Ready to celebrate your little one’s first birthday by scheduling a cake smash with a photographer in Columbus, Ohio? Hi, I’m Lauren! A newborn, baby, and family photographer in Columbus Ohio! Recently, my love for celebrating the important milestones in the life of littles has taken me and my clients to a new space, cake smash photography! Cake smash photoshoots typically happen in celebration of a baby’s first birthday. It’s a time to capture the moment and see how much they’ve grown. But it’s also a time for them to get their very first taste of birthday cake. It’s a very exciting moment for any family, however, it can also come with many pitfalls. Ones that can easily be avoided. I’m going to break down the overall process of a cake smash photoshoot, including preparation, expectations, and all the details of the actual smash cake, in the post below!
First things first! You might be wondering when exactly you should schedule the cake smash photoshoot for your little one! The answer to that really all depends on your needs. For example, if you’d like to display the cake smash photos at your little ones’ first birthday party, then it would be best to schedule the session at 11 months of age. Maybe you haven’t thought that far ahead about printing & displaying photos at the first birthday party, but you’d at least like to have digital access to them in order to share them with family & friends on social media. Again, I would recommend scheduling the session at 11 months!
All cake smash sessions are held in my home-based studio, just outside Columbus Ohio, in Worthington. The studio is conveniently located on the first floor and just inside the front door. I love to provide my clients of all sizes with a personalized experience. So it’s important to note, that my studio is small. This allows me to keep the focus of the cake smash session where it needs to be. It also helps to avoid the overwhelm that tends to bubble up when photographing small children. Too much stimulus or noise in a new environment tends to detract from the overall experience, and subsequently, the end result, the photos.
Because of the size of the studio and the experience that comes along with a cake smash photoshoot, I usually recommend that older siblings stay home when possible. It’s not uncommon for an older sibling to become jealous, or even just feel left out. When this happens, it usually requires more of the parent’s attention. With Mom or Dad’s attention elsewhere, it can take away from the cake smash.
Once your session has been scheduled, you will receive a copy of my prep guide! It’s funny, you wouldn’t think there would be too much to prepare for when sitting your baby in front of a cake for the first time. But, as an experienced cake smash photographer in Columbus Ohio, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure your baby’s session is an absolute success!
The first thing I discuss in the prep guide is styling. From flooring to backdrop and props, my home-based studio is all-white! I find this helps keep the focus on your beautiful baby without any distracting or “loud” colors, props, or setups; which can also be very overwhelming for baby! The props included with your session will be a cake stand, a cake, and a selection of white outfits & accessories. And you can’t have a birthday without balloons right? I also include white balloons as part of the celebration!
The overall style of my cake smash photography is simple, classic, and above all, timeless. Yes, we are celebrating a beautiful milestone in your baby’s life, right now. But how will those photos look over time? When you look back on them over the years, will they have “aged”? Or will they maintain the simplistic elegance of the beautiful celebration of your child’s first birthday?
In the prep guide, I also discuss wardrobe. Many parents want to change things up from all-white and include a pop of color all their own! You might be asking yourself how to best incorporate some soft hues into your baby’s outfit for their session. The short and quick of it is that soft pastels, natural tones, and muted hues will pair wonderfully with the all-white setup!
With your session scheduled, your outfit in hand, and your cake waiting, you can expect to be in the studio for around 30-60 minutes on the day of your session. I do not put a specified time limit on a cake smash session. I leave it up to baby! Baby might need some extra time to warm up or get better acquainted with their birthday cake, and that’s ok. A cake smash session is more of an experience than a photoshoot! To that end, I like to begin the session with classic portraits, before we bring out the cake. Once the cake is out, anything goes. So if we want those classic portraits without cake face (so cute!) or cake on the front of their outfit then it only makes sense to get baby acquainted with the camera slowly, before the cake comes out!
As I mentioned before, you wouldn’t think there would be anything to prepare before giving your baby cake for the first time. But, here’s what you should know when bringing your baby in for their smash cake! A quick Google search of “smash cake Columbus Ohio” will produce an endless stream of photos of smash cakes. You’ll notice that they are fairly small, and fairly flat, almost like a fluffy pancake. These are wonderful options for including a small smash cake for baby at their birthday party! However, these smash cakes that Columbus Ohio has to offer are not exactly photo friendly. The cake I use for your cake smash session is much larger than these cakes. Using a larger-sized cake allows it to stand out a bit more in the photos, without taking away from the baby of course! All in all, producing a better photo experience.
There are two ways to get baby prepared to at least be open to trying cake before they arrive at their session. The first is to be sure that baby is fairly hungry upon arrival. Now, we don’t want a cranky, starving baby, of course. But, we don’t want to feed the baby a full meal right before the session either! The second way to prepare meeting your cake smash photographer in Columbus Ohio, and get ready for baby to dig into that cake, is to bring along their favorite snack! Cheerios, puffs, strawberries? Whatever your baby loves, bring a few along with you in case we need to hide them on the back of the cake! This is a familiar snack that you already know your baby loves! That way hey will be more inclined to reach for it, even if they’re still not quite sure about the cake!
When it comes to bringing out the cake, don’t expect your baby to eat all of the cake. In fact, typically, babies will take a few small bites of the cake without really “digging in” or creating the messy cake-smash experience that you might be expecting. Most babies have typically not tasted sweets up to this point. Nor have they eaten anything “off the floor”. So it’s totally natural for this to happen! In all honesty, the amount of cake that they actually eat is really not that important at all.
The most important thing is that they feel comfortable “exploring” the cake. This is where I encourage my parents to get hands-on. If baby is unsure, or just not into this foreign object (the cake!) be prepared to demonstrate! Show baby how to touch the icing and that it’s yummy & edible. They will be encouraged to try it after seeing what it’s all about!
We went over scheduling, props, outfits, and the smash cake. But, what else can you expect when working with me as your cake smash photographer in Columbus Ohio?
Expect the session to be messier than you might think! Cake can end up in fingers, feet, toes, and on diapers. So I always encourage parents to pack an extra outfit and plenty of wipes. I know how nerve-wracking it can be to watch this unfold as well. So with that, I want to encourage you to (try) and keep an open mind, go with the flow, and stay relaxed. Usually, as parents, we spend most of our time avoiding anything messy So it can be hard to encourage your child to make a mess! As a mom, I totally get it.
Aside from the mess, baby might not be “cooperating” like you hoped or envisioned. If we can stay relaxed (myself included) and show baby that we are all having fun without being pushy or forceful, then baby will pick up on that. If we try to cajole or control the situation, then we are more apt to get more pushback from baby. My goal as your Columbus Ohio cake smash photographer is to capture a beautiful moment for your family to look back on. I promise we can make it happen by letting baby lead the way! My goal is to make you and baby as comfortable as possible, without forcing anything.
Maybe you don’t want to wait until your baby’s first birthday to celebrate! Maybe you want to capture your baby’s milestone every step of the way. From out of the newborn stage, to sitting and standing, it all happens before their birthday! The first year can feel like a whirlwind. You don’t have to wait for that sweet first birthday to arrive to soak up every moment! A milestone photoshoot can occur at any age are an amazing way to mark the first year of your baby’s life.