Cake Smash Session Tips
A baby’s first birthday is an important event for many families. It marks the end of a busy year that has been full of emotion, growth and change – not only for the baby but for the parents, too. Cake smashes are a fun and memorable way to celebrate this event and many parents are turning to professional photographers to beautifully capture this special time in their babies’ lives. I’ve been photographing these for three years now, so I definitely have some advice for you! Here are some of my favorite cake smash session tips:
1. Before beginning, have a quick conversation with parents to let them know that they don’t need to try to get their baby’s attention during the shoot (unless you ask them to). I prefer the baby to be focused on me so that I can get some shots with great eye contact and connection to the camera. This means that you as a photographer need to be ready and willing to act silly and make crazy sounds to get that baby to look at you!
2. Keep the session short and focused. I recommend taking no more than five minutes to get a series of “before” shots without the cake before getting right into the cake portion. Babies’ attention spans are not long and I find 15-25 minutes of shooting time is more than enough. Any longer and you may run into some crying and restlessness.
3. Have the parent bring the baby’s favorite small snack (e.g. cereal bites) so that you can hide it in the cake if they are hesitant to put their fingers in it. This can help some babies to get their fingers a bit more messy.
4. Remember the little details: icing covered fingers and toes, hands in the cake, crumbs on the lips, the cake topper, etc. These details add variety to your final set of images which is fantastic for albums and collages.
5. Avoid having a lot of red in the cake, whether it be in the icing or the cake itself. I’m sure you can imagine what a baby covered in red would look like. Not pretty.
Remember that the goal is to capture images that reflect the baby’s true personality at this age. Some will be quiet and hesitant while others will waste no time destroying their first birthday cake. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and reassure parents that whatever happens, you’ll capture some honest emotions and expressions that they will love looking back on when their babies are older.
Jessica Nip specializes in soft, natural and luminous maternity, newborn, child and family portraits in Toronto, Canada. You can see her work here.
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