Adalynn’s mom contacted the studio to schedule a First Birthday Cake Smash Photo Session for her daughter here in Austin, Texas. We sent her our cake smash style guide, inspiration board, and our cake smash tips sheet to review as well! The style guide is a quick read and simple to implement! Our style guide is relevant to any type of session you schedule with us. I love helping people with their styling! I’m here to support you, so don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything in particular you want help on. We chat about details and go over your wardrobe options (whether you are borrowing from the studio wardrobe or wearing your own) or conduct it virtually with a few email exchanges in advance of your session.
PRO TIP: DON’T DRESS YOUR BABY UNTIL YOU ARRIVE AT THE STUDIO!
If there’s one thing that’s true in life, it’s that lots of curveballs get thrown our way. Here’s a few examples of incidents that could happen on the way to your baby’s First Birthday session: a random bout of carsickness, a REALLY messy sneeze, a spilled bottle or snack cup….or perhaps your baby will manage to find a chocolate m&m buried in the depths of their car seat….. You may laugh at this and think there’s no way these situations would occur…but these examples have actually happened to my clients. Fortunately, they had followed me instructions not to dress their baby until arrival, so the clothes were safe! If your best intentions go awry and your baby’s outfit isn’t usable (or you forget it!) don’t stress too much. I do have a limited baby wardrobe here that is very classic and timeless and that some of our moms choose to use. We can dress your baby in a pinch!
WHERE YOU SHOULD GET YOUR SMASH CAKE
A’s mom brought along a pink and white smash cake with buttercream icing from a local bakery up in here in Austin. Unfortunately, when we opened the box, we discovered that the icing on the cake had been smashed a little by the box. After the initial shock of seeing the cake, I reassured her that it would be ok because after all…the cakes do get smashed up anyway! I keep cake tools in the studio exactly for this purpose (this isn’t the first time this has happened!) I have found that bakeries are not in the business of designing cakes for the specific purpose of photos, and tend to overdo it with too much icing or icing that is too heavy – so when the cake is transported, it sometimes turns into a cake fail. So how do you avoid this!? Don’t work with a bakery that doesn’t have a proven track record with smash cakes for PHOTOGRAPHY purposes. There is a big difference!
Whole Foods or HEB are all solutions for quick and easy choices to get a simple smash cake or even a cupcake. They will not over decorate your cake with their standard icing.
If you’re looking for a custom and personalized experience with your baby’s smash cake, or if your baby has egg allergies/ needs a vegan option, we have the perfect solution for you!
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR YOUR BABY’S SMASH CAKE
• Keep the cake simple! Don’t use fondant or add tons of distracting objects to the cake for decor.
• Your cake should be a 6 inch diameter size or less and no more than two layers maximum. If you have a taller cake, it usually limits angles for photography since your baby’s face will be partially hidden behind it.
• Real flowers are beautiful on cakes, but are not recommended. If you just HAVE to have some flowers, you should plan to remove them after the first few photographs. Why? Because they will most likely end up right in your baby’s mouth. This guideline applies to anything on your cake that is not icing- candles, decor, etc. It ends up being a distraction from the task at hand and can also obscure adorable facial expressions during their session.
• Choose a neutral icing color (off white, cream, or pastels). Avoid neon or super bright colors that may stain skin and clothing, and will cause unwanted color casts in your pictures.
• Don’t cover your baby’s cake with shaved coconut. Yes, the textured aesthetic is gorgeous, but in my experience, most babies don’t like it. When coconut has been used, it ended exploration of the cake as soon as the baby felt the texture of it in their mouth and was followed with lots of crying and spitting it out.
• Use butter cream icing only. DO NOT CHOOSE to use whipped icing, swiss buttercream, or fondant. Whipped and swiss buttercream icing is slippery, greasy, and horrifyingly MESSY. These icings are resistant to being wiped off your baby’s skin. If you use it, you will be wrestling your screaming baby while struggling for control and muttering under your breath, “For the love of Cheez-It’s, why won’t this stuff COME OFF?!?!?!.” As for fondant, it is very thick, and difficult for babies to get through to the actual cake with their fingers and eat so they lose interest quickly.
• Skip writing a message on top of the cake (save it for the party cake instead) – it doesn’t photograph like you’re thinking it will.
FIRST BIRTHDAY SESSION FLOW
I refer to First Birthday sessions as my 2-in-1 sessions. I photograph solo portraits of your little one and cake smash photos. I started the session photographing A alone since she was a friendly and curious little girl. If your baby is on the shy side, I’ll start the session with them in your arms for family and parent images so they feel safe.
THE CAKE SMASH
After we finished up A’s solo portraits, it was time for the cake!
I demonstrate how you should present the cake to your baby before you actually do it (I know this sounds silly, but it really does matter!) You will never be left wondering about what you should be doing throughout your time with me because I’ll guide you through your session with verbal prompts and demonstration as needed!
When A saw her cake, she dove right in! A lot of parents wonder about what we do if their baby doesn’t like their cake. There is no guarantee that they will, because every baby is different with this! I’ve found that the majority of babies do enjoy it, especially if it’s presented with no pressure from anyone and kept fun for them.
If your baby isn’t really interested in touching their cake at first, you can help by getting into the photographs! Most babies love to “feed” their parents or to be fed by them. Make eating the cake a fun game for them but modeling feeding each other bites. Once your baby becomes interested, you can slowly back out of the frame and I’ll get those solo images of them covered in cake and icing while you watch and enjoy the cuteness!
Enjoy a few of my favorites from A’s First Birthday session!
If you are expecting in 2021 and interested in a full first year baby plan membership, you can inquire HERE for more details.
Haley Grant Photography specializes in newborn, maternity, motherhood, family, and baby sessions in the Austin area, including Austin, Texas, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Volente, Lago Vista, Circle C, Westlake, Lakeway, Bee Cave, Oak Hill, North Austin, West Austin, East Austin, and South Austin Texas.
From our happy client:
“I highly recommend using Haley Grant Photography for your newborn/baby photos! I was initially drawn to Haley’s light & airy photography style and how she captures her clients. The whole process was convenient and seamless. I shared my vision of what I was wanting for the overall theme/style to be for our newborn session and Haley provided a wide variety of clothes, accessories & backgrounds. On the day of the photoshoot, we were welcomed to a calm and soothing studio atmosphere – perfect for our newborn session. Haley’s photography style & talent for capturing newborns is absolutely top of the line and I love that she offers a completely unique and custom session for each of her clients. The whole experience went seamlessly and we got the most amazing photos of our little one. 100% worth it, these photos will forever be loved and cherished!”
Sessions are booking well into 2022.
To ensure availability, please reserve your date early.
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