It is becoming increasingly popular for parents to give their babies an entire cake to eat for their first birthday. The reason we call it a smash is because of the way the babies tend to flail their arms around and demolish the cake with delight. Don't worry, the more mess the merrier! We are expecting this and are prepared - I'll explain about the 'splash' part later.
The setup for the cake smash is completely up to you. I offer various props, pink or blue bunting and a choice of vinyl tablecloth floor and backdrops. The main thing that I would ask you to supply is the cake. This can be anything from a homemade, store bought or professionally designed cake.
Pictured above is a beautiful cake from Grab and Go Sandwich co. As you can see, the design is absolutely stunning and they offer a huge variety of made-to-order cakes. The birthday girl enjoyed diving in and her mum also enjoyed a few sneaky nibbles!
The cakes pictured below show a scrumptious store-bought cake on the left and a beautiful homemade cake on the right.
With any photoshoot involving children, parents always have the same worry: what if my child doesn't enjoy it? My approach is always to be baby-led and I take extra care to make sure baby is never overwhelmed or uncomfortable. You are always welcome to comfort and feed your baby whenever you feel is necessary. We generally start the cake smash part of the session by photographing the setup and aim to get a few shots of the babies posed next to the untouched, pristine cake. Usually, not being allowed to touch the cake to begin with builds up enough curiosity that by the time the baby does go for the cake, they are very eager.
Around a third of the way through, we bring in the wooden spoons. These can really help a baby who doesn't like getting their hands dirty (yes, they do exist)! They also give babies that aren't so interested in eating the cake a chance to bash it up with the spoon. From trying to feed the baby the biggest piece of cake possible, to giving a teething baby some relieve and something hard to chomp on, the spoons are very multi-purpose.
Once the baby has started to make a bit of a mess and are nearing the end of their concentration span for the smash, it is a great time to get some pictures of their hands, feet and features. It's a interesting twist on my usual close up and macro images as the colours and messy context give a beautifully personal element to the photographs.
The 'Splash' part of the shoot is a nice, cosy bubble bath. This is great fun and the babies tend to love it. It has a totally different atmosphere to the cake smash and give your baby a chance to relax and clean up. We also have bubbles that we can blow to entertain babies, which make for great pictures.
As with any photoshoot, my main priority is always baby safety. The tub we currently use most frequently fits a maximum of two babies, and each baby will need their own 'spotter'. A spotter is a designated adult that is watching them at all times and is physically able to prevent them slipping or jumping out of the bath. Parents, friends and relatives are all fine for spotting.
Also included in the session is a few portrait photos, family photos and closeups.
For the portraits, you can either have a birthday themed setup similar to the cake smash setup or choose one of my other photoshoot backdrops. I generally take the closeups while baby is being dried and changed, but this can vary from session to session. The end of the session tends to be the best time to include any family shots as the baby is generally quite cuddly and happy to be held by parents and family members.