Cake Smash Series: How to Prepare for Cake Smash Success

Did you catch the first post in our Cake Smash Series?  It's all about telling a story through your images by varying the angles and details that you capture in your session!  Go check it out here!

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Whether it's your first cake smash or your hundredth, there are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success before the birthday baby ever comes to your studio.  The last thing you want to happen is to have an inconsolable baby, upset parents, an allergic reaction, or a gallery full of unusable images.  Read on to learn how you can prepare yourself, your studio, the baby, and your clients so that your session runs as smoothly as possible!

Get the studio ready.

Set everything up ahead of time, and make sure that your backdrop stands are secure.  Baby's safety is always your #1 priority during a session.  I use sandbags to weigh down all of my backdrop stands just in case the baby decides to pull on the garlands or the backdrop, and if any decoration becomes too distracting for the baby during the session, I simply pull it out of the set-up mid-shoot so that the baby can focus on the cake and so that we avoid anything falling on the baby.  

While you're setting everything up, don't forget to test your lights!  Set your white balance, figure out your aperture, and make sure that everything is hanging at a height that will fit around the baby when he or she is sitting with their cake.  Look for shadows cast by the decorations onto your backdrop, and use a reflector to bounce more fill light into the set-up to correct this.  

When I set everything up ahead of time, I like to put the cake into the set-up to get a few clean shots of the cake by itself.  This is great for those storytelling images like we talked about in our last post in the Cake Smash series, and it's a wonderful way to really get a feel for what your session will look like -- just add baby!


Enjoy a simple checklist to help you get the studio ready for your next cake smash session!  Print, pin, and share these tips for photographers to prepare for your next successful cake smash!

checklist for photographers to prepare for a cake smash photo shoot

Prepare the parents: Be ready for anything!

From the very first phone call, I let the parents know that the cake smash portion of our sessions last anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and it all depends on the baby!  Some babies love their cake, while others are more hesitant and don't like the feeling of the sticky frosting on their fingers.  Sometimes babies are nervous in a new space and they won't be all smiles during their session.  

I let parents know that it's totally okay and normal if their baby cries during the session, and I reassure them that I will capture a variety of images to tell their birthday story no matter what happens during the session.  I share crying images on social media and on my blog, and I normalize this for the families that I work with.  This way, parents come to the shoot and they are prepared for the worst (a crying baby), but they are pleasantly surprised if their child loves the birthday cake and gives us lots of smiles and laughs!

Of course, be sure to discuss any allergies with your clients before the session!


Share this simple checklist with your clients to help them prepare for their baby's cake smash session!  It gives them advice on what to pack, and what to do ahead of time to set their baby up for a successful cake smash session.

checklist for what to pack for your baby's cake smash photo shoot

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