What To Expect At A Cake Smash Session


Are you planning to celebrate your child’s first birthday with a Cake Smash?

Whether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, it’s natural to have some questions.

In this post, we’ll walk you through what to expect at a cake smash session, to help you prepare for your child’s special day.

Don’t worry – cake smash photography is kind of my thing!



Typically, a cake smash is meant to celebrate an important milestone in your child’s growth – their first birthday!

Most parents choose to have the session a few weeks before their child’s birthday, so they can have the photos in time.

But really, you can have it anytime afterwards; in the past, I’ve done Cake Smash Sessions for two year olds.

Pick A Theme

Need inspiration?

You can check out all of my past cake smash themes for some great tips and ideas.

For the Classic Collection, which is a simple theme, you can choose a color palette – ie. “black, white, and gold”.

Other ideas for simple themes are balloon garlands, floral garlands...etc

If you want a little something extra, we can go all out with the Deluxe Collection.

Nothing is off limits here – you can theme your set based off of a movie, a place, or a concept.

Something like “a jungle cake smash with lots of green and brown neutrals” is plenty for me to work with!

I'll search through all of the Backdrop Vendors that I use and send you lots of different ideas!

An example of a Deluxe Cake Smash set.

For this session, the parents had requested a Realistic Strawberry theme.

I found the perfect backdrop to bring it to reality!

An example of a Simple Cake Smash session. The parents asked for a Butterfly theme – how cute!

My Classic Collection is a great choice for anyone who prefers a simpler set, or if you’re on a budget.

Other ideas for Simple Decorations are : balloon garlands, floral garlands...etc

When To Book Your Session

I recommend booking about 2-3 months in advance of your chosen date, but the more notice the better.

Keep in mind that depending on your vision for the set, backdrops, outfits and/or props might need to be ordered, and these can take some time to ship.

The Day Of Your Session


Most 1 year olds have never experienced anything like a Cake Smash before, and it can be overwhelming for some of them and that’s okay!

When you first arrive for your session, we will allow a few minutes for your child to explore and get used to the new environment.

I take a lot of candid shots at the start of them sitting, crawling or walking on the set!


Once your little one is warmed up, we’ll introduce them to the cake!

Hands, wooden spoons – they’ll be free to smash (and eat) as much, or as little, as they like.

This can get super messy, but that’s all part of the fun!

I'd definitely recommend wearing clothing you don't mind getting dirty!

A Tubby Time Cleanup will follow so they can get squeaky clean.

Don’t worry, I’ll be taking photos the entire time!

Tubby Time usually leads to the cutest shots! 

(Tubby Time photos do not need to be shared online – just make sure you let me know!)

How To Prepare For A Cake Smash : Top Tips

  • Timing is key. Plan the photo shoot for a time when your child is typically in good spirits and well-rested. Avoid scheduling during nap time – an hour or two after they’ve woken up is usually a safe bet. I offer 11am and 2pm time slots for these sessions.

  • Bring familiar items. Bring a favourite toy, blanket or pacifier to the shoot to help your child feel more comfortable in the unfamiliar setting.

  • Make sure they are fed and well hydrated. A full stomach and enough hydration can help reduce the chances of a child getting cranky. I always have snacks around, but please feel free to bring some if your child is picky!

  • Be patient. Children can take some time to warm up to new experiences, so be patient and let your child explore the cake at their own pace.

  • Have realistic expectations. Not all kids will enjoy cake smashing. Some may be a little hesitant or even scared of the cake – that’s okay! I will never force your child to pose, touch the cake or do anything they might be uncomfortable with. We want this to be a fun day for them.

  • Getting Messy. Getting messy is bound to happen during a Cake Smash! Make sure that you wear comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting a little messy! I also request that parents bring their own towel for their kiddos! I provide the wash cloth!

  • Lastly, communicate. Before your session, I’d love to hear your child’s likes and dislikes or any concerns you might have. If your little one is sensitive to noise or has any dietary concerns, let me know! I always do my best to make sure you and your child and comfortable and happy.

After The Session

After the Cake Smash, I’ll send you a link to your proofing gallery, where you can choose your favorite images.

Once you’ve made your selections, the photos will be edited and digital copies will be provided in your Finished Gallery.

You’ll also have an opportunity to order prints or other products to commemorate the special day through your Finished Gallery.

A cake smash photo shoot is a fun and unique way to celebrate your child’s first birthday.

With a little preparation and the help of a professional photographer, you’ll be able to capture memories that will last a lifetime.