Our Top Ten ‘Do it yourself’ Cake Smash Tips

November 03, 2017

Our Top Ten ‘Do it yourself’ Cake Smash Tips

A cake smash session can be a brilliant way to celebrate your flourishing baby’s first birthday.

If you’re handy with a camera and have a suitable space to set up, there’s no reason why you can’t run your own cake smash, have a wonderful time doing it - and capture the moment with some lovely baby photographs.

At Cake Smash Props, we’re lucky enough to see lots of lovely cake smash pictures. Our customers and clients like to show us photos of our props in action and we’ve seen some truly beautiful cake smash photography. Sometimes it’s the simplest setups that deliver the best results but it’s true in every case that a little bit of preparation and planning can make all the difference.

We’ve learnt a lot about cake smash over the years and gathered plenty of tricks-of-the-trade so we’ve come up with our definitive ‘Top Ten Tips for Do-it-yourself Cake Smash’.

We think that if you’re considering a cake smash and you bear these top tips in mind, there’s a much higher chance of everyone smiling.

#1. Try it out in advance

As we all know, babies can be shy, easily intimidated and prone to doing exactly the opposite of what you expect. When it comes to cake smash, it’s brand new territory for them. They may not be used to eating sweet stuff, they may never get really messy (not a common problem) and they may find a roomful of grown ups pulling funny faces and pointing cameras at them a bit traumatic (really, who can blame them?). Having a mini cake smash (with a mini cake) just to give your mini model the idea of what to expect is a wise idea. Sit together on the floor, set out the cake and let your baby explore. Talk and encourage and even take a few photos - you’ll quickly find out if cake smash is for them, and they won’t be completely confused when you wheel out the props and the big cake later.

#2. Plan your area 

For a successful cake smash, it’s important to pick the perfect space. A clutter free corner of a well-lit kitchen or a temporary playroom takeover would do but having a flat white wallspace to use as a backdrop is ideal. Plan to have your cake smash in a space that you’re comfortable having smeared with buttercream - or a space where you can pin up white paper (wallpaper lining paper works well) and lay out a mess proof mat. 

#3. Get the timing right

Plan your timing around your little one’s schedule. If they’re always full of beans in the morning but miserable by midday, bear that in mind. If they like to sleep in the afternoon but by 4pm they’re always raring to go and monstrously hungry - that’s key to the best timed cake smash for them. Even if you’re thinking of inviting all the family, they will need to fit in with the star of the show’s timing this time - and not the other way around.

#4. Have the perfect cake 

When it comes to the cake, the best cake smash cake doesn’t need to be the biggest. Multiple tiers or something massive aren’t necessarily best and we’d recommend keeping the cake smash cake on the smaller side so it doesn’t tower over your mini model. We’d say opt for a vanilla sponge with a coloured buttercream frosting. Much easier to break into (and much messier) than a cake iced with fondant and pink, white, yellow and light green are the cameras favourites. Chocolate cake might sound like a great idea in theory, but in practice it’s a little too close in colour to what comes out at the other end (not a recipe for the greatest photos). Sprinkles are generally a no-no, as are decorations or sweets that could become a choking hazard. A cake stand can work well to give your cake smash cake a bit of height but it’ll need to be wooden or plastic, not breakable, not wobbly and not a priceless family heirloom (just in case). One other tip is that if your little one just isn’t that into cake, you can always pop something you know they’d prefer to delve into in a secret hollow inside the cake smash cake.

#5. Have some great cake smash props and accessories

You can theme your cake smash (think princess, mickey mouse, cowboy - the list is endless) or just go for a general celebratory birthday setup. There are loads of brilliant ideas on the cakesmash props website, from bunting and 3D letters and numbers to gorgeous photo-worthy outfits. Dress your baby up in our fabulous ruffle rompers, bow tie sets or superhero outfits for ultimate cuteness and add a crown or party hat for a fabulous finishing touch. Our cake smash props are designed with the wriggliest toddlers in mind and they’re all baby safe and wipe clean or washable (and they need to be). 

6.# Prepare the post-smash clean up in advance

You don’t want to be faced with a wriggly, icing covered escapee without the correct protective equipment so stock up in advance. An endless supply of baby wipes and kitchen roll plus a dustpan and brush are vital. A bathtub in close proximity can be very reassuring and a perfect opportunity for a few more cute bath time pictures whilst your baby is getting clean. Add a mop cap for extra fun.

#7. Don’t rush in too quickly with the cake

Once you’ve got your space setup, your guest are mingling and your baby is full of smiles and good cheer - make the most of it. Take some informal pictures before the cake smash starts - perhaps include siblings and relatives as they may not be so keen for a cuddle once there’s buttercream involved. Let the baby get comfortable in the cake smash space and then bring in the cake. You might want to give your baby a spoon to help start them off and make sure you interact with them if needs be to help them out and encourage the biggest smiles.

#8. Grab their attention with a noisy toy like Phoxi Tog

If your little one is utterly absorbed in the cake smash experience it can be tricky to tear their attention away just long enough to get a good picture. Kit yourself out with a noisy toy or Phoxi Tog so you can get them to look up once in a while. We supply some brilliant camera buddies which you can attach to your camera or hang off your wrist whilst you’re behind the lens - great for grabbing a baby’s attention during a super exciting cake smash. 

#9. Enjoy your cake smash experience

It sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget to enjoy yourself when you’re feeling the pressure of keeping your baby happy, keeping the guests well fed and getting that perfect photo. The cake smash is all about your baby and you, celebrating a whole year of being together and making it through the ups and downs so you both absolutely deserve to have a lovely time. Try not to put to much pressure on making it a success and it’ll be a lot more likely to be one - naturally. After all, smiles make much better memories than gritted teeth (and much better photos).

#10. Make the most of your cake smash photos

Once the cake smash is over, the buttercream’s cleared away and your baby is back to its normal colour -it’s time to get creative with your photos. If you’re not a whizz at photoshop, you can always ask someone else to edit your favourite photos (if they need it) and there are loads of online printers who can produce cards, pictures, canvasses and even mugs or t.shirts with your cake smash photos on them. A gift card with your cake smash star on it would make a brilliant thank you card for birthday gifts - or printed pictures can make wonderful presents for doting relatives.

And finally…

If all this talk of baking, buttercream, mess and mayhem is making your toes curl then perhaps holding a diy cake smash shoot is not for you. It’s not a problem though because there are plenty of fantastically experienced professional photographers out there who specialise in cake smash photo shoots and baby photography - and who will manage the whole process (including the mess) for you. You can see some work from a few of our favourite photographers on our website, and the Cake Smash Props Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Happy snapping and don’t forget to send us a picture!




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