The Best DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot Tips & Ideas for Baby 1st Birthday!

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Introduction: What is a Cake Smash Photoshoot?

DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot

You might not know it, but cake smash photo shoots are all the rage. They’re a massive trend in baby photography – especially for first birthdays! For many parents, cake smash photography is just as important as cake itself. It’s an opportunity to document your child’s growth and showcase their personality through pictures.

Cake smash sessions are photo shoots in which a photographer snaps a picture of a toddler or baby smashing their favorite cake. A cake smash photoshoot is a type of photography session where you let your baby have free reign over a cake. It usually happens during or around the time of their first birthday. There are different ways to do cake smashes – some more messy than others. But the result is always lots of fun, goofy photos of your little one!

It is a great way to celebrate a milestone birthday. It is very popular with parents of toddlers who are turning one year old because it is when children become more aware of what they are doing and begin to understand just how sweet birthday cake can be.

This type of photo shoot has grown in popularity over the past few years, with many parents looking for something different to do once their baby turns one year old.

The birthday cake smash awesome photos are great for sharing on social media sites and being made into beautiful pieces of art for display at home.

How to Set up a DIY Cake Smash Photography Session?

Set up is an integral part of the DIY cake smash photography session. You want to have a cake that your little one enjoys eating and smashing, as well as a surface on which a baby can go wild.

– Cake (or cupcakes) that are safe for your baby to eat: The cake should be not too sweet to avoid any tummy aches, and it should be soft enough so your little one can easily smash it.

–  Surface (a bowl, plate, or tray) to put the cake on: Place the cake on a cake stand or nice surface that will allow for clean up after the cake smash photos. You can use a simple tabletop or floor to capture cake-smashing photos.

–  Clothing: Dress your little one in clothes that you don’t mind getting cake on, and if they happen to get cake on their face or hands, make sure that it comes off easily.

–  Accessories: Place a few toys around the cake stand to capture some cake-smashing photos of them holding or playing with the cake.

Photographing your Child’s 1st Birthday DIY Cake Smash Photos

1st Birthday

When it comes to the actual photoshoot, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

– Make sure that your baby feels comfortable before beginning the cake smash photography. It may be best to have someone else present during the shoot to keep them distracted or interested if they lose interest or become fussy.

– Have your camera on your hands at all times so you can be ready to capture the best moments of them smashing their cake.

Ensure that the pictures are clean and free from dirt or potential germs before uploading or sharing them with friends. You might want to consider using a lens hood to avoid unwanted distractions in the background.

– Use natural light as much as possible to capture clear, crisp images. You don’t want to use a flash since this could startle your little one during the shoot.

– Set up at least two to three feet away from your baby (or any other baby that will be part of the cake smash photography session) so you are not right in the middle of the shoot.

– Try to get your child’s expression when they are smashing their cake, but also keep in mind that it is okay if they don’t look at you or smile for every shot – this is part of the charm!

– If possible, try to photograph them with fun props to capture even more memorable moments, but try not to use too many props as this will only take away from the cake smash.

– You can experiment with different angles and shots – some that are up above or looking down onto the scene; others that are on their level; you can also choose to photograph them lying on their backs if it seems like they are enjoying themselves.

Ideas for your DIY Cake Smash Photos!

If you plan a DIY cake smash photography, many ideas can make it even more memorable.

– Decorate the cake to match your child’s outfit or the occasion – this will make for great cake smash photos!

– Get family and friends to participate in the fun by having them sit or stand around while your baby goes all out with the cake.

– You can also have your child’s favorite toys or stuffed animals around as a prop during the session.

– Have a few balloons ready for them to pop at their convenience.

– Before the cake smash photoshoot, take some photos of them sitting down and just having a bite of their cake.

– Take a photo of their hands covered in cake, as well as the aftermath after they have finished smashing!

Tips on Shooting the Cake Smash Session

When photographing a cake smash session, it is crucial to keep in mind the following camera settings:

1. Camera:

There are a few main types of cameras to choose from for this type of photography: DSLR, point and shoot, or a film camera.

Out of these, A DSLR is the best option to get the highest quality photos at the end. Also, a DSLR uses a mirror that can be flipped up to see in the viewfinder what your shot will look like before you take it.

Point and shoot cameras are less expensive but do not give high-quality photos.

A film camera is also an option that will get you better shots than a point and shoot but not quite as good as a DSLR.

Recommended DSLRs:

2. Lens:

You can shoot with a 35mm, 50mm, or 70-200mm lens. If you go with a wide-angle lens (35mm or less), it may be challenging to get everything into the shot. And if you use anything over 200mm (or zoom in on your current lens), it will probably be too blurry unless you have some tripod set up.

Recommended Lenses:

3. Camera Position:

Shoot from above at about 1/3 of the way back. You’ll want to make sure that the baby is entirely in focus and that their face isn’t cut off. You can choose to shoot from a higher or lower angle depending on how messy you want the cake smashes to be!

4. Exposure:

You will want to make sure that the exposure is correct so that the cake and your child’s face are both properly exposed. You don’t want to leave the cake underexposed because it will appear too dark and unappealing, and you also don’t want to overexpose your child’s face.

5. ISO:

Set your ISO according to the environment you are shooting in (i.e., if it is darker, set your ISO to a higher number).

6. Aperture:

The aperture depends on how much of the scene you want in focus. If you do not want a lot of the background blurred, shoot at a higher f-stop number (much less light enters through a small opening – a significant f-stop number, such as 11). Also, if there is going to be movement in your shot, try using a lower f-stop number so that more will be in focus.

For example, if your cake is stationary and only your baby will be moving, try shooting at an aperture such as 2.8 or 3.5.

7. Shutter Speed:

You can set your camera to either a shutter priority or manual mode. It is up to you and what you are used to using. If it is too dark, choose a faster shutter speed because it allows less light into the film plane (where the digital sensor captures the image). You can also increase your ISO if needed so that your photo isn’t over-exposed.

I shot at a shutter speed of 1/400th of a second for these photos because my cake was stationary, and only my son would be moving around inside the scene. I did not have to worry about blurring from his hands outstretched to the cake or blur from him moving.

8. Lighting:

For lighting, if you are using natural light, then set up close to direct sunlight coming through a window that there will be little shadows. You will have a nice amount of soft light to work with, and it will be bright enough so that you can bring your ISO way down.

If you are shooting in a room with overhead lightings, like fluorescents, you may want to switch the bulbs for daylight-balanced ones if they aren’t already. If this isn’t possible, then play with the Kelvin balance of your camera or use direct sunlight as your primary source of light.


The beauty of cake smashes is that the baby doesn’t need to be sitting on a throne or wearing a crown. You can dress them up as you like and use everyday objects as props, such as kitchen utensils, stuffed animals, and dolls!

Remember not to put your kid in any position where they may fall or hurt themselves. If the cake is very messy, you may want to place a drop cloth or plastic underneath it to soak up some of the mess.

Color Scheme

Use a color palette that contrasts with the background and gives you easy access to editing things like the background. In my case, I used a grey color for the cake smash backdrop and girlish pink props made of fondant or icing, which makes it very simple to remove the background from your images.

If you don’t want to edit out the background, you can always use a solid white or black backdrop.


Cake smashing and photoshoots go hand in hand, and it can be challenging to decorate a room without making a cake smash mess. Luckily there are ways of dealing with this!

-You can create a more raw feel by using block-out material like cardboard or wood panels. It is suitable for those who won’t make the backdrop more of an experience instead of making it more aesthetically pleasing.

-Another option is using 2ft x 3ft sheets/rolls of paper, vinyl, fabric, etc. If you want to create exciting designs, you can wrap your strips around furniture and tuck them behind the object you’re using as a backdrop. You can also border your colorful sheets on both sides with black cloth or paper to have two border pieces that are the same width.

-Finally, you can use a plain painted wall as your backdrop. It is more for those who want to have cohesive images with just one color on the walls.


Since this is cake smash photography, you want your little one to be hyped up and excited. Tired children are not suitable for this because cranky and unpredictable.

You can always schedule their cake smash photos earlier in the day or later when they are more rested.

Similarly, hungry children are best for this shoot because they will be moving around more, and their attention won’t wander too much.

Cake Smash Outfits

Smash Outfits

Even though these are cake smash photos, you still want your baby to look clean and put together.

Choose something that has easy access for cake smashes, or forget about using one for the dress. If you want to wear clothing, remember that you will likely have to change it afterward, so don’t wear anything too special.

No clothes other than a nappy are the most excellent way to capture terrific cake smash photos. If it’s wintertime, find something to keep them warm and not too hot!


There are many different types of poses that you can do during a DIY cake smash photoshoot. You can have your baby play with the cake, or you could let them eat it off the floor. Here is an example of a pose where you shoot through the legs, so they look like upside-down ‘U’s.

There are many different poses and positions you can do to make your cake smash photo shoot unique.

Cake Smash Photoshoot Clean Up

It’s also crucial to think about cleaning up after a DIY cake smash session. When the cake is smashed, it’s time to clean up. You could also choose to do a little bit of cleanup immediately after breaking, which we did for this shoot.

It’s much easier if you have some disposable items on hand to use specifically for the cleanup. Here we used a disposable tablecloth and paper plates to throw away.

Don’t squander the cleanup after a cake smash shoot. It’s a great chance to take some more fantastic photographs!


Even if you’re not a professional cake smash photographer, it’s possible to have lots of fun with your little one and get some great photos. The cleanup process is also an opportunity for more pictures that show the love between parent and baby.

You can see that it’s not too difficult to do a cake smash photoshoot yourself at home. Just be sure to plan with your props, keep calm and composed during the shoot, and clean up afterward. When everything is said and done, you’ll have some great photos of your child at their very first birthday party!

-Camera – you’ll need a camera that has a timer, tripod, and remote control.

-Paper towels – you’ll need these to clean up the mess from your baby smashing the cake. You can also use them to wipe any frosting off your child’s clothes if they do get messy.

-Cake – you’ll need a cake for your baby to smash. It should be something that won’t stain clothes or cause an allergic reaction.

-Plates – have some paper plates on hand to clean up any crumbs from the table after your child eats their cake.

It’s best to use a non-toxic, baby-safe cake that won’t stain your child’s clothes when they eat it.

The level of messiness that occurs during a DIY cake smash photo shoot will depend on how much you let your child eat before smashing it.

They may get icing on their face, hands, or clothes. You may want to have some disposable items on hand for cleanup – paper towels and napkins are usually enough.

You can use different things for your ‘backdrop’ depending on if you want to clean it up or keep it messy. Some examples are:

-Cardboard/blocks of wood that have been painted white, gray, or black and then decorated with paint, markers, etc

There isn’t an ideal time to take photos during a cake smash photoshoot because it depends on the child. 

Some will get nervous when their face is close to the cake, while others may not want anything to do with it. It’s best if you let your child do what they feel comfortable doing – whether that’s smashing, eating, or just playing with the cake.

Yes, It’s essential to take safety precautions if your child is going to eat the cake – make sure they don’t have any allergies, keep them away from pets, and clean as much of the area as possible after the shoot.

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