Tips For Capturing Cake Smash Photos

May 8, 2020

One year milestone photos are the funnest to capture as a keepsake for children. There are many different ways to capture this milestone – one of them being with a cake smash session.

Toronto cake smash photographer

What is a cake smash photo shoot? The basic idea is to celebrate your child’s first year by giving them their first taste of cake while taking beautiful pictures of it! Some probably think this is silly, and yeah maybe it is, but its also adorable and creates lasting memories you will love.

Things to consider in advance

  • Plan the session before or after nap times so your baby is happy and well rested. 
  • If you want to get a professional look, book a photographer a few weeks in advance 
  • Get a simple cake white a soft, neutral, buttercream interior.  It will photograph better and make clean up easier. Professionally made cakes photograph better.
  • Let the cake sit out for 1-2 hours before the session so it’s not hard from the fridge.
  • Keep the background simple so the focus is on the baby.
  • Move around to get different angles and shots.
  • Don’t expect your baby to smash the cake.  Most don’t.  They simply touch it, try in and may not want to have anything to do with it. Some may also be scared of the texture. 
  • Plan and coordinate clothing and props in advance. 
  • Have wipes on hand and a bath (if needed) ready to go. 

1. Ditch the High Chair
Put your baby and the cake on a flat surface to give them free reign to make a mess which is what cake smash photos are all about. This way you’ll also be able to photograph the cake in their toes (trust me, they’ll have cake in their toes) and fun, creative close ups.

2. Take photos of cake-free baby

Remember to take a few photos of your child before the mess begins. I suggest getting a photo of the cake alone and your baby before introducing the cake in case they immediately dig in and the mess begins. It makes it fun to tell the story of the day and put together a collage of the before and after.

simple cake smash

3. Decide on an outfit in advance
It’s important to know the outfit choice before your session so that your backdrop and props can coordinate with the look you want. Etsy has some adorable props and outfits which you’ll need to order in advance as does our online shop with some outfits and accessories found here

Child Photographer at Mint Room Studios

4. Keep Props Simple
When planning the session, it’s easy to go overboard with props which may take away from your subject. Choose a simple background with only one or two props besides the cake. It’s also perfectly fine to do just a background and cake.

5. Get close ups

Dimpled fingers, cute little toes, and hilarious cake smashing action are a must to capture close up. I love to show cake in between the toes, or frosting in the eyelashes. I adore capturing those little chubby hands grabbing the cake as they’re first testing it out. 

You can tell a much better story of the cake fun if you get some close-ups of everything, along with the shots that take everything in. Get lots of angles including photographing from above, from her eye level, from below, and from every side.

6. Encourage smashing if needed

A lot of the babies are not that eager to dig into the cake.  Some assistance from the parents is almost always needed. The buttercream frosting may turn away some babies so be prepared to hide your baby’s favourite snacks on top to get them more interested in digging in.

Toronto child photographer

It’s common to have little ones be hesitant to dig in right away. Most tend to be more “tasters” than “smashers”. Sometimes they might not even want cake on their hands at all. If nothing is happening, it may help to have one parent give the child a taste so that they taste it and want more.

7. Look for light
If you’re photographing the session in your home, look for the room with the most natural light coming in from a big window. Try to avoid the harsher light by using a large north or south facing window. If you’re stuck with a window that has the sun streaming in, use a sheer white curtain to soften the light.  

8. Keep Clean Up in Mind

As you plan a DIY cake smash session, it’s important to consider the clean up too. Keep lots of wipes and paper towels handy. Plan on going straight from the cake smashing to the bathtub and tossing any clothing straight into the wash to avoid staining. It’s also fun to capture some photos of the aftermath of the cake (what’s left of it) and your child in the bathtub.

If your little one is turning 1 soon – I’d love to capture their first birthday milestone session with a cake smash added whether it’s in-studio or outdoors. I also offer gift certificates which make the perfect gift for parents. You can contact me to set up a consultation and we can discuss all the details to customize your photography experience. Interested in seeing more birthday sessions? Click here to go to my birthday portfolio!

Here are more blog posts in different locations in Toronto both outdoors and in-studio showing why you should hire a photographer to capture your beautiful family.

Cake smash session at Mint Room Studios

Sibling cake smash session at Preto Loft

Spring themed smash session in The Ballroom at Mint Room Studios

Smash the cake session in The Lounge

Backyard cake smash session

Scarborough Bluffs Beach cake smash session


There are a few ways you can book. You can book right online using this tab which leads you to my online booking calendar. However, not all available dates are on that calendar so if you need a different date, send me an email! You can reach me at hello@anchorstudio.ca

Anchor Studio Photography specializes providing a full service experience that starts with booking your session and ends with getting beautiful tangible heirloom products being displayed in your home. My style of soft, candid and timeless photos can be seen in all my maternitynewbornchild and family portraits in Greater Toronto Area, including Oakville, Mississauga, North York and Richmond Hill. If you are interested in booking a portrait session for your family, you can click here to book your session. I am now booking sessions for summer 2022, so don’t hesitate to get in touch soon!

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