Posts By: Summer Sparrow
In the 1990’s Anne Geddes photographs of adorable babies in flower pots, cabbage leaves, and all kinds of other too cute poses began a new trend in newborn photography. All new parents love to document their baby’s every milestone with pictures and social media has only increased that trend. There are props to document baby’s growth through pictures and video, of every month from birth to 12 months.
The biggest milestone parents want to photograph is their child’s first birthday and of course, that includes the baby’s reaction to their cake. Cake smash photo shoots have become a way to extend the first birthday celebrations for little ones and to record them in pictures. A cake smash photo shoot can take place at the baby’s first birthday party, but professional photographers and experienced parents alike seem to agree that a separate photo shoot is less stressful on the parents and the birthday boy or girl.
These photo shoots have become so popular that many professional photography studios offer them as part of their one-year-old birthday photo session. Some newborn photographers will offer parents who have a newborn photo shoot a discount to return for a cake smash photo session in a year.
Like any other endeavor involving a baby, there needs to be careful planning around your child’s personality and preferences. Photo sessions will go much more smoothly if planned around nap and meal times. Also, since this is probably your baby’s first encounter with sweets you may want to try out a few practice cupcakes ahead of time. Most parents and photographers who have worked with babies at these photo shoots recommend a simple white cake with whipped icing because it’s not as heavy or rich as other icings. Parents will want to provide their own cake to accommodate for any allergies their child may have.
Parents willing to take on the task of photographing the cake smash on their own will still need to enlist the help of at least one friend or relative on the day of the shoot. The best pictures seem to be made on a flat surface, not in a high chair. Props should be kept simple and can be inexpensive as long as they coordinate around one or two key items. You want the focus to be the baby and the cake, not a cluttered background. Plan ahead and find a spot in your home, yard, or area park that has soft lighting and will be comfortable for your baby.
Take practice shots without the cake to check lighting and placement of any props. Once the cake is put into the baby’s reach the pictures will have to be taken quickly to catch every moment. Babies who are uncertain about digging into the cake may have to be coaxed along before they are sure what to do. This is one time where parents actually want their little one to make a mess because the bigger the mess the cuter the pictures.
Cake smash photo shoots can match the theme of the baby’s first birthday party or take an entirely different route. There are themes that work for boys and girls like a lemonade stand, Mickey Mouse, circus, Sesame Street, picnic, or beach scene. Popular themes for girls include of course variations of colors using pink.
Pink and gold are very popular as is pink and turquoise. These outfits usually include a tutu, a headband and lots of sparkles. Themes for boys often include sports, the wild west, or other outdoor scenes, or even dinosaurs. Bare feet are a must for these shoots because often the icing ends up on little toes as well as hands and face. Some photographers will even take pictures of just the mess after the baby has been taken away to get cleaned up.
Careful planning of theme, cake smash outfits, cake, and location will help the shoot run more smoothly. Keep your baby’s personality and schedule in mind when deciding a time for the photos. Remember, the baby is the star of the shoot and a happy baby will make even more adorable messy pictures.
Your baby’s first birthday is an exciting milestone and you want to celebrate it with friends and family. There are several key decisions to make before you begin planning your little one’s first birthday bash. Start by considering your baby’s personality and reactions to new situations and big groups of people. If your baby is overstimulated easily, you may want to consider limiting the guest list to friends and family he or she regularly comes in contact with. If your little one is outgoing and not bothered by big groups then you can invite a larger number of guests. The size of the gathering is the start of the party planning. Setting the number of guests will help you move on to the party venue, food, theme, decorations, and favors.
Keep in mind that your guest of honor is not yet old enough to demand a specific party theme or venue. This is therefore your chance to plan the perfect party exactly the way you want it. For a more intimate party of just family and possibly a few family friends, you will probably host the party at your home. This can save you the cost of renting a space, but it does require set-up beforehand and clean-up afterward.
If you live in a small space there are other options for a memorable party. Depending on the time of year you may consider having the party at a park or a local swimming pool, so be sure to check with your local park or pool office to make necessary reservations.
Also, consider that your town may have a local community building available to rent at a low cost. In the same vein, most churches have fellowship halls they will allow people to reserve for parties. Some ask for a donation to the church while others charge a rental fee. You could also check with local restaurants about using their party room or several tables at their establishment. They may have party packages that will include food and perhaps the cake as well. This cuts down on your set-up and clean-up, but will of course increase the price of the party.
Once you have decided on the number of guests and booked a venue that works well for your event, it is time to choose a theme. Does your little one have a favorite stuffed animal, cartoon character, color, or book? You can plan a party around any of these ideas and work within any budget and guest list. Popular party colors for little girls include pink and gold. Princesses of any kind are always a hit as well. A generic princess party with tiaras and sashes and a “throne” for the birthday girl can be gorgeous in pictures and fun for the adults and kids.
Decorations can include inexpensive balloons and streamers to more expensive custom made birthday thrones and monogrammed sashes and tiaras. If you choose a specific princess there are always many pre-made decorations to be had that don’t require you spending hours making banners, centerpieces, and other parts of the decor. Of course there are other character themed birthday party ideas for your little girl depending on her favorite shows or stuffed animal. Some themes like a zoo or farm theme can work for boys or girls.
If your little boy’s favorite stuffed animal is an elephant then you might want to run with a zoo theme. Little boys (and girls) are often interested in their race car toys or even tractors. If they have a favorite then there are party decorations to fit a construction site or race car theme. Blues and greens are often popular colors to build a little boy’s first birthday party around.
Again, depending on your budget and venue, you can create your own unique decorations or purchase decorations from a party supply store or website. Another popular trend for first birthdays is to dress your baby according to the theme. Let your little one be a princess, a farmer, their favorite cartoon character, or put together an outfit that correlates with the party colors.
Parents, you may want to participate as well. Guests can dress up as well, or you can provide props like tiaras, hard hats, or bandanas for them at the party to help everyone get into the birthday spirit.
Since the party is for a twelve-month old, an elaborate meal may not necessarily work for the young guests and their families. You may just choose to have small snacks, cake or cupcakes, and punch or juice for the kids. For the adults you could do finger foods that can be eaten while supervising their small children. The most anticipated part of the party is usually the cake. Cakes can be simple and homemade or elaborate creations by a caterer. Parents usually want the cake to fit the theme. Your little mermaid may get an underwater themed cake complete with mermaid topper.
Your animal lover may want a cake in the shape of his favorite stuffed animal. Sheet cakes can be decorated many different ways and even cupcakes can be grouped together to form animals or other characters. Cupcakes may be easier to distribute and much easier for little ones to eat and or make a mess with. Again, keep in mind your baby’s personality when deciding how to present them with their own small cake to eat. If they are shy in front of large groups, then everyone singing to them and staring at them could set off a crying fit.
You may want to discreetly let them have their own cake or cupcake in their high chair and allow them to eat and or make a mess while you take pictures and guests continue on with the party or quietly watch. Party favors for a first birthday party should be age appropriate for the guests. One popular part of gatherings right now is a picture frame or photo booth of sorts where guests can take pictures using props. You could print those pictures out and send them home with guests as they leave. Other favors could include letting guests take home the tiaras or bandanas or other items used to dress-up for the theme.
The most important part of the first birthday party is that your little one is comfortable and has a good time. Schedule the party around their naps and with their personality in mind.