloons. Make sure to choose balloons that coordinate with your color scheme.

Alternatively, I can provide a balloon garland, just be sure to let me know ahead of time!

What we provide for your cake smash session

  • Cake stand: various types to choose from
  • Vintage high chair: perfect for first birthday portraits before the cake smash!
  • Diaper covers, rompers, overalls, and pettiskirts for boys and girls
  • Soap, towels, and body lotion to clean your child after the cake smash session
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • (optional) balloon garland

Interested in cake smash photography for your babe?

If your little one has a milestone coming soon and would like to reserve a first birthday/cake smash photo session, please contact me as early as possible to secure your preferred date.

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