My husband bought me a great camera just after the babe was born because he knew how much I enjoyed taking photos and capturing our memories together. It is one of the best gifts I've ever received so for Richie's first birthday, I really wanted to take his Cake Smash photos myself. It is such a big milestone and leading up to it I was a mess - very emotional that he wasn't going to be a little baby anymore - so this was a great way to distract myself. Plus, I want Richie to have these when he is older and know that they were a gift from me.
Here's the step by step process of how I did it.
Pick your theme
I, personally, think your theme should have meaning and represent something nostalgic. It makes it all the more special. I decided to go with a nautical theme because Richie was born in August, we live near the beach and its one of our favorite places to go as a family, and his birthday party was hosted at my in-laws which is on the water. We spend a lot of time at their home as well so the theme was an organic choice.
Pick an outfit to match your theme
I decided to put Richie in a bow tie, diaper cover, and a birthday hat. There were plenty of beautiful options for first birthday outfits on Etsy but I knew he would wear it once and that it would get ruined from the cake so I decided to go the less expensive route. I ordered the matching bow tie and diaper cover on Amazon. The hat I purchase for like 2 bucks at Party City. I'm all for an amazing outfit to photograph your babe in but since he would be mostly bare, I didn't feel it was worth spending the money.
Get a photography backdrop
I went with vinyl for Richie's backdrop but some prefer muslin or paper. The most important thing to look out for is one that not only has a backdrop for the wall but also flooring. That way, you can sit the baby on top of it as well. These backdrops range anywhere from $30 -$100. The one I purchased was $40.
A backdrop won't be enough for the shoot. You'll also need decorations for the set up. The different accessories add layers and more depth to the photo. I purchased most of the accessories on Amazon, a few from Wayfair and Homegoods. The decor elements I purchased went with my theme. These included seashells, anchors and a fishing net. I also bought a ONE banner with a nautical theme from Party City to hang across the top of the backdrop. I repurposed these items for his birthday bash a week later so they didn't go to waste.
Most bakeries are savvy and know all about cake smash photos but in case they do not, let your bakery know that you need a miniature option and the cake should match your theme. For Richie's, we had it customized with an anchor and chose blue tones to symbolize the ocean.
You'll also want a cake topper, not candles for obvious reasons - they are dangerous and you don't want to risk your babe getting a mouthful of wax.
You should have everything laid out the morning or night before so you can play around with the set up. You also don't want to be doing it last minute. Make sure the set up is complete so you can put the baby down just before you start the shoot. You'll also want to set your camera on the tripod with the frame and settings in line with the shot. That way, you just have to click.
Get your baby at the best time of day
You want your babe to be in a good mood for the photos so pick a time of day that he or she is most happy, not when they are tired or hungry. Richie is a little more sleepy after his first nap and much more smily and active after his second so that's when we decided to do it. He also had a belly full of breakfast and lunch so dumping all that sugar into his system wasn't as aggressive as if it were empty.
Perfect example, here is Richie tired and over the cake smash at the end of the session.
Have someone help you for the execution
You'll need help executing the photo. I had my sister, brother-in-law and husband help me. My husband and brother-in-law stood behind me to get Richie's attention for the camera and my sister was there to protect the cake and make sure he didn't knock it over before I got some pictures. And thank goodness she was there because he did knock it over and she caught it just before it was ruined. My suggestion would be to do the same. Have someone close by to help then a person or two behind you so you can get a few shots of the baby looking at the camera.
Good luck, friends. Drop a line below if you have any questions.
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natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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