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Smash and Splash Preparation Guide

A first birthday is an emotional milestone for mama and babe and it’s a time you’ll want to remember!  There are so many great ideas out there for insanely cute cake smash themes, props and styles.  But have you taken the time to think about the logistics of planning a potentially complex photo session when the main character may decide to be uncooperative?

Here are some tips to consider that will help enormously with scoring a successful shoot.


Choosing The Cake

Select a small cake or large cupcake, approximately 6 inches around and at least two layers high.  Due to concern for allergens, Elena Russell Photography is not able to provide the cake.  I am happy to recommend some local bakers if you will not be making the cake yourself.  Whether you are making the cake, or having it made, please consider the following items:

  • Please make sure that the cake is placed onto a cake round (something that can be used to transfer the cake easily from one surface to another)  A piece of cardboard cut into a circle and covered in aluminum foil works just as well if you are making the cake yourself.

  • Think light colors for the cake itself - red cake smeared on baby’s face tends to look like your little one just ate someone - not the best look! Black looks like mustache and brown... well you can imagine what that looks like... Now people still order them if you need it to complete your set, I just want you to be aware of what to expect :) on the inside, yellow and white cake works just fine. 

  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator 2-3 hours before the session to allow the frosting to come to room temperature. Make sure not to leave the cake in the car for a long time before your session. Trust me, it WILL melt. 

Plan The Outfit

Don’t wait until the day of the photo shoot to decide on and test an outfit.  Inevitably, the dress you planned on using will have a big stain you didn’t know about, or the elastic will be shot in the little man’s suspenders. Give me a call and lets talk about some backdrop options so we can coordinate the outfit and accessories. Shoes, however, are likely unnecessary as you’ll want some shots of little toes and cleaning icing out of velcro straps sounds like a nightmare.

Back up Outfit

Moms of young children know the drill:  You take time to prepare the cutest outfit, even allowing your little one to voice an opinion at the store.  You prep babe for wearing the outfit with a test-run around the house and exclaiming how adorable they look until they glow with joy.  Headbands are tested for weeks so that babe will get used to wearing them and not pull them off.  In short, you do everything in your power to prepare your child for the event and outfit to come.  And yet.  On the day of the shoot, babe wants absolutely NOTHING to do with the perfect little outfit you painstakingly prepared them for.  Do yourself a favor and bring along a second outfit, just in case.


Small Snacks - But not for Snacking

Sometimes it happens that babe is disinterested in the cake, especially if this is their first experience with cake or lots of sweetness.  Bring along a few of your child’s favourite small snacks, such as cheerios, puffs, berries, goldfish etc, that can be stuck in the icing (out of view of the camera).  This may entice your little one to start sticking their hands in the cake just to get at the familiar snacks. That may be enough to get the (cake) ball rolling! Also, please make sure you bring along a sippy cup with water. Cake tends to get really sweet at times, so its important that your little one gets a drink break. 

Prep Run

Another thing you can try ahead of time is to give babe a taste of cake a few days before the photo session. You can even give him a cupcake and let him go to town in your kitchen floor. They may be more likely to get their hands adorably dirty if they already know what to expect.  


Change of Clothes... for Everyone

I’m sure you’ve already planned to bring one, or many, changes of clothing for babe.  But cakes have icing.  And icing in the grips of tiny fingers will end up spread everywhere, including all over mom and dad.  You’re definitely going to want to bring a change of clothes for everyone who will be there.  Or at least layer an old t-shirt over your outfit that you can just pull off after the shoot.  And make extra sure that you have brought along a bag large enough to contain everyone’s soiled clothing.

Clean Up

Wipes, wipes and more wipes.  Leave your home with no less than an entire trunkful of wipes. I will have towels and face cloths available if you do need them but you are welcome to bring your own if you would like. Right after the cake smash, we will plop your baby in the tub with a little water and you’ve got yourself a second set of totally adorable pictures!  (If you’re lucky, you’ll get a bum pic that you can show their prom date!) Perfect way to clean up! Bring a towel and some pajamas for your baby to change into and we are all set! 

Something to consider...

You ordered a cake, got the perfect outfit, figured out a PERFECT set and you realize your little one is not having a good day. Hey, it happens more than you know. Consider giving your little one some pain medication before your session, just in case. Who knows what could be bothering them, it is always better to be safe. If that does not seem to help, please consider rescheduling. I generally tend to set up a few hours before your session, so the sooner you tell me the better. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! 

See you soon 

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