HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR CAKE SMASH SESSION
With most of the details taken care of by your photographer, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself and your baby to have a FUN and successful cake smash session.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Cake Smash Sessions last anywhere between 45-90 minutes, including the "splash session" after the cake; any longer than that and even the happiest baby is over it. I am a firm believer in moving at the pace of the baby. After all, happy kids make for happy photos.
The beginning is traditional "One Year" milestone pictures, capturing your babies personality and allowing them to ease into their situation.
Once we introduce the cake, the cake session segment takes about 30 minutes depending on baby's temperament. Some babies dig right in but most need some encouragement and assistance. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and help your baby get past the frosting and into the cake.
The last 15-30 minutes of the session will be the "Splash Session" where warm water, condensed milk & bubbles will be added to the tub. It is a great way to end the session, the baby can play and we can squeeze out a few more photos of them in their themed session. How does that saying go? "If they are crabby, place them in water." Even after the Baby is "over it", most enjoy the splash session.
WHAT TO WEAR
Once you have solidified a theme & set colors, then choose the outfit. It is important to consult your photographer for outfit choices. If you are having a blue space theme, it is important for Baby not to wear blue and blend into the background. As I have said before and I will say again, "Compliment, don't match."
Another thing to keep in mind with outfit choices is to "size down". I know that children grow way too fast, but chances are the outfit that you are choosing will get stained during the session and may not be useable again in the future. Consider buying the outfit that is your Baby's actual size and not something to "grow into". Loose fitting clothing during the session is distracting to baby and will look poorly in the photos.
An easy way to simplify the outfit choice is to just opt for a diaper cover and a headband bow or bow tie.
THINGS TO CONSIDER: THE DO'S & DON'TS
Let your baby have cake, frosting, whipped cream, or a cupcake BEFORE their session; at least once. Believe it or not, most babies do not like the taste/touch of cake the first time and become upset when it won't easily wipe off of their skin. Allowing them to eat cake beforehand eliminates the "picky exploratory" stage of a new food and familiarizes them with it enough to be recognizable so they can be excited about cake like the rest of us!
Side Note: Most babies are used to eating in their highchairs, so I also encourage you to let them try it on the floor or any hard surface.
Be sure that Baby has had their normal nap in the normal place they take it.
Sleepy/cranky babies are the number one cause of unsuccessful sessions.
It is crucial that the baby has been awake from their nap 20-30 minutes before their session instead of in the car at the time of the session.
This can be a catch 22, but you want Baby to be fed but not full.
There is a magical sweet spot in-between hangry and full.
We want Baby to show interest in the cake and that will be less likely if they are hungry or full.
Pacifiers/Soothies & Bribes
I know the power of a bribe, but choose it wisely. Refrain from mouth/finger staining snacks. Please keep in mind: bribes, Pacifiers/Soothies given by parents will not be photoshopped out of the images.
Please avoid bringing siblings to the session if they are under the age of 10, if possible.
This will limit any distractions to Baby and avoid any conflict on the set.
Younger siblings almost always want to come and participate in the Cake Smash Session, and who blames them? This means that there will be either disruptions to the set, the Baby's temperament or the brought along siblings feelings.
Preferably, try to avoid Doctor Appointments for shots or having Baby's ears pierced within two weeks of the session. 'Stranger Danger' is starting to set in at the this age, this is to ensure that Baby won't be afraid of the Photographer during their session.
If your baby has a fever and/or is not feeling well... please reschedule the session. I have kids myself and I know how often it happens and how much you were looking forward to this. HOWEVER, we will not get good smiles & photos if your Baby is not feeling like themselves. Also consider that each photo would have red eyes/cheeks and a runny nose, ugh!
WHAT TO BRING
Cake Smash Outfit
1 additional outfit: for the ride home
Change of clothes for parents, just in case.
Bag for soiled clothes
Diapers & wipes
Sippy cup/bottle with water and/or Milk: to help wash down the cake.
Snacks (small, dry finger foods: think cheerios, or puffs) in case they don’t like the cake. I can hide them in the back of the cake to make it appear that Baby is interested & eating the cake.
A favorite toy, preferably one that makes noise.
Download the FREE Cake Smash Session Preparation Checklist below!
A Baby's first Birthday is an emotional milestone for Parents and Babies, be sure to use this Cake Smash Session Preparation Guide to set the session up for success and have these moments to cherish for years to come!