A cake smash is an exciting (and messy!) way to celebrate a child's 1st birthday. If you're planning to offer cake smash photoshoots at your studio this year, you should know a few things beforehand to make sure these special celebrations go smoothly. Keep reading for our expert tips on how to prepare your photo studio for a cake smash. A bit of preparation can go a long way toward creating the perfect cake smash experience for your clients!
Prep the Client
Cake smashes call for a lot of prep on your part, but the parents of the special birthday baby will also need to do a bit of prep work to ensure the photoshoot goes off without a hitch. Make sure to give your clients all the information they’ll need prior to their appointment so they can arrive fully prepared.
Ideally, they should arrive with a well-rested, fed, and happy baby. They should also bring a cake smash outfit and a clean outfit for their baby to wear afterward.
The Perfect Backdrop
Now it's time for you to start on your own prep work. First, consult with the clients to learn what direction they want to go with the photoshoot. If they don't have anything specific in mind, you can offer suggestions. Once you and your clients decide on a theme for the shoot, you can gather the essentials.
The backdrop is one of these essentials. The cake smash backdrop you choose will set the scene for the photoshoot, so consider your options carefully! If your clients want a cutesy pink theme for their baby, a pastel bokeh, fairytale castle, or floral backdrop would be fantastic options. If they want something that screams "celebration!", you can choose a backdrop featuring colorful balloons, confetti, or fireworks. Whatever backdrop you choose, make sure it's high-quality and something your clients will love.
Choose Props Carefully
Props can really liven up a photoshoot, but it’s better to keep props to a minimum for a cake smash. Why? Because props can distract the star of the show and draw their attention away from the cake. A baby might be interesting popping balloons or cuddling with a stuffed toy rather than smashing the tasty cake in front of them, which can result in a very frustrating and drawn-out session. If you do use props, stick to just a few, or use props out of the baby's reach.
Stock Up on Clean-Up Supplies
Cake smashes are messy. Your client's baby isn't the only one that will get dirty; cake can get everywhere. On the backdrop, on the walls, on the floor, on the parents, on your camera, on you... you get the point. The parents will bring a clean outfit for their baby (and for themselves), but the rest of the cleaning is on your hands. You should bring an extra outfit for yourself in addition to cleaning supplies for the room. Here are a few things to stock up on:
- Microfiber cloths
- Baby wipes
- Mild soap (for the backdrop)
- Cleaning sprays (for the floors and walls)
- Lens cleaning fluid (for the camera)
Choosing the Cake
Some photographers provide the cake as part of the cake smash session. Others don't and ask the parents to provide the cake. Whether you're picking up a cake or advising parents on the best cake to buy, here are a few general guidelines to follow when choosing the perfect cake smash cake:
Small or Big?
Smaller tends to be better. Cakes taller than eight inches will look massive next to the baby and overshadow them. We recommend using four to six-inch double or triple-layer cakes for the best results.
Skip the fondant and get a buttercream cake instead. Fondant is hard to break, won't make as much of a mess, and can be a choking hazard for the baby. On the other hand, buttercream is soft and easy to dig into. It also makes a big mess, which, for this occasion, is a good thing!
The Flavor and Color
Avoid chocolate and red velvet cake and red or brown frosting. These colors mimic blood and excrement, which aren't things you want to see in a cute baby photoshoot. Any other kind of cake will do. Funfetti cake, in particular, is great for cake smashes because of how fun and colorful it is. However, check with your clients before selecting a cake. Their baby might have allergies or sensitivities that you need to keep in mind.
When it comes to the frosting, stick to soft pastel colors. Brighter colors contain a lot of dye, which can stain the baby’s skin.
Keep cake decorations to a minimum. Excessive ornamentation makes it harder for the baby to smash the cake. Certain decorations could also hurt the baby's hands. If the clients want decorations, snap a photo of the baby and the cake with decorations and then remove them before the actual smashing commences.
Trying to smash a cold, rock-hard cake is no fun! For this reason, you should bring the cake to room temperature before the session. An hour or two is enough time for the cake to thaw but not enough for the frosting to melt.
Snacks of Encouragement
If this is the baby's first encounter with cake, they might not know what to do with it. In this case, it can take some encouragement to get them to smash it. One way to encourage interaction with the cake is to hide some of the baby's favorite snacks in the icing. Pop a few Cheerios or a berry on the cake and wait for them to reach for the snack. You can also use toys and props to cheer the baby on.
Bonus Bath Photos
They’re not a necessity, but they’re a great way to attract clients and make some extra money! After a cake smash session, you can offer a bath photo session to parents. Place the baby in a prop tub and snap shots of them cleaning up after their first foray into a cake.
Now that you know how to prepare your photo studio for a cake smash, it can be a fun experience for everyone involved. When done right, cake smash shoots are silly, messy, and entertaining. They result in quirky, adorable photos the proud parents will cherish for years.
Prepare for an upcoming cake smash shoot with a high-quality cake smash backdrop from HSD Backdrops. We have over a hundred backdrops in vinyl, poly paper, canvas, and fabric to choose from. Whatever aesthetic your client wants for their photos, we have a backdrop that fits it perfectly.