Guest blog post written by Belinda France of Belle Photography, Canberra.

So you have booked a photographer (hopefully at least a month before!) and want to know what you can do to make this as successful as possible.

I have been photographing cake smash sessions now for around 5 years and in that time have built up some tips I’d like to share with you.

1. Expect the worst and hope for the best!
We are talking about a 1 year old here so there’s not a lot of predictability about them – loves sweet icing one minute and crying for you the next. I have seen all kinds of personalities in parents and I can assure you stressing and getting cranky isn’t helpful when it comes to any photo session. So my tip for this one is just be prepared that they might not act the way you wanted them to. If it all works out with smiles then yaaah, it’s a bonus!

2. No 2 kids are the same –

As Dr Seuss said “There is no one alive who is Youer than You”. Those photos of the laughing baby having a cakesmash might have taken 100 shots before getting that. Some get straight into it and others take more time or might need enticing. If your baby isn’t too sure about the cake, try putting a bit on your finger to pop in their mouth. They aren’t experienced cake eaters like us 😉 It’s a good idea to let your baby have cakeat least 2 times in the weeks leading up to the cake smash session

3. Be prepared for mess.
One thing parents don’t often realize is that they too will likely become covered in cake and icing during the session (picture your little miss or mister running/crawling straight towards you with icing coated hands), so a change of clothes for everyone, not just the birthday boy or girl, is a good idea.

4. There are good and bad times!
When booking your photo shoot keep in mind 2 things – don’t have immunisation shots the day or 2 before as it can make them grizzly. Also the timing, if you can schedule around their wake up time after first nap they will be much happier.

5. Prop it up – customise and embellish-
I bring some basic things to a shoot including a backdrop and sometimes buntings to match but I encourage people to think about their theme, which sometimes coordinates with the birthday party they might be having. There are some wonderful props out there to make it look fantastic. An excellent prop to include in your cake smash photography is a Birthday Board from Print & Party. As well as making a wonderful photo prop, these can be used to display at your little one’s first birthday party, and also used as a beautiful keepsake for decorating the nursery afterwards!

6. Colours –  I love red… BUT some colours work better than others. Red is a colour that can be a bit too harsh against skin in photos and if it melts a bit and gets messy can look a bit blood like! I personally think pink, lilac, green, teal and blue always pop. I also like a stacked tall cake of rainbow layers as something a bit different to a giant cupcake.

7. Stuff to have handy just in case…
Have a spoon handy just in case they need some help smashing into the cake but also because I have found some kids just don’t like getting their hands dirty. Parents can help get them messy too!
Other things on standby: Music (Wiggles playlist always a treat), a noisy toy they like to get their attention.

Hope this helps! Enjoy watching your beautiful ONE year old enjoying their cake smash photo session!

– Belle

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