top of page


Cake smashes are a super fun way to celebrate your baby turning ONE! From the outfit, location, and cake--here are a few helpful tips of how to prepare your little one (and yourself!) for a successful cake smash photo session!

Preparing your Kids for a Photoshoot Bay Area Family Photographer cake smash naked cake outdoor


Book your baby's session date 2-3 months before their first birthday so you can order outfits or props as well as have your images in time to make prints and invitations. Also, be sure the time chosen for your baby's doesn't conflict with your child's schedule, such as meal times and nap times. A well-rested baby will be more prone to enjoying their session, and will get the best smile from them!

HELPFUL TIP: Try your best not to schedule doctor's appointments (especially if your baby is getting shots) or ear piercings before your baby's session.

If planning for a family cake session, plan for siblings to participate too! We've gotten some of the best smiles from babies whose older siblings dive into the cake with them!

And last but not least, if your photoshoot is planned around mealtimes, be sure to give your kids a snack beforehand - that way they are satisfied until you can actually feed them a meal after their cake smash! We don't need any "hangry" photos here, haha!


Where should you have your baby's location? Indoors or outdoors?


If you want a studio style session, we are able to set up a studio right in your own home! The most ideal room to shoot in your home would be wherever the best natural light is as well as a large enough space for the session. We have a backdrop frame and all you would need to purchase is a butcher paper backdrop which is great for easy cleanup!

PROS & CONS for Indoor Sessions:

Pro - Having it at your home allows you to clean your baby and change their clothes right at home.

Con - You need to move around things in your house to make space for the setup and session. Limited space and not a lot of natural light for smaller homes.


For an outdoor session we recommend choosing a location that has flat grass or areas to lay a blanket down for the cake smash, as well as an accessible bathroom for easy cleanup.

PROS & CONS for Outdoor Sessions:

Pro - Having it outside gives great lighting and more variety of shots.

Con - It might be cold if early in the day and distracting if there are a lot of people around. You need to clean up your baby and change them at a bathroom or your car.

Above Location: Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, San Jose

Above Location: Baylands Park, Sunnyvale


Below is a list of items to bring for your baby's cake smash session!


One of the most important things to bring for your baby's cake smash is...the CAKE! Below are a few helpful tips of what to do and not to do in choosing the cake for your baby's cake smash, whether you order it from a local bakery, buy it from the grocery store, or bake it yourself!

  • Be sure to take the cake out of the refrigerator a few hours prior before the session so it is easy to smash. Hard frosting isn't fun for babies to dig in to their cake!

  • Avoid getting chocolate cake. Chocolate cake may be yummy, but it doesn't look great in photos.

  • Avoid highly saturated colors (especially red). Bright colors stain your child's skin and teeth, and red might look like blood. Also, artificial dyes aren't great for babies to consume in large portions.

  • Avoid cakes high in sugar. We definitely don't want your baby to go into sugar coma! ;-)

  • Simple cake with soft icing is the way to go. The cake isn't the star of the show--your baby is!

  • Keep in mind any food allergies. Cakes made with less sugar and baby friendly ingredients are the way to go! Make sure you know what is in the cake when buying from a store.

  • 6-8 inch cake with 2-3 tiers is ideal. This cake size will fit on a cake stand and in between your baby's legs!

  • Consider having a sensory play "faux" session before your photoshoot so your little one gets used to the texture of the frosting and cake.

Additional Tip: If baking your own cake, the upside is you have control of the ingredients, but the downside can often be very dry and the icing is hard.

Side Note: If going for a neutral color scheme, consider a naked cake! It has less sugar and looks great for photos!

Side Note: The above cakes were made by a local baker - and our friend - in the Bay Area! Follow her on instagram @coffeebakerepeat!

Side Note: The above cakes were homemade by their parents! #cakedecoratingskills


Bring props recommended by us that go along with the theme for your cake smash. However, remember that simpler is always better, especially since we want your baby to be the center of attention for their cake smash!

  • Choose a neutral color palette

  • Choose subtle rather than highly saturated tones

  • Bring a stool or chair for your baby to sit on

  • Include a variation of balloons (lighter colors are better so they don't reflect neon skin tones on your child's face.)

  • Bring a neutral colored blanket or small rug for your baby's portraits, as well as the cake smash! (Preferably one that is inexpensive as it will get messy towards the end of the cake smash.)


Think about ways to get that genuine smile and laugh from your child. Whether it's bringing their favorite stuffed animal, singing their favorite songs, playing with bubbles or leaves, or even playing peekaboo!

Side note: Choose stuffed animals and toys that have neutral-colored tones. Stay away from highly saturated or neon colors as they will be distracting in the photo.


Sometimes your baby needs to have a non-messy small snack break during their photoshoot, and that's okay! We recommend bringing puffs, small treats your baby likes, dissolvable cereals, and sippy cups or a bottle in case your baby gets thirsty.

Side Note: If your baby isn't interested into smashing the cake right away, that's okay! It may take awhile for them to dive in, so a little hack is sticking their favorite snack on the back of the cake that will capture their attention, and it will look like they're eating cake on camera!


Cake smashes can get VERY messy so be sure to bring items for clean up, such as: paper towels, baby wipes, a garbage bag (for outdoor cake sessions), wet towel and an extra outfit for your baby to change into after the photoshoot.


The first half of your baby's session would be their portraits in a special outfit without the cake, and the second half would be their cake smash.

For their portrait outfit, dress your kids for the location and season of your photo session. Make sure the color scheme of your outfits complement the location and theme for your baby's cake smash. For example, if the location has tall green grassy hills, a green outfit isn't the best choice to make your child be the focus of the photos.

For their cake smash, consider them to be in pants or jeans, a diaper with a diaper cover, or have a second outfit planned for them to wear. Keep in mind, it will get messy!

When choosing their outfit:

  1. Make sure they are wearing clothes they feel comfortable in.

  2. Pick neutral, earth toned colors. Any neon or highly saturated colors add a tint to skin tones.

  3. Look for clothing with texture and layers, as it adds visual interest to the photo.

  4. Try on clothes before the session to make sure they fit.

  5. Have them wear neutral colored shoes (i.e. white or brown). Bright colored shoes are distracting in the photo.

  6. Make sure you change their diaper before the session.

  7. For baby girls wearing dresses or skirts, we recommend diaper covers.

  8. Refrain from clothes with logos or graphic images as they will be distracting in the photo.

  9. Make sure to choose a backup portrait outfit just in case the first one doesn't work out!

Store Recommendations:

Rylee + Cru, H&M, Target, Old Navy, Roolee Kids, KidWild, Carter's Little Planet Collection and Amazon


Number one thing for you as a parent is to RELAX! Little ones sense stress, and we want them to begin their photoshoot in a happy, positive environment. The best way to relax is to trust us as your photographers to get beautiful images that reflect your baby's personality, and capture this milestone in their lives!

For the cake smash, some babies love digging into the cake right away but some don't, and that's totally normal! Don't be discouraged if we don’t get the reaction you hoped for--we will still get timeless images that capture your baby’s cuteness and smiles.

Some babies need a little coaxing and help along the way with their cake smash, so we may ask you to participate getting their attention, eating the cake with them, or smashing the cake in between shots to help them get used to the fact that the cake isn't out to get them but will be yummy in the end!

Most importantly--HAVE FUN! Cake smashes can be so hilarious and not only do we love seeing your baby's smiles, but yours too!

bottom of page