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Preparing for a one year old cake smash session with Redrock Portrait Design

Thank you for choosing me to be your family's photographer! I know you have many choices when it comes to photography, and I couldn't be more excited you chose Redrock Portrait Design. Photographing a child's one year milestone is exciting! One year old's are starting to develop their own little personalities, and I love being able to capture that through my lens. It is important to me to reflect this in their own individual photo's. Whether I have been photographing your little family for multiple milestones, or this is our first time meeting, I am committed to growing with my clients, allowing me to create photography to be cherished for a lifetime.

First step to planning your child's one year old session will be deciding if you'd like it to be indoor or outdoor. Here are the major differences. Outdoor session's will have a weather factor. However, if the weather happens to not cooperate on the day of the session, we can typically reschedule. Be prepared to travel to the location with all your decorations and props. You will need to remember to bring lots of wipes and towels to clean your child up before getting back in your car. Outdoor sessions can be a lot of fun. Before we get messy, we will take lots of photo's of your child outside in a natural environment, and get some great family photo's as well! If you choose not to do a cake smash, there are still lots of opportunities for family photo's and single photo's of the birthday baby! Props are also welcome to these. If you choose to do an indoor session, I will need an open space in your home with lots of natural light. I bring a backdrop with me that I can set up right in your home. The backdrop can be decorated, and will hold a place for the messy cake. You will be responsible for your own decorations/props and cake. We will start by getting a few photo's of your baby before getting messy. If you choose to do family photo's, they will need to take place before the cake smash some place in your home, backyard or a nearby neighborhood park.

This session will typically last 1 hour or less. If I am coming into your home, I will arrive early to set up and decorate. We may need to move some furniture to find the best lighting in your home.

Here are some tips and tricks for a successful cake smash:

1. Keep the props simple and tasteful. Too busy and the baby (and cake) will get lost.

2. Talk to me about your color scheme and ideas. I almost always use a white backdrop for the indoor sessions, but I also have a tan color, blue, and pink, which would look great with white balloons or props.

3. Frosting color should be a light or pastel color. Stay away from black, red, brown etc..

4. Choose the right cake. The best cakes to smash are plain old vanilla sponge cakes. They're soft and crumbly and easy for little hands to break up. Buttercream icing will create the perfect messy fun we are looking for. Make sure the cake is room temperature before baby digs in. Avoid chocolate cake.

5. Be prepared to stand behind me trying to get your baby to smile, but also ready to grab your baby if they are on the move.

6. The session should take place well before nap time, or after waking up from a nap, or whenever your baby is happiest. (Keeping in mind natural lighting in your home and lighting for an outdoor session.)

7. Most babies don't know what to do with this "thing" you just set in front of them. Try to encourage them by putting your fingers in the cake, maybe giving them a taste or taking a taste yourself. You might have to break open the cake a bit, or stick something familiar in it like cheerio's. If you can, introduce a small cake or cupcake with frosting days or weeks before this session so your baby can get familiar.

8. As with all new foods it's a good idea to start slowly to make sure your child doesn't have an allergy. If there is an ingredient in the cake or frosting that your baby hasn't had before it's best to give them a taste a couple days or weeks prior, to rule out any reactions before you let them dive right in.

8. Keep paper towels, washcloths or wipes on hand. The cake smash itself won't last very long. Be prepared to take your baby straight from the set to the bathtub and put clothes into the wash. If we are outdoors, you will want wipes and towels and an extra change of clothes for your baby to go home in.

9. Have fun! More than anything this is about celebrating your baby's birthday! Don't stress if the details aren't exactly perfect. Your baby will still love it and you will too when you look back at your photos!

Something different

Don't like cake? Want to be different? Go for it! I have seen some pretty creative one year old sessions; spaghetti smash, pancake smash, donut smash- if you want to get creative, I strongly encourage it! Pinterest is always great for this ;)


All decorations, props and cake will be your responsibility. It is important to me that you love your photo's, and they match your style and your babies personality. Therefore, you choose your colors, outfits and decorations! I will provide the rest! Here are some of my favorite locations for planning this shoot:

Balloons- Party City

Decorations- Hobby Lobby & Michaels

Cake- Local Bakery, King Soopers, or handmade- make it yourself! A small cake or a large cupcake will be perfect!

I have 2 different cake stands I can bring with me if you'd like. They are simple, white, and I have 2 different sizes. Feel free to find your own if you'd like something different.

Need some visual ideas? Pinterest!

Just birthday photo's, please

Not loving the idea of your baby getting messy? That's okay! Celebrating your baby turning one can be photographed in many fun and unique ways! Let's plan something different :)


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