What is a cake smash?
The cake smash trend started in the US. Parents wanted cute images of their babies to put on the front of birthday invitations or thank you cards. this meant that the cake smashes quite often happened a month or so before the child’s first birthday. It was often the child’ first taste of cake too – so to capture their first birthday cake seemed too good an opportunity to miss out on! Especially when most children of that age would rather stick their face in it, their foot in it or grab handfuls of it than eat it delicately from a plate!
Fast forward a few years and the UK seems to have fully embraced the trend too. I think parents just want any excuse to have really beautiful images of their babies especially while they are still so little! And let’s face it, that first year is such a rollercoaster of emotions and their first birthday seems like an epic milestone – you have managed to keep this little person alive for a whole year and haven’t yet died from sleep exhaustion!
Most cake smashes are conducted in studios, for obvious reasons really, the weather being the main one! I like a bit of a challenge though, and am introducing my own take on cake smashes – outdoors!
I have compiled a list of the most popular questions asked about cake smashes, and hopefully by the end of this blog you will have a much better understanding of what they’re all about! Please do feel free to comment or contact me if you have any more questions though!
Why have a cake smash outside?
At first glance the idea seems rather bonkers doesn’t it? Holding a cake smash outside. I mean – the weather? As an outdoor family photographer though, I only ever shoot outside and would always prefer to use natural light and beautiful surroundings as the backdrop. This does mean that I am limited with the number of months I can shoot in, but the results are worth it! I just feel that having a baby sat amongst wildflowers underneath the sky, makes for more spectatcular images!
What should my baby wear during their outdoor cake smash?
This is a complete judgement call on your part. I have done some smashes where the baby is in little more than a tutu or bow-tie, and other where they are wearing a special or sentimental outfit. It really is a personal decision.
I always provide some balloons with the smash, so I like to know a couple of days ahead of the smash so that I can try and order the corresponding colour balloons. It all just ties in really seamlessly then!
What happens during a cake smash session?
I can’t speak for other photographers who offer cake smashes, but mine are split into 3 stages:
The first stage is the clean stage! Some babies can be unsure initially, so I use this as a ‘warm up’ activity. I ask parents to provide their child’s favourite toys and then we just let them play! This is not a directed activity as I just want the baby to relax! And there’s no better way than with their favourite toy.
The second stage is the messy bit! Once we know that your baby is happy and relaxed, we will bring out the cake. We need to get this organised quickly as most times the baby will be chomping at the bit to play! We then stand back and let the magic happen! It is quite normal for hands and feet to disappear into the cake (still waiting for a face plant though) so don’t expect to take any of the cake home! If the cake is iced with buttercream, the babies spend a lot of time playing so the mess and carnage is epic! Again – this stage lasts as long as the baby is content! I liken it to messy play as they become mesmerised by it all.
After the mess comes the third stage – the clean bit! You can imagine the mess your little darling will be in after all that cake play! You could baby wipe them, but that isn’t easy nor environmentally friendly, so why not just pop them into a nice warm bubble bath for them to clean off and have a splash! Add bubbles and a rubber duck to my baby bath and off we go – another gorgeous set of images to celebrate their first birthday!
What do I need to bring with me to our outdoor cake smash session?
Your cake smash outfit (and any hat or hair accessories) is obviously essential. I would also recommend something to change into after the bubble bath, along with a towel to dry them off. A rubber duck and bubble bath is also a nice touch for the bath session. For the other parts, I would recommend their favourite toys and snugglies (both that they can play with and you can waggle above my head so they look over at us and engage.
Where can we have the cake smash?
The beauty of having an outdoor cake smash is we can literally have it anywhere, from your back garden to out in the New Forest! So if you have a favourite walk or location that you love visiting – we can do your smash there! If it’s super sunny then all I would need is the shade from a tree or building!
When should we have the cake smash?
This is entirely down to you. Unless we hold it inside your house, it would be entirely seasonal-dependent. In terms of when you should have it to celebrate little one’s birthday – this is all your call! You can do it on their birthday in lieu of a party. You could have it ahead of their birthday to use the images for birthday invites or thank you cards. Or you could simply do it when you want to! There are no rules!
Where should I get the cake from?
So I think you have 3 options here.
1) You can make your own and decorate it according to your personal preference. This is a great option if you have the time (and skills) or have a baby with allergies and you want to be 100% sure what goes into the cake.
2) You can buy a shop cake. Great if you don’t have the time to make your own, though restrictive on the decoration.
3) You get a baker to bake and decorate your cake. Perfect if you know exactly what you want and have the budget! I would recomend someone like Angie’s Home Bakes – she is reasonably priced and her cakes are out of this world!