Cake smashes!! They have become relatively common and can be done beautifully when done right! There are times when things go wrong with cake smashes, as well. I thought that I would share with you all some things that I have learned over the years when it comes to that day that you WANT your child to make a huge mess.
1) You don't HAVE to smash a cake. I've seen smashes use watermelon, tacos, spaghetti, pizza, you name it! You can get creative with this! Pick something that your child will enjoy eating. Cake can often be a new texture, which is strange for babies and can take some getting used to. Sometimes the icing is too sugary. Sometimes they just don't like the cake at all. Let them eat something that they love! It will make the session go so much smoother! (For purposes of this post, I'll be saying "cake smash" just to keep it simple.) I recommend that my clients feed their baby a cupcake or try bites of a small cake at least 2-3 times prior to the cake smash to allow them to become familiar with the texture and taste.
2) There are certain things that people who are not photographers don't think about. One of these things is the following, which can't really be put delicately, so here it is: Red frosting and/or icing will often not photograph well. It tends to look like a bloody mess. Unless it's a zombie theme (which can be awesome), avoid this. And while we're on the topic, any kind of brown anything in the cake can look like poop. Literally.
3) Keep the setup simple. If you are doing a 1 year cake smash, you want the focus to be on the baby, not on the props around them. (Too many props can also be too distracting for the baby.) My setups are very simple because I like to be able to focus on the baby. I have seen some beautiful setups with more props than I use, so it is a matter of personal preference ultimately. Just keep in mind the vision that you have and work with your photographer to try to bring it to life.
4) Get a cake with decorations on the sides. Photographs will be taken head on instead of overhead for the cake, so you want to be able to see the beautiful decorations. The only exception to this is when you are intentionally keeping the cake simple, like above. I also highly recommend hiring a professional baker for your cake smash. I personally recommend LuluBell Cakes here in Purcellville. Not only are her cakes gorgeous, but they're tasty, too!
5) Make sure to bring a change of clothes for after the fun! Some offer a little bubble bath session post cake smash fun. At the Fluttering Shutter Photography studio, I have a full tub that you are welcome to use after the session with everything ready for you to use.
However you want to document your little ones first birthday, I hope that you are able to treasure those portraits for years to come!